The airline sector is busily searching for alternatives to kerosene. Made from crude oil, kerosene is responsible for much of our CO2 emissions and is thereby a major contributor to climate change. Crude oil is also becoming harder and harder to extract, which is making it more expensive. The airline industry says that biokerosene is the answer. It is 'renewable’ since it is made from vegetable or animal ingredients. As attractive as that sounds, it is anything but a real solution. Its adverse effects on people and the environment are significant.
Ask Lufthansa to stop their use of biokerosene, now and in the future. In 2011, the German airline Lufthansa started testing biokerosene, flying four times a day between Hamburg and Frankfurt using a mix of conventional kerosene and biokerosene. The biokerosene Lufthansa was using was made from a variety of sources including Indonesian jatropha. Farmers in the Grobogan district of central Java had switched from growing maize and other food crops to jatropha, a non-edible plant, for the airline. Now the farmers and the environment are suffering the consequences
World-wide, more and more agricultural land is being used to grow plants for making biofuels, including biokerosene. The number of hectares devoted to biofuel crops is growing quickly in the southern countries. The palm oil plantations are well known by now, but less well-known crops like jatropha are also being grown to be made into bio-energy by the West. This uses land that was used for food production.
The airline industry sees biokerosene as the way to combat climate change. And we do need to find a solution, since the air travel sector and its CO2 emissions are growing fast. Air travel already contributes five percent to climate change, a percentage that will grow even more in the decades to come. But biokerosene is not the answer.
Milieudefensie has been concerned about the growing demand for biofuels for many years.