Bio-fuelled flights are greenwashing aviation, claim
Brussels/Berlin/Hamburg, July 15, 2011 – Lufthansa launches its first
controversial bio-fuelled flight today, amidst outcry from green groups .
Fuelling aeroplanes with biofuels presents Lufthansa and the aviation industry
with a convenient smokescreen, greenwashing their image, facilitating the
airline industry’s expansion plans and diverting political attention from the
real need to cut air travel in order to tackle climate change .
With €2.5 million support from German taxpayers, Lufthansa’s
biofuel flight is the first of 1,200 bio-fuelled short-haul flights between
Hamburg and Frankfurt – a four hour train journey.
Lufthansa, and their fuel supplier Neste Oil , have so far
refused to reveal the origin or type of fuel used on the flight. However,
Lufthansa has claimed that it is attempting to collect “every single jatropha
nut in the market” to source its future biofuels . The expansion of jatropha
crops are instrumental in driving land-grabs and forced evictions, including in
countries such as Mozambique and India . The airline has estimated it would
have to plant 4 million hectares of jatropha (an area equivalent to 35% of
Germany’s arable land) to meet their 2025 biofuel plans. 
Robbie Blake, biofuels campaigner for Friends of the
Earth Europe said: “Lufthansa is painting itself green with
biofuels – but these flights are anything but environmentally friendly.
Biofuels exacerbate poverty and hunger, drive land grabbing and deforestation,
push up food prices, and make climate change worse.
“Short-haul flights from Hamburg to Frankfurt, bio-fuelled
or not, can never be green. Lufthansa’s passengers, and the climate, would be
better off catching the train.”
Last month ten international organisations, including the World
Bank, WTO, UN and OECD called on G20 governments to scrap biofuel subsidies and
mandates because of their impact on world poverty and food prices .
Lufthansa are expected to back their green claims with
sustainability certification schemes like the Round Table on Sustainable
Biofuels (RSB). These schemes are industry led, highly controversial, and are
likely to mislead the public.
Almuth Ernsting, from Biofuelwatch added: “Lufthansa
and Neste Oil will seek to justify their sustainability claims by citing
certification schemes, or offering their own assurances. In reality, both
amount to greenwashing. For example, Neste Oil recently bought so-called
certified ‘sustainable’ biofuels ruled by a Malaysian court to have been
sourced from illegally appropriated and deforested land in Sarawak."
For more information please contact:
Robbie Blake, biofuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1017, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe,
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1012, Mob: +32 (0) 470 072 049, email@example.com
Almuth Ernsting, Biofuelwatch, (DE, EN)
Tel: +44 (0) 1224 324797, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reinhard Behrend, director, Rainforest Rescue/Rettet den
Regenwald, (DE, ES)
Tel: +49 (0)40 4103804, email@example.com
 Friends of the Earth Europe, BUND, Biofuelwatch and
Rainforest Rescue/Rettet den Regenwald
 “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: http://www.foeeurope.org/publications/2011/FoEE_Flying_in_the_face_of_facts_June2011.pdf
 Lufthansa has contracted Neste Oil – voted “worst company
of the year” by members of the public in the Public Eye Awards – to provide 800
tonnes of NExBTL biofuel. Neste Oil is Europe’s largest importer of
environmentally and socially destructive palm oil.
NExBTL is a biodiesel mix of animal and vegetable fats,
normally containing 81% palm products (palm oil, PFAD and stearin). http://www.nesteoil.com/default.asp?path=1,41,11991,12243,15658
However, Lufthansa has claimed that "the fuel does not
come from palm oil”
 "The jatropha trap? the realities of farming jatropha