Two weeks ago, Friends of the Earth and ActionAid published a Briefing Paper called The Bad Business of Biofuels. This two page leaflet is said to quote ‘new research’, but despite having a footnote reference, it doesn’t actually provide any links to the new studies which the NGOs commissioned from the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Global Subsidies Initiative and the FiFo Institute for Public Economics at the University of Cologne.
Googling either of these organisations fails to bring up the desired documents easily, and many of the document links for both websites end in the dreaded ’404 Error’. Enagri called on FoE to publish the full reports that it was referring to, alongside its briefing note, something which so far, the NGO has not done.
What it (and ActionAid) did do was publish (separately, presumably in the hope that nobody would check them) a list of references. However, they still don’t want you to read this ‘new research’ (some of which isn’t that new)…
Clicking on a number of the hyperlinks to the information cited in this reference document once again leads to various errors (particularly for data hosted by the NGOs themselves.
Fear not, while Enagri may not agree with the report’s conclusions (and we’re not alone. F.O. Licht’s have reviewed the study point by point and stated: “There are inherent difficulties in calculating the differences in the cost of producing fossil fuels on the one hand and biofuels on the other. Even the study authors warn that it should be noted that these projections are extremely uncertain, and thus the results derived are indicative”) we are in favour of transparency. Therefore, we’ve don our best to track down the references which, seeming, Friends of the Earth and ActionAid don’t want you to see. Maybe you should ask them why?
Enagri adds loads of reports to our searchable database every week, which is why we currently link to almost 10,000 reports and online resources, while our RSS Feeds mean you don’t have to search, as we do…
- Rauch A & Thöne M, Biofuels – At What Cost? Mandating ethanol and biodiesel consumption in Germany, FiFo Institute for Public Economics, University of Cologne for the Global Studies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development
(IISD), Geneva, Switzerland, November 2011, FOE LINK: http://www.globalsubsidies.org/research/biofuel-subsidies-germany. REAL LINK: http://test.iisd.org/gsi/sites/default/files/bf_awc_germany.pdf COMMENT: The report dates from February 2011, NOT November as claimed by FoE, so it’s not new.
- Charles C & Wooders P, Biofuels – At What Cost? Mandating ethanol and biodiesel consumption in the United Kingdom, for the Global Studies Initiative (GSI) of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Geneva, Switzerland, August 2011, FoE LINK: http://www.globalsubsidies.org/research/biofuel-subsidies-united-kingdom. REAL LINK: http://test.iisd.org/gsi/sites/default/files/bf_awc_uk.pdf. This one is actually new, published in January 2012.
- Fergusson M, EU wide extrapolation of UK cost of biofuels calculations, December 2011, FoE LINK: http://www.actionaid.org.uk/doc_lib/costofbiofuels.doc REAL LINK: http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/EUwideextrapolation.pdf You’d think as FoE published the report, they know it was on their own website!
- Marelli L, Ramos F, Hiederer R & Koeble R, Estimate of GHG emissions from global land use change scenarios, Joint Research Centre Technical Notes, 2011, FoE LINK: http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/scientific_publications/technical_note_eu24817.pdf REAL LINK: http://iet.jrc.ec.europa.eu/sites/default/files/documents/scientific_publications/2011/technical_note_eu24817.pdf
- Committee on Climate Change, Bioenergy Review, December 2011, FOE Link: http://www.theccc.org.uk/reports/bioenergy-review. Wow, this one’s right!
- Bowyer C, Anticipated Indirect Land Use Change Associated with Expanded Use of Biofuels and Bioliquids in the EU – An Analysis of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans, Institute for European Environmental Policy, March 2011 FOE Link: http://www.ieep.eu/assets/786/Analysis_of_ILUC_Based_on_the_National_Renewable_Energy_Action_Plans.pdf REAL LINK: http://www.lipu.it/pdf/ILUCanalysis.pdf
- Price Volatility in Food and Agricultural Markets: Policy Responses Policy Report including contributions by FAO, IFAD, IMF,OECD, UNCTAD, WFP, the World Bank, the WTO, IFPRI and the UN HLTF 2 June 2011, FoE LINK: http://www.oecd.org/document/20/0,3746,en_2649_37401_48152724_1_1_1_37401,00.html REAL LINK: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/40/34/48152638.pdf
- Anseeuw W, Alden Wily L, Cotula L, & Taylor M, Land Rights and the Rush for Land: Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project, IIED, CIRAD, International Land Coalition, November 2011, FoE LINK: http://www.landcoalition.org/cpl/CPLsynthesis-report Amazing, another link that’s (sort of) right!
- Umweltbundesamt, CO2-Minderung im Verkehr. Ein Sachstandsbericht des Umweltbundesamtes. Beschreibung von Maßnahmen und Aktualisierung von Potenzialen, Dessau, September 2003. FoE doesn’t even attempt to link to this (maybe they hope nobody cares as it’s in German! The REAL LINK is: http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/uba-info-medien/dateien/2606.htm (or in English).
The fact that, of just 8 third-party references, the NGOs can only find 2, doesn’t really fill you with confidence of their research abilities does it!