Lufthansa's bio-fuelled fantasy finally grounded

12 January 2012

Berlin/Amsterdam/Brussels, January 12, 2012 – Lufthansa’s final flight of a controversial six-month trial of bio-fuelled flights will land today, bringing an end to a convenient smokescreen for aviation expansion, and a diversion from the real need to cut air travel in order to tackle climate change, according to Friends of the Earth Europe [1].

German airline Lufthansa, which ran bio-fuelled flights between Frankfurt and Hamburg (a four hour train journey), will only continue to use bio-kerosene for plane fuel if enough “volume of sustainable, certified raw materials” is available [2].

Robbie Blake, biofuels campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Lufthansa’s bio-fuelled flights should remain grounded permanently – flying with biofuel is unsustainable, full stop. There simply isn’t enough biofuel out there without diverting land and food from hungry communities, and causing worse climate-changing CO2 emissions.”

“Biofuels exacerbate poverty and hunger, drive land grabbing and deforestation, push up food prices, and make climate change worse. Airlines would do better to fly less, and do so more efficiently, and passengers, between Hamburg and Frankfurt, would be better off on the train.”

‘Sustainable’ certification schemes are industry led, highly controversial, and are likely to mislead the public, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, and the expansion of jatropha crops – part of Lufthansa’s fuel mix – have been instrumental in driving land-grabbing and poor returns for farmers in countries such as Mozambique [3], Indonesia, and India.

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NOTES:

[1] “Flying in the face of facts: Greenwashing the aviation industry with biofuels”, Friends of the Earth Europe’s analysis on the impact of aviation biofuels is released today and is available for download here

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/09/uk-lufthansa-biofuels-idUSLNE80802I20120109

[3] "The jatropha trap? the realities of farming jatropha in mozambique"
http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2010/the-jatropha-trap-the-realities-of-farming-jatropha-in-mozambique/view