UN warns biofuels do more harm than good


The United Nations has admitted that growing crops to make “green” biofuel harms the environment and drives up food prices.

A leaked draft of a UN report condemns the widespread use of biofuels made from crops as a replacement for petrol and diesel. It says that biofuels, rather than combating the effects of global warming, could make them worse.

The draft report represents a dramatic about-turn for the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Its previous assessment on climate change, in 2007, was widely condemned by environmentalists for giving the green light to large-scale biofuel production. The latest report instead puts pressure on world leaders to scrap policies promoting the use of biofuel for transport.

The summary for policymakers states: “Increasing bioenergy crop cultivation poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity.”

Biofuels were once billed as the green alternative to fossil fuels, but environmental campaigners have voiced concern about them for some time.

They note that growing biofuel crops on a large scale requires either the conversion of agricultural land used for food crops or the destruction of forests to free up land, possibly offsetting any reduction in carbon emissions from the use of biofuels.

Other concerns include increased stress on water supplies and rising corn prices as a result of increased demand for the crop, which is fermented to produce biofuel. . .

Growing plants especially to make biofuels is an example of a supposedly environmentally   friendly practice which isn’t, and it makes food more expensive too.

Z Energy’s plans to make biofuel from beef tallow might stack up better.

Z Energy has announced plans for a $21 million biodiesel plant that will produce fuel from inedible tallow feedstock.

The listed company said the investment would be made over the 2015 financial year and would produce 20 million litres of sustainable biodiesel a year.

It would be manufactured from inedible tallow feedstock, essentially beef fat, and satisfy New Zealand and European fuel specifications.

The plant would be built in Auckland. . .

Tallow is used for making candles and soap not food.




Aiming for $150 lambs


Federated Farmers is launching a campaign to raise the average price of a lamb to $150 in five years.

That’s around three times the price paid last season and nearly twice what’s expected this season.

Feds says better returns will come for efficiencies and rationalisation in the supply chain and that farmers will need to commit to supply contracts with meat companies, and spread the killing season.

The sheep and lamb kill will be down by about nine million head this season. That will leave a lot of spare capacity at freezing works which will force rationalisation on meat companies.

But committing to contracts and spreading the season are easier said and done because unless you have irrigation and/or scope, when you sell is dependent on feed which varies with the rainfall.

The demand for by-products also impacts on farmer returns. One reason lamb prices were so low last season was that prices for wool, pelts and tallow were well down too.

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