Biofuels Threaten Endangered Species


European Union green fuel targets will accelerate the destruction of rainforests in South-East Asia. Loss of habitat will threaten endangered species like the orangutan, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. In March, EU leaders set a target that biofuel (energy sources made from plant material) comprise 10 per cent of all Europe’s transport fuels by 2020. Yet the European Commission admits that the effort to cut CO2 emissions may have the unintended result of speeding up the depletion of tropical rainforests and peatlands in South-East Asia. This would further increase, not reduce, global warming. If the target is met, European consumption of plant-based fuels will soar from about 3 million tons at present to more than 30 million tons in 2010, driving a boom in imports of cheap biofuels… How about using less? Of everything? Instead. –Julia Whitty

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  • Julia Whitty is the environmental correspondent for Mother Jones. Her latest book is Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean. For more of her stories, click here.