By Rainforest Rescue with Ecological Internet

No Biomass/No Burning! Truly renewable energy must be defined as including no energy production or climate mitigation claims from food based agrofuels, live plants and ecosystems, or burning biomass of any type.

Biomass energy will threaten remaining terrestrial ecosystemsTAKE ACTION HERE NOW! As the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is belatedly gaining recognition within the United States, a suite of policy initiatives, including the Markey-Waxman “American Climate and Energy Security Act 2009″ (ACESA), are being considered that promote biomass such as tree plantations, and forest and agricultural ‘waste’, as renewable energy. Given well known issues of sustainability regarding industrial agriculture and land mismanagement, the need to more clearly define just what “renewable” means is clearly shown. It is vitally important that renewable energy be defined, within the context of federal energy and climate policy, in strictly ecological sustainability terms, including renewable energy and low carbon fuel standards.

In an alarming trend, burning and refining of plant biomass and also toxic municipal waste (or for that matter anything that burns) is being falsely promoted as renewable and of benefit to reducing emissions that cause climate change. Humans already consume a large amount of the energy represented in annual biological growth. To try to consume more of Earth’s primary productivity is clearly unsustainable land use. Even partial replacement of fossil fuels with fresh plant biomass energy is absolutely impossible for more than a few years. Trying will denude Earth and make a very different planet, that is hostile and uninhabitable to human life. TAKE ACTION HERE NOW!

Corn is food, not fuel, and comes at great energy and ecosystem expenseCalifornia is setting the precedent of regulating greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels [ark]. The regulation requires producers, refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel to reduce the carbon footprint of their fuel by 10% over the next decade. And it launches the state on an ambitious path toward cutting its overall heat-trapping emissions by 80% by mid-century.

Critically, as our recent alert demanded, biofuel’s indirect land use impacts [search], starting with corn ethanol, are to be considered when determining a fuel’s net impact upon emissions. Looking at the full inputs to corn ethanol — including energy used in planting and transport, land pressures leading to increased deforestation, and coal for distillation — shows it clearly has a sum negative impact upon climate. Careful examination of the inputs and indirect land impacts of other biomass based fuels such as cellulosic biofuels will clearly show the same thing.

Earth has no spare biomass to power our vehicles. Progress is being made on the global campaign to stop fuel production from biomass, particularly at the expense of food and ecosystems. The Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems are past their carrying capacity, and rather than increasing pressures upon primary productivity, the human enterprise must power down and enter an era of ecological restoration. Rainforest Rescue and Ecological Internet’s alert objectives were met and, along with many others, we helped counter the energy industry’s extreme pressure. These regulations must now go global and continue to be strengthened.

Biofuel from Corn Ethanol Is Not Renewable, Does Not Address Climate ChangeTAKE ACTION! Let California Air Resources Board know all industrially produced biofuel crops from live biomass [search], edible or not, still require land, soil, water, fertilizer and other finite inputs. It is clear that industrial biofuels are not “renewable energy” given that these inputs are all in limited supply, and indirect land uses lead to destruction of soil and forest carbon sinks elsewhere.

Regulators at the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are poised later this week to declare that biofuel from corn ethanol [search] cannot help the state address climate change. In assessing the true environmental cost of corn ethanol, it was found this biofuel is worse than petroleum when total greenhouse gas emissions are considered. This is because as with all monocultures, corn ethanol for biofuels lead to numerous other indirect land use changes. Increased industrial agriculture results in rising land pressures and the loss of soil and forest carbon sinks elsewhere. Such a declaration disallowing corn ethanol biofuel from counting as emissions reductions would be a considerable blow to the corn-ethanol industry in the United States and would likely set a national precedent.

Ecological Internet and Rainforest Rescue are concerned with America’s growing ethanol industry, and the precedent it sets for massive agricultural industrialization of the world’s remaining rainforests and other natural wildlands. Please call upon the CARB to heed the overwhelming evidence that agrofuels worsen climate change through further deforestation and the destruction of other soils and ecosystems, drive food prices up, force more people worldwide into hunger, malnutrition and landlessness; and decimate biodiversity and ecosystems. TAKE ACTION!

Australia must stop being a climate change laggard. Given severe drought and massive wildfires, the Rudd Government’s target to reduce carbon emissions by 5% by 2020 is dangerously insufficient.

Obama must lead on climateTAKE ACTION! The Australian government is failing to establish and implement a rigorous climate change policy adequate to respond to the global climate emergency. The Rudd Government?s emissions trading scheme (ETS) [search] aims to cut emissions by 5 percent by 2020 and 60 percent by 2050. The Government?s cowardly response to its greatest challenge has been explicitly condemned by climate scientists and implicitly condemned by devastating bushfires which killed 200 people.

Australia’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are among the highest in the world, and their economy is based heavily upon the deadly coal fossil fuel industry which exerts undue political influence. Unsustainable Australian lifestyles including native forest clearing and wasteful water use threaten their continent’s fragile ecosystems, and the drought and intensified bushfires are a precursor of Australian and global ecosystem collapse to come.

Given imminent strengthened regulation of greenhouse gases in the United States and Europe, it is time for Australia to embrace sufficient climate change policies including committing to ambitious targets that will require ending its use and export of coal, and stopping native forest clearing. TAKE ACTION!

By Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Obama must lead on climate(Earth) — Ecological Internet (EI) welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ruling today that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases “may endanger public health or welfare”, a finding that opens the door to future regulation of such emissions under the Clean Air Act. EI continues to demand that emission cuts be fast and large, that Congress not weaken planned E.P.A. carbon regulation, and that Congress abandon cap and trade legislation for a simple, highly effective, carbon tax. And that the U.S. leads at Copenhagen or feel the consequences.

The E.P.A said in its proposed endangerment finding that “based on rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific analysis of six gases ? carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride ? that… these gases are at unprecedented levels as a result of human emissions, and these high levels are very likely the cause of the increase in average temperatures and other changes in our climate.” Human health and welfare was thus threatened by increased severity and intensity of storms; more frequent drought, heatwaves, and forest fires; rising sea levels; and harm to water resources, agriculture, wildlife and ecosystems.

“We are thrilled to see President Obama dismiss President Bush’s years of criminal climate science obstruction, and to rejoin the world of civilized nations making public policy based upon ecological science, and needs of Earth and her humanity. We encourage the President to follow through with rigorous efforts to immediately begin reducing greenhouse gas emissions, including phasing out the use of coal and tar sands, ending old forest logging, committing further to energy efficiency and renewables, and resisting the siren song of industrial agrofuels,” says Ecological Internet President, Dr. Glen Barry.

Ecological Internet has provided leadership for years in the movement to have carbon dioxide regulated. EI’s global Earth Action Network publicly and successfully worked with others to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that carbon dioxide is a pollutant under the Clean Air Act and that the EPA had the right to regulate CO2 emissions [1]. Earlier this year several thousand global citizen activists from around the world, organized by EI, urged the new President to “immediately start regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act [2].” President Obama listened.

Dr. Barry warns, however, that “Earth has already passed a critical threshold whereby there are too many people consuming too much, not enough terrestrial ecosystems remain intact, and there is too much carbon in the atmosphere. Maintaining the biosphere and achieving global ecological sustainability depends critically upon social change and personal transformation at a previously unknown scale. Humanity simply must stop burning and cutting Gaia to death, and embrace an age of ecological protection and restoration. This E.P.A. announcement is an important start.”

###ENDS###

[1] U.S. Supreme Court Must Rule for Carbon Regulation

[2] Urge President Obama to Say No to Canada’s Filthy Tar Sands

Ecological Internet provides the world’s largest and most used climate and environment portals at http://www.climateark.org/ and http://www.ecoearth.info/ . Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Abrupt climate change assuredHuman political and economic system failures mean world will not meet 2C warming target [ark]. Most climate scientists now agree that given soaring emissions and political constraints, an average rise of 4-5C by the end of this century is more likely. This will disrupt food and water supplies, exterminate innumerable species of plants and animals, trigger massive sea level rises, and otherwise lead to ecological and social collapse [search].

The climate change movement’s [search] struggle has now gone from trying to minimize impacts to continue living largely as we have, to just maintaining a climate and biosphere that are operable and will allow for continued shared survival. It is not time to give up. Just the reverse, it is time to redouble our efforts in order to maintain a habitable Earth. We have the answers — ending coal, old forest logging and industrial agriculture — to continued human being. And despite escalating police brutality against lawful protest [ark], we must wage an escalating Stewardship Revolution if we and all Gaia’s creatures are to survive.

Governments have until Copenhagen to lead at which point they may need to be replaced. Simultaneous to massive protest, I urge you to begin preparing yourself to adapt and survive. A piece of land you are willing and able to defend is critical. Abrupt deadly change may come next year, or there may be a lull, but have no doubt, the global ecosystem is collapsing. If you have not already, I urge you to read EI’s recent Earth Meanders, which further explains the stakes and options. I beseech you to start preparing and steeling yourself for coming struggles. Be part of a New Earth Rising.

147 organisations from 44 countries warn against ‘biochar’ (large-scale charcoal) as a dangerous new false solution to climate change TAKE ACTION: Tell Leading Climate Scientists, Industrialists and Negotiators to Stop Promoting Industrial Scale Biochar By Earth’s Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org (Earth) — An international declaration was today launched by 147 organisations, including Ecological Internet, opposing the growing hype and political support for Biochar. The groups signing the declaration "strongly oppose the inclusion of soils in carbon trade and offset mechanisms, including in the Clean Development Mechanism.? The groups further assert that "the ‘biochar’…

Corn is food, not fuelOver a year ago, the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring massive increases in the production of ethanol and other biofuels. The Renewable Fuel Standard [search], passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, requires the nation to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels [search] by 2022. At the moment, most of this comes from ethanol produced by corn, and in the future plans are to power vehicles from forests and other biomass.

Thankfully the ecological science and advocacy is catching up with the hype and hucksterism. Reasonable questions are being raised [ark] regarding the sustainability of corn-based ethanol, and even 2nd generation industrial plantation based biofuel and biochar production given finite land, fertilizers and water; and in the face of exponential increases in population and demand for energy.

Our recent alert with Rainforest Rescue has already led to partial success, as the decision on whether to increase the corn ethanol blend from 10% to 15% has been delayed for a year. It is highly likely this ongoing agrofuel protest was instrumental in delaying what had appeared to be certain approval for the proposal. Let’s use this reprieve to continue organizing to resist agrofuels at the expense of food, people, ecosystems and climate. In addition to health and economic concerns, we are successfully making with others the point that “If using one acre of corn to make ethanol leads to just one-tenth of an acre of rainforest clearing, then all the benefits of avoided gasoline for the first 30 years are wiped out.”

Blog entry with Rainforest Rescue

A biosphere cannot be geoengineered, industrial biochar is dangerousTAKE ACTION! Industrial scale “biochar” [search] is the latest dangerous geo-engineering proposal (replacing now discredited ocean iron fertilization [search] as the flavor of the month) to save the Earth and humanity from climate change without personal sacrifice or social change. Biochar (charcoal) enthusiasts intend to burn biomass to produce and bury charcoal, in order to manipulate land use and the biosphere on a vast scale. As if the world’s land, 25% of which is already becoming seriously degraded, does not have enough pressures from deforestation, industrial agriculture and sprawling human settlements. Charcoal proposals forestall sufficient climate change measures such as ending the use of coal, protecting and restoring old forests, and reforming industrial agriculture. TAKE ACTION!

Agence France-Presse: Deforestation, one of the main drivers of global warming, has barged its way to the heart of UN climate talks, which resumed in Bonn this week. But which makes the better incentive for saving the carbon-absorbing tropical woodlands: market mechanisms or public funding? This question has split nations, divided green groups and tossed in yet another factor to bedevil efforts to agree a pact by year’s end for tackling climate change. Reducing emissions from deforestation …