Bio-fuel does not reduce carbondioxide

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Nov 4 | Updated: Nov 5 2007, 06:36am hrs
The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggestion for promotion and use of bio-fuel as an alternative has come under severe criticism by some leading scientists of the world. The IPCC synthesis report is expected to be approved by national governments next month.

In a joint letter to the IPCC chairman, Rajendra K Pachauri, David Pimentel of Cornell University, Tad Patzek of University of California, Florian Siegert, managing director, Remote Sensing Solutions GmbH , Munich, Mario Giampietro of Institute of Environmental Sciences, Barcelona and Helmut Haberl of Klagenfurt University, Austria have questioned the very basis of the contention of the report that bio-fuel programme causes a reduction in carbon dioxide emission.

Citing a recent study, the five scientists said that one tonne palm oil production emits 10 to 30 tonne carbon dioxide in the entire process including drainage, decomposition, excluding fires associated with land clearance. Southeast Asias peatlands emits more than twice as much carbon dioxide as that from drainage decomposition.

They also criticized IPCC praise for the Brazilian in glowing terms. Such descriptions are ill-fitting in view of the widely reported areas of poor practice associated with the Brazilian sugar industry, including employees health and safety, smoke ethanol industry and controversial expansion of sugarcane area into the Cerrado and the Pantanal wetland (although a recent declaration of restriction on this is welcomed.), they said.

The scientists criticism of the Brazilian sugar-ethanol industry is significant, in the context, that India has recently decided to follow the Brazilian model. India has also planned to set up a National Bio-fuel Mission and a National Bio-fuel Board for promotion of bio-fuels.