Thomson protesters strip to reveal the Naked Truth about biofuels

6.10.2011

3 protesters disrupted the launch of Birmingham airport’s first biofuel powered flight by stripping to reveal slogans opposed to the controversial new departure.

The Plane Stupid protesters mingled with passengers before calmly removing their clothes. Dressed in nothing but red body paint that declared ‘biofuels aren’t green’ they called on Thomson to reconsider their plans.

Thomson claim that biofuels offer a greener future for aviation, but respected environmental and social justice organisations from Friends of the Earth to The World Development Movement and Christian Aid believe that they will make the problems of global warming worse.

Today’s launch follows a delay of some months, after Thomson found they couldn’t source enough used cooking oil. Even for one short haul flight a week from one airport.

Protester Jo Turner said-
“It’s not surprising that Thomson have struggled to find enough recycled oils for their stunt. Demand for recycled road transport biofuels already far outstrips supply. Sadly, anyone with basic maths can see that used veg oils will never be a viable solution. They’re just a way of softening up the market to make way for the real nasties like palm oil and jatropha. Biofuels are a devil in disguise - a massively inefficient way of making fuel that destroys the very ecosystems we need to control runaway climate change.”

Protester Chris Cooper added-
“Thompson seem to be acknowledging that we can’t continue business as usual in the face of the current climate emergency. It’s a shame their solution is to make matters worse. Vast tracts of rainforest, ecosystems vital to halting climate change, are currently being trashed to make way for biofuel plantations.

Land that grows food is being stolen from some of the world’s poorest people so that it can start feeding planes. It’s a disaster.”

All three have been arrested and are awaiting charges.
Contact Emily Simon 07864643650 for interviews and more information.

Notes to editors:

1. The aviation industry talks about ‘novel’ biofuels which won’t compete with food and forests. While major concerns remain around these processes, including their use of synthetic biology, none are widely available. Palm oil appears to be the only realistic choice for commercial aviation biofuels over the next few years, it’s widely recognised for it’s destructive impact.

2. Currently palm oil plantations for a variety of uses cover 12 million hectares of land. The aviation industry claims that biofuels represent ‘zero carbon growth’. Biofuel watch calculate that by 2030 aviation would need 45 Million hectares of land to meet their growth goals. For more information see www.biofuelwatch.org.

3.On 1st July 2011 commercial airlines got permission to use 50% biofuels made from specially refined vegtable oils as well as other plant oils and animal fat in their engines.

4. Plane Stupid is a grass roots group that uses direct action to oppose airport expansion.