September 2010

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Bioenergy > Timeline > 2010 > September 2010


This page includes information on News and Events in September 2010. (News and events are archived here at the end of the month.)

Events

News

  • Royal Society issues new climate change guide that admits there are 'uncertainties' about the science, 30 September 2010 by The Daily Mail: "The UK’s leading scientific body has been forced to rewrite its guide on climate change and admit that it is not known how much warmer the Earth will become."
    • "The Royal Society has updated its guide after 43 of its members complained that the previous version failed to take into account the opinion of climate change sceptics."
    • "Now the new guide, called 'Climate change: a summary of the science', admits that there are some 'uncertainties' regarding the science behind climate change."
    • "The 19-page guide says: 'It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future, but careful estimates of potential changes and associated uncertainties have been made.'"
    • "The new guidance still makes it clear that human activity is one of the likely causes for climate change but now does so in a more considered way."[1]
  • Fungus Genes Help Turn Grass into Ethanol, 10 September 2010 by Technology Review: "Genes copied from a common fungus could simplify the production of ethanol from abundant materials such as grass and wood chips, a development that could one day help ethanol compete with gasoline."
    • "Scientists have taken genes from a fungus that grows on grass and dead plants, and transplanted them into yeast that is already used to turn sugar into ethanol. The genes let the yeast ferment parts of plants that it normally can't digest, potentially streamlining the production of ethanol."
    • "Most ethanol is produced using simple sugars, like the glucose derived from corn kernels or sugar cane. Ethanol producers would like to use glucose from more abundant sources, such as corn husks and stalks, switchgrass, wood waste, and other tough plant materials. But those plant parts are made of cellulose, a carbohydrate built from long chains of sugars. For yeast to produce ethanol from these materials, the complex carbohydrate has to first be broken down into very simple sugars, a process that takes time and normally requires the addition of expensive enzymes."
    • "With the new technique, ethanol makers would no longer have to break cellulose down into simple sugars. Instead, they would only need to break down cellulose into an intermediate material called cellodextrin."[4]
  • World Bank report: demand for biofuels and animal feed is causing land grabs, 8 September 2010 by Friends of The Earth: "On the launch of a new World Bank report today (8 September 2010) in which the Bank explicitly identifies biofuels as one of the driving forces of land grabs in Africa and acknowledges its detrimental impact on local livelihoods, Friends of the Earth renews its call on rich countries to drop their biofuels targets and invest in planet-friendly farming."
    • "Mariann Bassey, African food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said: 'The World Bank is backing the practice of nations selling vast agricultural lands to foreign investors, despite evidence that the expansion of industrial farming is trashing rainforests, increasing emissions, and pushing up global food prices.'"
    • "Last week Friends of the Earth released new research showing that the scale of land grabbing in Africa for biofuel production was underestimated and out of control...Even more land will be required for biofuels if the European Union is to reach its target of obtaining 10 per cent of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020, it says."[5]
  • Malaysia's once-vaunted biofuel industry grinds to halt, 6 September 2010 by AFP: "Malaysia's once-vaunted biofuel industry has seen production grind to a halt since a March announcement that the government's mandatory switch to the green energy will be delayed to June 2011."
    • "Malaysia had ambitions to become a global leader in biodiesel and unveiled grand plans for the industry as the price of crude oil spiralled, peaking in mid-2008."
    • "However, the future of the alternative fuels is now in question given cheaper crude prices and the higher cost of Malaysia's palm oil."
    • "Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) figures show that the production of biodiesel, a mixture of diesel with five percent processed palm oil, dropped 99 percent from 12,640 tonnes in March to just 137 tonnes in July."
    • "Malaysian Biodiesel Association vice-president U.R. Unnithan said the country had the capacity to produce 2.6 million tonnes of biofuel annually but that demand had completely dried up."
    • "Unnithan said Malaysian biofuel cannot compete in international markets as many countries have protectionist measures and subsidies in place."[6]
  • Greens Warn World Bank Over Palm Oil Funding, 5 September 2010 by Jakarta Globe: "Environmental groups Greenpeace and Sawit Watch have called on the World Bank to extend its international suspension of financing for the palm oil sector unless producers meet environmental criteria."
    • "Jefri Saragih, head of Sawit’s campaign in Indonesia, said on Sunday that the World Bank must provide palm oil makers with clear guidelines on what they must do to reduce their industry’s impact on global warming."
    • "Environmental groups have been making a stir with campaigns accusing palm oil firms of illegal deforestation, with Sinar Mas Group being boycotted by some of its top buyers."
    • "On Thursday, US fast food giant Burger King said it would stop buying palm oil from the firm and its subsidiaries after Greenpeace mounted a successful campaign against Sinar Mas’s land-clearing practices."
    • "Unilever and Nestle earlier dropped the supplier over the criticism."
    • "Since 1965, the World Bank has channeled nearly $2 billion for 45 projects in the palm oil sector in 12 nations across Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia."
    • "Indonesia has been a major focus of the financing, receiving $618.8 million of the total funding. The World Bank suspended the financing in September 2009 over environmental concerns."[7]
  • USDA and DOE Partnership Seeks to Develop Better Plants for Bioenergy, 2 September 2010 by the US Department of Energy: "Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced research awards under a joint DOE-USDA program aimed at improving and accelerating genetic breeding programs to create plants better suited for bioenergy production."
    • "The research grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program focused on fundamental investigations of biomass genomics, with the aim of harnessing lignocellulosic materials--i.e., nonfood plant fiber--for biofuels production. Emphasis is on perennials, including trees and other nonfood plants that can be used as dedicated biofuel crops."[8]



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