WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) holds its Conference on Aviation and Alternative Fuels in Mexico City this week, the organization plans to unveil a proposal for the aviation industry to use 5 million tonnes of biofuels a year beginning in 2025, scaling up to 286 million tonnes by 2050 – more than three times the amount of all biofuels produced today — in an attempt to maintain high levels of aviation growth while presenting this growth as “carbon neutral”.
Friends of the Earth joined 100 environmental and development organizations from five continents that today sent a letter to the ICAO to condemn the proposal for large-scale use of biofuels in planes. Using biofuels on this vast scale will likely lead to further expansion of the palm oil industry, which will accelerate deforestation, increase climate-changing emissions, and embolden more land grabbing and human rights abuses.
If the airline industry builds its ‘green’ future on palm oil-based biofuels, the world’s rainforests will have no green future, and we can expect many rainforest species to vanish, all for the sake of commercial aviation. Emissions from international aviation are a major driver of the climate crisis, and are rising faster than emissions from almost any other sector. The airline industry needs to take real measures to reduce growth or it simply puts the planet in further peril.