Community scoop » Government urged to drop biofuel policy

Press release – Kapiti low carbon

A group of concerned New Zealanders have launched a campaign urging the government to drop the proposed biofuels obligation which is due to start on April 1, 2023. Advocacy group Dont Burn Our Future says governments plan to…

A group of concerned New Zealanders have launched a campaign urging the government to drop the proposed ‘biofuels obligation’ due to start on April 1, 2023.

Advocacy group ‘Don’t Burn Our Future’ says the government’s plan to legally force fuel suppliers to add biofuel to petrol and diesel is naive at best and ‘pure greenwashing’ at worst.

According to campaign co-ordinator Jake Roos, while the measure may seem like a solution to reducing New Zealand’s reliance on fossil fuels, it couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Just because something has ‘bio’ in its name doesn’t mean it’s green. The proposal won’t do anything to benefit the environment. Instead, it’s likely to increase gas emissions greenhouse gases and lead to a host of other negative impacts on the planet, as well as further increasing the cost of fuel and food.

Roos says that’s because New Zealand doesn’t have enough of the right kind of waste to make the amount of biofuel that would be needed to meet the mandate. He says that means we would either have to import or grow food crops to produce biofuel in the quantities needed to fulfill the mandate.

“Additional demand for food crops to make biofuels drives tropical deforestation and other land conversions that actually increase climate-altering emissions compared to fossil fuel use. It makes no sense as a measure to address the climate crisis.

“Furthermore, the cultivation of food, to feed cars rather than people, is destroying the natural habitats of irreplaceable species, also displacing indigenous peoples and destroying their homes and livelihoods. International environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Oxfam are campaigning against biofuel mandates for these reasons.’

Roos says the group is appalled that the New Zealand government seems determined to adopt a policy that has proven to be a disaster elsewhere.

“Biofuel mandates overseas have resulted in more land being converted to grow crops for fuel, rather than food, and higher food and energy costs are the result.

“The government’s own analysis lists all of these potentially negative impacts, including how the planned policy would increase costs for the most vulnerable New Zealanders. It acknowledges that we don’t have the volumes of waste needed to make “sustainable” biofuels from currently available technology and details how biofuels made from wood won’t be available for many years. It says New Zealand will need to import biofuel made from food crops to meet the required volumes. And yet, they move on.

“As a citizen of the world, Aotearoa New Zealand cannot overlook the unacceptable environmental and social costs of producing unsustainable biofuels simply because it does not occur within our borders.”

The ‘Don’t Burn Our Future’ campaign is supported by community climate group Low Carbon Kāpiti. The group has launched a public petition on the Greenpeace Community website which they intend to deliver to Minister Megan Woods.

Roos says the group wants to make sure New Zealanders are aware of the proposed biofuels mandate and its potential consequences.

“We believe that the time and money spent on implementing a biofuels mandate would be better spent on proven climate solutions that are having a positive impact now, such as wind power and solar energy, more active personal and public transport, electric vehicles, rail investment and conservation measures.

For more evidence, see the links in the following web articles:

David Keat Blog: https://www.greaterauckland.org.nz/2022/07/11/biofuels-in-new-zealand-a-solution-or-a-problem/

Blog by Jake Roos: https://lowcarbonkapiti.org.nz/wishing-for-fairy-dust-why-the-nz-biofuels-obligation-is-the-worst-kind-of-magical-thinking/

FAQs:

Frequently Asked Questions on the NZ Biofuels Obligation

For more information, contact Jake Roos jake.roos@gmail.com 022 6871980

Website:https://lowcarbonkapiti.org.nz/dont-burn-our-future-stop-the-nz-biofuels-obligation/

Petition:https://community.greenpeace.org.nz/petitions/don-t-burn-our-future-stop-the-nz-biofuels-obligation

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