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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Blue Peter emails

Dear Mr. Montgomery,

Thank you for your reply, however your response is wholly inadequate and you have clearly failed to grasp the implication of my complaint.

Whilst it is appropriate for Blue Peter to report on Terminal 5 as it is a major infrastructure addition to this country, it is absolutely inappropriate to give such biased coverage. I can only imagine that the marketing and publicity department of BAA where delighted with the free advertising that you provided.

Not once in the article did you refer to the damage that Terminal 5 is doing to either the local or global environment. To suggest that the environmental damage that Terminal 5 is causing can be offset by solar powered cars or renewables as you have done in your response is complete nonsense. To further suggest that the situation is mitigated by having other Blue Peter programmes showing how to holiday in the UK is absurd. You need to imagine yourself in the shoes of our young people. On one hand they are given the message that runaway climate change is imminent and that their prospects are completely dire; on the other hand they have Blue Peter extolling the pleasure of flying. To unthinkingly deliver such a contradictory message to our young people is cruel breach of the trust that a programme like Blue Peter has with them.

A copy of this email will appear on my blog.


--- On Thu, 4/12/08, wrote:
From: Subject: BBC Complaints - Blue Peter [T2008112101B0S010Z4777502]To: kevin.lister@btopenworld.comDate: Thursday, 4 December, 2008, 2:46 PMDear Mr Lister

Thanks for your e-mail regarding 'Blue Peter'.

I understand you were unhappy to see the topic of Terminal 5 feature on theprogramme as you feel this was glorifying an industry which has done a tremendous amount of damage to our global environment.

The show decided to report on Terminal 5 because it's a significant addition to British infrastructure. In the past the show has reported on major British infrastructure such as the Channel Tunnel, St Pancras rail link and something as significant as terminal 5 is a valid subject.

The report was designed to show the inner workings of an airport, and as such concentrated on the activities in what is essentially a workplace. Our presenter engaged in tasks such as checking in passengers, following baggage reclaim and making PA announcements and not on the facts which overtly "glamorise" flying.

The report overall should be viewed in the context of the amount of 'Blue Peter' coverage which is incredibly environmentally-friendly. We had a Green Peter special last year which included tips around holidaying at home not flying and we have featured a solar powered car recently on the programme. We're also planning a whole special on renewable energy for next spring. I realise you may continue to feel that Terminal 5 should not have featured on the programme and please be assured I've registered your complaint on our audience log. This is a daily report of audience feedback that's circulated to many BBC staff, including members of the BBC Executive Board, channel controllers and other senior managers.

The audience logs are seen as important documents that can help shape decisions about future programming and content.

Thanks again for taking the time to e-mail us.

Ross Montgomery
BBC Complaints

Friday, November 21, 2008

Complaint to the BBC about Blue Peter

I am not yet born; O fill me
With strength against those who would freeze my
humanity, would dragoon me into a lethal automaton,
would make me a cog in a machine, a thing with
one face, a thing, and against all those
who would dissipate my entirety, would
blow me like thistledown hither and
thither or hither and thither
like water held in the
hands would spill me.
Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me.Otherwise kill me.

Blue Peter presenters extoll the virtues of Terminal 5 and brain wash our kids into unthinking automaton consumers and cogs in the machine of consumption and destruction. If you read this, please also complain, click here for the link. My complaint follows:

"I am outraged that the BBC is using Blue Peter to provide free advertising for BAA's Terminal 5.

BAA is a company that has lied about the environmental damage that they have already caused and are continuing to lie to support their plans for a third runway,which will destroy an entire village and cause more greenhouse gas emissions than many third world nations.

Runaway climate change has now started. The arctic ice cap will soon be gone and this will result in more heat being absorbed by the planet than all the CO2 since industrialisation. Programmes such as Blue Peter have a unique responsibility to prepare our young people to become stewards of the remaining ecosphere on the planet. It should not be glorifying an industry that has done so much to destroy our planet by providing it with free advertising.

Many people have already taken pledges not to fly and have made sacrifices to their lifestyles to cut down on CO2 emissions. An article of this nature is an outrageous insult to them and its implications are far more serious than the Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross affair.”

I trust that Blue Peter will follow this article with a counter balancing view point explaining to its audience the implications of flying on climate change and the importance of taking a no fly pledge."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dear Mr. Wain,

I am writing to you with regards to the expansion plans at Gloucestershire Airport which are due to go before the council in the near future. In particular I wish to highlight the blatant attempt by the airport's management or those closely associated with it to solicit support from organisations that have no interest in either the local economy of Gloucestershire, the environment or the quality of life in this region.

It has been bought to my attention that the Airport or one of the operators from the airport have posted a request on a flying blog to encourage like minded aviation enthusiasts to write to yourself, see the link at:-

This post raises a number of major concerns.

Firstly the opening paragraph of the post states “As you may know, Staverton has been seeking for some time to make some CAA-mandated improvements at the Western end of 09/27, to bring its overrun and obstruction-free area up to the standard where it can again accept PT flights up to ~50-seater (rather than the present ~20-seater) turbprops, and analogous types.” This is unequivocal evidence that the intent of the investment is to expand the existing operations. No amount of carbon budgeting will constrain the environemental damage associated with this.

We have obtained a copy of the letter from Mark Ryan, referred to in this post, which is being circulated to those people with a vested interest in developing the airport. It again raises serious concerns about the true motive behind the investment and demonstrates blatant distortions of the truth.

Mark Ryan's letter claims “During the lengthy consultation period, associated with this project, the feedback received from local businesses has been highly supportive.” Other analysis carried out indicates that most businesses in the area are totally ambivalent to the development of the airport. The main employers of the region such as GCHQ make no use of the airport and have no intention to do so. In fact most forward looking businesses are now attempting to use technologies such as video conferencing to avoid flying altogether in their attempts to minimse carbon foot prints. We would expect that most businesses that support the airport do so because the directors of the company use the airport for private aviation purposes or are directly linked to the airport such as the aviation companies there and are tenents of the airport.

Mark Ryan's letter also claims that “These developments together with our multiple runway configuration, convenient M5 and A40 access, will consolidate our position as the leading General Aviation and business airport in the South West and create a first class facility urgently needed to serve the Airport's thriving business catchment population of more than 2 million.” This paragraph is a blatant admission that the intent behind this investment is to expand and develop the existing business.

This intent is totally contrary to the airport's claims to have climate change as their top agenda item in every board meeting. It is also totally contrary to the evidence on climate change. The hard and uncomfortable truths are now these:-

  • Runaway climate change has now started. The warming that the planet is experiencing is so significant that the arctic ice cap is melting far faster than ever predicted and methane releases have also started in the high Arctic . These two factors alone will result in more heat being added to the planet than that from all industrialisation to date.

  • The rate at which CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere is increasing. By 2030 CO2 will be at a level that is unrecoverable, at which point in time both CO2 and global temperature will rise rapidly, catastrophically and irreversibly.
  • The UK government's Climate Change Bill will mandate an 80% cut in CO2 emissions. Barack Obama has also stated that this will be his position. A cut of this size in emissions is not compatible with any significant aviation industry, much less any attempt to make further investments in airports. The future for the aviation industry is thus retrenchment and not expansion of any kind.
  • The scheduled services are for weekend breaks in the Isle of Mann and Jersey. Calculations show that each passenger's return journey will contribute approximately 220kgs of CO2 to the atmosphere. Given the severity of the climate change problem facing us, it is immoral to allow this level of damage for such a frivolous activity. The situation is even worse for business jets which are the most carbon intensive mode of travel and when most of these flights are for leisure purposes or other non-essential travel.
  • As the share holders, the council tax payer will ultimately be liable for the loans. Given the collapsing economy, it makes no sense to impose further financial risk on the tax payer, especially for such a large investment with such an inherently poor business case and which will benefit so few people. This liablity will come at a time when many essential services will come under increased financial pressure.

It is clear that despite the public position that the airport management has taken on climate change, they are still putting their personal responsibilities on climate change far below their short term interests of expanding the business and thus have not moved on since their infamously discredited report last year when they attempted to disprove climate change existed.

We trust that your council will recognise the folly of supporting this investment and reject the proposal outright.

A copy of Mark Ryan's letter is attached with the email.

Kevin Lister

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biofuel report submission to Tesco

Thank you Andrew,

If I do not hear from you within two weeks, I will contact you on the 4th November for an update.



From: Slight, Andrew
Subject: RE: Biofuel report
To: Kevin Lister
Date: Tuesday, 21 October, 2008, 3:22 PM

We need to consider the evidence you have sent in the context of the other information we are collecting. As I am sure you will appreciate, to do this diligently will take some time. We will get back to you in due course.

Kind regards


Dear Andrew,

As I said in the earlier email, we look forward to working with you on this and not having to hold a gun to your head, but if we hear no response within two weeks, we regret that we will be forced to move to the next level of campaign that we have been planning.


From: Slight, Andrew Subject: RE: Biofuel report

To: "Kevin Lister" Date: Tuesday, 21 October, 2008, 12:50 PM

We will review this as soon as we can, alongside the other evidence we are looking at but unfortunately cannot guarantee it will be in the next two week.

Kind regards

From: Kevin Lister

Sent: 21 October 2008 12:58

To: Slight, AndrewSubject: RE: Biofuel report

Thank you for you acknowledgement, could I ask that you reply within two weeks.
From: Slight, Andrew Subject: RE: Biofuel report

Date: Tuesday, 21 October, 2008, 8:09 AM

Dear Kevin

Thank you for your report to help us with the wide range of information we have collected on biofuels. I will let you have our thoughts on it in due course.

Kind regards

From: Kevin Lister []

Sent: 20 October 2008 23:53To: Slight, AndrewCc: Leahy, TerrySubject: Biofuel report

Dear Andew,

Following our conversation on the 26th August, I enclose a response on the Gallagher review to help inform your thinking, with particular emphasis on the lack of account that the Gallagher report takes on the impact on the biosphere from biofuels.

I trust that you find the report useful and that you will take the opportunity to use the influence of Tesco to stop the damage being inflicted on the environment from the biofuels industry.

I look forward to your response.

Kevin Lister


Thursday, October 16, 2008

How do environmentally friendly Airport Managers get on with their customers?

email to the directors of Gloucestershire Airport, after another slick environmental presentation:

Dear Mark and Darren,

Congratulations on the all the effort that you have made on your green policy. Your business is becoming a leader in minimising its waste and using data analysis to assist in environmental management. Your efforts could be used as a model for other companies in this area. It is genuinely exciting to hear of a company that discusses climate change at every board meeting.

But (and this is a big but), as you are aware most of the emissions that your business produce will be in the air and include large amounts of Nitrous oxides, which are 300 times more powerful as a green house gas than CO2. So I am trying to imagine the scenario and how the conversation would go with George Davis, as he readies his plane for weekend skiing break. I think it would go something like this:

Mark: “Hello George, what a lovely car. You know, our entire staff car share and cycle now. Would you like to keep your emissions down by car sharing when you come to the airport.”

George: “Sorry Mark, I really don’t give a damn.”

Mark: “George, come into my office and I will explain to you about climate change, and why it is such an issue. Please don’t trip over anything as the lights are off because we are keeping our emissions down.”

During an excellent and slick presentation (which has now been practised many times), and which lays bare the inevitability of runaway climate change, Darren attempts to dissuade George from flying,

Darren: “Well George it is like this, we have calculated the distance that you are going to fly on Google Earth and applied a 10% uplift, and multiplied by some other figures that DEFRA have given us. We estimate that your flight will produce about 10 tonnes of greenhouse gases, but we have assumed radiative forcing impacts are zero because nobody can agree where between 2 and 5 the actual figure will lie.

George, let me level with you, the problem is that your weekend skiing trip will wipe out all the savings that we have made over the year and completely trash our aims of becoming an environmentally friendly airport, and even though you say your jet is a business jet, the only thing that we have loaded for you are skies.”

George, “Sorry Darren, I really don’t give a damn. Is my plane ready?”

Darren: “Well yes, it is actually, enjoy your flight and keep coming because we have a £3.5 million pound investment to pay off and if people like you stop coming because of our green policy, it will take over 25 years to pay off.”

However, on the assumption that the airport does not expand, and does close down, as you keep threatening, you at least now have the experience to set up as Environmental Consultants. You have clearly achieved more in reducing your waste than many other companies have done. You never know, if I do not get the air traffic controllers job at the airport, I may end up working for you!!

Kevin Lister

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Job Application and ensuing row

"Councillor Andrew McKinlay"

Dear Andrew

Further to our email correspondance, I write to apologise to you for the childish sarcasm.

A bit of humour to illustrate such a serious issue as climate change is clearly not appropriate to you.

If you want to understand how serious people are now taking climate change, then read here:

Maura Harrington planned to end her hunger either by death or the stopping of Shell's proposed new pipe line, so concerned is she by climate change.

Can you confirm that hunger strikes rather than childish sarcasm would be a better method of pursuading councillors of the folly of allowing Staverton Airport to expand?

Could I also suggest that you go and read some books.

Kevin Lister


Dear Mr Lister,

I fear there is little else to say. I am saddened to hear that you intend to continue making a fool of yourself in this way.

Can I ask that you delete me from your mailing list?

Cllr Andrew McKinlay

Dear Andrew,

Maybe a childish bit of sarcasm. However, that is a lot less damning than expecting the tax payer to back a multi million pound investment at the start of an economic collapse.

It is also a lot less damaging than the CO2 emissions that will come from the additional flights from the airport, especially at a time when we are staring down the barrel of the fully loaded climate change gun. Supporting this airport is an insult to those of us that are doing everything that we can to minimise our emissions.

In case you have not noticed, the airport has publicly tried to claim that they are not expanding. However the job advert confirms that they are.

Maybe you might want to clarify exactly were you stand on the airport and how you reconcile yourself with their lies.

And finally, we will not stop until the airport expansion proposals are finally off the table.



email from: "Councillor Andrew McKinlay"

Dear Mr Lister,

I'm not sure who you are trying to impress by doing this.

Can I take this opportunity to make it clear that I am not impressed by this pathetic stunt.

Clearly not content with giving us your ill researched
views on the impact of air travel in Gloucestershire, you have now decided to treat us all to a taste of your childish sarcasm.

Please stop!

Cllr Andrew McKinlay


Dear Rob Dobney,

I enclose my details for the position that you have been advertising:

Aerodrome, Approach and Approach Radar Controller

I would be delighted to join a company which has such positive expansion proposals, and is clearly totally immune to the world wide credit crunch and recession. As your advert points out , you have a “rapidly expanding market offering point-to-point, niche services, which are a cost effective, viable alternative to scheduled services from major airports saving that most precious of business commodities, time.” It would be a great privilege to serve those members of the public that are able to afford the luxury of private jets and who are not bothered with the minor inconvenience of their climate change impact.

I am also delighted that your advert mentions “Significant operational developments

are also planned, including removing obstacles from the runway ends and installing ILS, further enhancing commercial capabilities.” It would indeed be an exciting career move to be part of this development. As your organisation is owned by Gloucester and Cheltenham Councils, it would be great to know that I am helping to use to the tax payers money to subsidise holidays and private jet operations.

Please let me know when the interviews are being held. I look forward to attending.

I am reasonably well know to the airport management and therefore, should not have to bother providing references. However, if necessary, they can be provided.


Kevin Lister

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Comments on minutes from Andrew Slight

Dear Kevin

Thank you for your summary of our conversation on the 26th August.

From my perspective, the points that we agreed were:

* That climate change is a massive issue that requires urgent action.
* That you (on behalf of Biofuelswatch) would send us your response to the Gallagher Review to help inform our thinking, particularly on your claim that it does not take into account the impact on the biosphere.

* That Tesco will continue to engage with the debate and the science and that this is still not fully settled.

On the basis of the above, I look forward to the scientific views that you provide us with in due course.

Kind regards,

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Minutes of Telecom with Tesco regarding biofuels

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for making time for the telecom on Tuesday, 26th August. To reiterate the main points of our conversation and agreements that we came to:
  • The CO2 levels in our atmosphere are far in excess of past measurements. As a result we are in uncharted territory. It is thus difficult to predict with any accuracy the resultant temperature that the climate will stabilise at, other than to conclude it will be far in excess of today's temperatures and most probably not conducive to life on earth.
  • As a consequence of this build up of CO2, we face the very real prospect of catastrophic climate change. To have any chance of avoiding this, we must preserve what we can of our biosphere to allow CO2 to be removed from our atmosphere.
  • I have explained to you that preservation of our biosphere is not compatible with expanding biofuels.
  • You have agreed that Tesco proceeded down the route of biofuel, along with other companies, before the science was fully settled.
  • You said that Tesco's are preparing a response to the Gallagher report. I have agreed to provide information to you that will support your response.
  • I have explained that the the concept of biofuel fails when one factors in the loss of CO2 absorption from the atmosphere. I explained to you that given that extremely high CO2 in the atmosphere then the first priority must be to have a functioning biosphere that allows the CO2 to reduce. I further pointed out to you that that Gallagher report does not cover how this loss of CO2 absorption will be covered following biofuel developments.
  • I also explained that the conclusions of the Gallagher report, i.e. that we should slow down the introduction of biofuel targets is not compatible with underlying message of the report, which is largely that biofuel use leads to increased CO2 emissions due to land use change. I also explained that the main justification that the Gallagher report uses for its final position is to preserve the biofuel industry and to ignore the risk to the environment. This is clearly an unsustainable position.
  • I explained my demand, that Tesco divest from Greenergy and support calls for a moratorium on biofuel. You have explained that Tesco will consider solid scientific evidence towards this demand.
  • I have explained to you that those objecting to biofuel, ranging from individual protestors such as myself to world organisations such as the UN World Food programme are all losing the battle on biofuel as more land gets converted to biofuel, more money gets invested into biofuel and new government targets are being imposed.
  • Finally, I explained to you that it is increasingly clear that our economy is a zero sum game as limits to growth are appearing simultaneously in numerous areas, e.g. food supply, water availability, CO2 build up. In a zero sum game, (such as chess) one person's gain is another person's loss and no additional resources come into play. In a zero sum game, the only strategy to adopt is competition. This is a nightmare scenario which all sides must recognise and do all to avoid. It places a special onus on organisations such as yours to take full cognisance of the available science to avoid further damage.
A copy of the presentation outlining the position is attached. I will provide the information that you request within the next 4 weeks.

These minutes will be posted on my blog.

Kevin Lister

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Letter to David Drew MP - following Climate Camp at Kingsnorth Power Station

Dear David,
I was at the climate camp last week. As you may have seen on the news, the police response was completely totally over the top and was blatant oppression. We had helicopters over us during the night to stop us sleeping, we had helicopters over us during the day to stop us talking. We were searched when entering and leaving the camp. The camp was frequently attacked by riot police at 5:00 am. This is a disaster for free speech and could be taken out of the worst nightmares from George Orwell.

As you are aware, climate change is going to become a bigger and bigger issue and it will become more contentious. The authorities, who are clearly frightened were this will lead, are taking the worst possible approach to this by driving us towards a police state.
Further to this, Eon has been successful in getting a misleading message across about how clean the new power station will be compared to the existing station that they plan to replace. They have kept reiterating that the new power plant will be 20% more efficient that the existing. However, in Eon's environment statement it says that the power plant operates at 37% efficiency, so the 20% improvement will merely raise the efficiency to 45%. So the absolute improvement is only 8%. Furthermore, the existing power plant is rated at 450MW and the new power is 800MW, representing an increase in emissions of 77% . With their projected increase in efficiency, the total emissions from the power plant will increase by 63%. This picture of massively increasing emissions is completely counter to that presented by Eon and is disastrous when we now face the prospect of catastrophic climate change.

I would therefore like the following question to be asked to the either John Hutton, or Malcom Wicks:

"Can ministers confirm that the absolute increase in efficiency at Kingsnorth Power station is only 8%, based on Eons environment statement (page 4). Also given that the output of the new plant is planned to be 77% higher that the existing plant, then the total CO2 emission increase is 63% once the efficiency improvement is taken into account. Can ministers explain how this is justified in light of the government's climate change bill?"

Also you may have seen the article in the Guardian by Prof Watson, the chief advisor to DEFRA, who states that the fight against climate change is now lost and that we should focus on adapting to a 4 deg C increase. Adaptation to a 4 deg C increase will be done by dieing in our billions and taking the natural world down with us. To give the lie that we can adapt to a change of this order, is the worst spin that has yet been thrown at us.

If no questions have been asked on this, could you ask:

"Can ministers explain what adaptation is possible if we get the 4 deg C temperature increase that Prof Watson warns, given that our cities will be flooded, our food chains will have collapsed and we will be managing a massive environmental refugee crisis. Is is not better to ban the building of more fossil fuel power stations, such as Kingsnorth, to invest in nuclear and renewables, and immediately start the implementation of a carbon rationing scheme?"

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Protesters injured at Tesco's Subsiduary company following failure to deliver sustainability report

Dear Sir Terry,

Following our repeated requests from your organisation for sustainability reports for your biofuel products, we have still not received any further information. I summarise below the statements that your organisation has provided so far:

1.Your organisation stated that your biofuels were sustainably sourced and environmental audits could be provided.
2. After email correspondence your organisation admitted that the science supporting biofuel was no longer clear and that you would be commissioning a study with Manchester University which would be made publically available.
3. We asked for a copy of the remit that you would provide Manchester University and a timescale for delivery of the report. We received no response.
4. We contacted Manchester University and they confirmed that no remit could be agreed.
5. Your Andrew Slight was commissioned to look at the situation and confirmed Tesco's policy was to provide a sustainability report as initially promised.

As a result of your continued delay to provide any assurances on the sustainability of your biofuel products and the gravitas of the problem of biodiversity loss and global warming, my colleagues have been left with no option but to blockade your subsidiary company, Greenergy to highlight the consequences of your policies.

You should be aware, that this protest brought about by your policies and inability to provide evidence of sustainablity has resulted in several of my colleagues being seriously injured.

We now view your organisation's inability to provide the evidence that we have reasonably requested extremely seriously

This email will be post on my blog.

Kevin Lister

Thursday, July 10, 2008

other web address for the Fairford Airshow organisers

The following email was also left on the RIAT web site for the organisers of the airshow:-

To the RIAT director:

Some other web sites you may want to comment on:-


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Further email to the organisers of Fairford

The following note, was handed into the director of the Fairford Airshow (self proclaimed as the worlds biggest military tattoo), click on the picture to see a full size version or click here

The following email was left on the RIAT web site, just in case the director did not get the hard copy.

Copy of email sent to the organisers of the world biggest tattoo:

In case the director of the RIAT does not get the note I left for him today, he can see it on my blog, see Please make sure that this important message is passed to him

Also, I see that you have removed the poster that we marked up with CO2 warning signs yesterday. Don't worry, we have done others in the area as well so people get the message. We will leave it as a challenge for you to find them.

We note the signs are not recycleable.


P.S. I am delighted to say that the organisers have spotted out protest, see

Monday, July 07, 2008

Email to organisers of the Fairford Airshow

For the attention of the Airshow Director:

  • Within the past month , James Hanson (NASA's chief climate change scientist) has warned that "unless we can cut our CO2 emissions in the atmosphere to 350 ppm within the next couple of years we are toast." To put it in context, we are currently at 450 ppm CO2 equivalent.

  • Within the last month it has been reported there is a 50% chance of being able to sail to the North Pole this summer. If this happens we will hit one of our key climatic tipping points.

  • Within the past month an amendment has been tabled to increase the CO2 cut from 60% to 80% in the climate change bill. If passed, it will result in an unprecedented change to our society.

  • The United Nations Human Development report has said ignoring climate change is a crime against humanity, and on a par with the atrocities of the Second World War.

  • The CIA has said climate change is our biggest threat.

So, our reaction to this is to stamp the largest possible carbon foot print on the ground by having an airshow which will fly planes in from all over the world to make the business of dropping bombs appear more family friendly than the business of climate change.

We offer a challenge. We will paint out as many of your signs as we can before the weekend to raise awareness of the environmental damage you will be causing. You try and stop us.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Dear All Readers,

It is 7 days to the Fairford Airshow.

Drop me an email to let me know if you are coming.


Thanks to David Drew for Organising a public debate on the climate change bill


Thank you for organising tonights debate. Click here for the presentation.

Without these kinds of open discussion full public understanding and engagement in the implications of the climate change bill will not happen and it will be dead in the water. What you have done is testimony to your commitment to tackle climate change.

Already some people who were there and not in your constituency have already said that they are going to contact their MPs to start the same processes going.

This email will appear on my blog!!


Thursday, July 03, 2008

Use of supermarket cooking oil for biofuel - opinion please from Tesco

Dear Andrew,

In your last email, to me you said that if I had any scientific evidence, I should send it to you. Though not scientific in the true sense of the word, I had an interesting and upsetting experience in my local supermarket (not Tesco) shortly after I sent my last email. I thought you would like you to know about it and that you may wish to investigate for it happening in your own stores.

As I went to the shelf to buy some cooking oil, the gentleman in front of me was filling his shopping trolley with virtually the entire complement of the shops stock of cooking oil. His full shopping trolley had nothing else other than cooking oil, I estimated that he had about 40 bottles. I asked him what he was doing. He told me he was using the cooking oil to make diesel and was somewhat proud of the fact. I told him in no uncertain terms that this was for cooking. He argued back saying that he had left some on the shelf. In fact he had left three bottles on the shelf. One of which I bought. As it was still early evening, it was clearly going to be tough luck for anyone else coming into the store.

The supermarket in question clearly had no policy on preventing single customers bulk buying and the cashier took his money without question.

I do not believe that I have witnessed the only incident of this kind in the country, and suspect that it is frequently happening elsewhere in the country.

Given your organisation's inability to define a remit for a sustainablity study, I would be interested in your position on customers buying large quantities of cooking oil for subsequent home conversion into biofuel and depriving the other customers (like me) of essential ingredients and wonder if this could be incorporated into any study that you ultimately commission.

Kevin Lister

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Response to Andrew Slight - we will help in the biofuel sustainablity study

Dear Andrew,

Thank you for replying on behalf of Sir Terry and attempting to clarify Tesco's position. However, I am still not clear on your position, and request further clarification.

Firstly, I am clearly pleased that Gary Anderson's position reflects Tesco's biofuels policy. To be clear Gary Anderson stated that "To help us and others understand the true impact of biofuels we have asked the independent Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) based at Manchester University to investigate." After Gary's email, I asked for a copy of the remit that the SCI would be working to and the timescale of deliverables. He provided neither and advised that he considered the matter closed.

I have since contacted the SCI directly (email 2nd July). They have confirmed that they have not started work as a remit cannot be agreed with your organisation and they have absolutely no timetable of deliverables. See my blog for a copy of the correspondence. As per my previous request to Gary, please confirm when the remit will be completed and provide a copy of this. As the SCI report is to be made publically available, I am sure that you will have no problem releasing a copy of the remit.

Your statement "It is suppliers of biofuels rather than retailers that will be required to produce a sustainability report under the terms of the RSPO," implies that your organisation is washing its hands of its moral responsibility to ensure sustainability of its products. Again, I would request that you provide copies of the suitability reports that your main suppliers are obliged to produce under the RTFO legislation. I find it hard to believe that your organisation would be so negligent as to not request copies of these documents during contract negotiations. As you are probably aware from reviewing correspondence, Gary had previously confirmed that progress against sustainability commitments could be monitored and audited at any time. As you are probably aware, I have not received any. To finally settle this matter, can you confirm if any audit reports are actually available.

Furthermore, Tesco is a 25% stake holder in Greenergy. It defies belief that you did not do an environmental audit of their products at the time of the acquisition.

If you still have no sustainability documents, could you provide me contact details within your supplier organisations, so that I can contact them on your behalf. I will of course keep you copied in on any communications.

You say that when you made the commitment to biofuels, "many NGOs, and experts believed that biofuels could make a positive contribution to tackling climate change." You should also have been aware, that many NGOs and experts were also saying that biofuels would not provide an answer. They argued that it would displace food production and reduce the planets capacity to absorb CO2. It is therefore important that you engage the correct NGOs during your review to ensure that you do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Can you confirm if you are going to contact organisations such as Biofuels Watch that has specific and detailed expertise on the impact of biofuels and Oxfam that has been highlighting the human rights violations as a consequence of biofuels.

In response to your request for me to send further information on the impacts of biofuels that would help you decide, I would be delighted to oblige. However, you should first try any of the main institutions of the world, such as the United Nations, the World Food Programme, etc. You can also do a Google search on the subject. If this still fails, my colleges and I, who are planning to visit your headquarters, would be delighted to meet with yourselves to press our case and present the compelling scientific evidence that you request. Unlike the £25m SCI study, we will do this at no charge to yourselves, thereby guaranteeing independence.

Kevin Lister

Email from Manchester Uni SCI - no Tesco Remit agreed for biofuel sustainablity investigation


Thank you for getting in touch with the SCI. I'm sorry I did not get back to you sooner but I needed to check on the status of the research first and the academic investigator leading on biofuels is out of the country.

I have now heard back and I am informed that the research has not yet started and the remit for the project is still under discussion. I hope this helps for the moment. Do check back in the future if you wish.

Best regards,
Richard Seeley SCI

Kevin Lister
30/06/2008 14:57
Tesco's biofuel and sustainablity project

Dear Richard,

Tescos claim on their web site ( that they have engaged yourselves to look at the true impact of biofuels and that all your research will be made public.

I have previously asked Tesco for a copy of the remit under which this work has been commissioned and timescales for the study, but they provided neither of these. I would be grateful if you could advise me where the study has got to, and the timetable for the release of public material.

Your report would be particulary helpful for me (and others) to understand biofuel impacts, as Tesco has said that sustainablity of the biofuel that they sell is an issue for their suppliers and not for them, and consequently they do not have sustainablity reports that I can review.

Kevin Lister

Monday, June 30, 2008

Biofuel damage is not Tesco's fault, it is their suppliers!!

Dear Mr Lister,

Thank you for your e-mails of 7 June and 26 June to Sir Terry Leahy about our policies on biofuels. I have been asked to reply on Sir Terry's behalf.

Having reviewed the previous correspondence between yourself and our Customer Services department, please let me assure you that the comprehensive replies set out by Gary Anderson reflect our biofuels policy and not the subsequent correspondence with Ryan Fitzpatrick and Scott Mackay. Please accept my apologies for this misunderstanding.

As Gary explained, we originally committed to biofuels because we believed, as did many other experts including Governments and NGOs, that biofuels could make a positive contribution to tackling climate change, and also help other challenges associated with petrol and diesel that you have mentioned on your blog such as peak oil and fuel security. The debate has become more complex and we are fully engaged in it.

In response to your specific request, it is suppliers of biofuels rather than retailers that will be required to produce a sustainability report under the terms of the RSPO. Our commitment to biofuels is based on a belief that they can play a positive role to tackle the environmental challenges posed by current transport fuels if they are sourced sustainably. For example, palm oil derived from deforested areas would clearly have a detrimental impact on the environment so the challenge that our main supplier is addressing is how we can avoid palm oil from these areas.

As with all our policies, we review regularly in the light of sound science, customer demand and our commitments to tackling environmental issues and climate change in particular. We are also engaging with environmental NGOs to improve our understanding. We welcome any new research that clarifies the impacts of biofuels and particularly welcome the Government’s review of the indirect impacts, which I understand is due to be released very soon.

In the meantime we will continue to use our own knowledge, based on the latest scientific research and our experience as a food retailer to try and ensure that in our supply chain, the ingredients in the biofuels are sourced sustainably. I believe that trying to meet this challenge is a more responsible approach than turning our backs so that we can make good decisions on the basis of sound science.

I am pleased to have the opportunity to clarify our policy so that it can be properly represented. I would also like to emphasise that we have always viewed biofuels as one of many ways to help customers and our distribution fleet manage their environmental impact. As someone who cares deeply about the environment and climate change in particular, I hope you will recognise the other work we are doing on climate change, which is detailed in our latest Corporate Responsibility report at :

If you have further scientific research specifically on biofuels and their sourcing that you believe will help our understanding, please send it to me.

Kind regards
Andrew Slight

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Biofuel movie for Sir Terry

Dear Sir Terry,

To remind you, I still have not recieved a copy of a sustainablity report for your biofuels and will be pursuing this under the freedom of information act, especially as this is supposed to be a publically available document.

In case your organisation is having trouble writing such a document, I hope that you will take the time to watch the movie available at this address:

I hope that we will be able to discuss it when we come down to your offices in the near future.

Kevin Lister

Monday, June 09, 2008

Freedom of Information request for Tesco Biofuel Sustainability Report

Dear Matthew,

Further to the statement in the letter you sent which stated the Department of Transport's requires biofuels suppliers to "report on greenhouse gas savings and wider sustainability," I am formally requesting that your department provides copies of the available reports on greenhouse gas savings and wider sustainability associated with biofuels from transport fuel suppliers under the freedom of information act.

As Tesco have claimed to be the biggest supplier of biofuels and with aspirations to double the amount sold, (see extracts from their environmental statement or here), I would at first like you to provide copies of the Tesco biofuel sustainability reports. I have previously asked for copies of the sustainability reports which Tesco has said can be audited at any time to be provided, but received nothing from them.

This email will be forwarded to Tesco, my local MP, a hard copy will be sent to the Deptartment of Transport, and it will appear on my blog.

Kevin Lister

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Can we see a biofuel sustainablity report??

Dear Sir Terry,

As you are hopefully aware, your Scott MacKay sent an email saying that Tescos were washing their hands of moral culpability in the provision of biofuel as it was now government policy and he apologised for any inconvenience that Tesco was causing. In response to this I sent a further letter to the Ruth Kelly to ask her position on the sustainability of biofuels.

Ruth Kelly's office has replied. In their response they stated "All transport fuel suppliers will be required to report on the greenhouse gas savings and wider sustainability." I therefore would be grateful if you could send me a copy of your sustainability report that the government obliges you to prepare. If you not prepared to do this, I will seek a copy of this under the Freedom of Information Act . Furthermore if you have no report, I and a number of my colleagues will come to your offices to speak directly with yourself on the subject.

As regards the wider sustainability aspect of your report, I would also be grateful if you can ensure that it addresses how biofuels will enable reversal of the increasing rate of increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, when the fundemental proposition is to burn the planet's lungs. See the graph below which is sourced from data on the
NOAA web site.

As usual, a copy of this email will appear on my blog.

I look forward to your reply,

Kevin Lister

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Response from Ruth Kelly Office

Matthew Griffin
Aviation Environmental Division 1
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
76 Marsham Street
Zone 1/22
London SW1P4DR
direct line: 020 7944 4874
minicom: 011517
fax: 020 7944 2192
GTN NO: 3533 4874

Web Site: Our Ref: APE 12/5/2 23 May 2008

Dear Mr Lister,

Thank you for your further letter of 17 April to the Secretary of State for Transport, Ruth Kelly, about aviation and environmental issues. Your letter has been passed to me and I have been asked to reply.

Firstly, with regard to biofuels. The demand for biofuels is only one factor affecting food prices. The smaller harvests of 2006 and higher production costs due to increased fertiliser costs have also contributed. The Government will ask the Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) to monitor how markets are affected by growing biofuel demand and we expect that the RFA will include an assessment of these effects in its annual report to Parliament. The UK Government will continue to gather evidence on the impacts of biofuel use to help ensure that targets are set at appropriate levels.

In the longer term, second generation biofuel technologies have the potential to reduce pressure on land because they can use a wider range of feedstocks, including waste.

On 21 February the Government announced a review, led by the RFA, of the emerging evidence on the indirect impacts of biofuel production, and what these mean for future biofuel policies and targets. The review will look at the wider environmental and economic impacts and will also take into account evidence concerning food security issues. An initial analysis will be provided to Ministers as soon as possible, with a full report to follow in late June. The review should help to ensure that we have the right evidence base to support decisions on the future of the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) scheme and longer-term targets.

In the absence of agreed international standards on the sustainability of biofuels, the Government has incorporated sustainability safeguards into the RTFO. All transport fuel suppliers will be required to report on the greenhouse gas savings and wider sustainability impacts associated with their biofuels in order to claim any credit for them under the RTFO.

We have also made clear that our agreement to future EU biofuel targets is conditional on our being satisfied that they can be met sustainably. We will be negotiating hard over the months ahead to ensure that the relevant EU legislation requires all biofuels to meet robust, mandatory sustainability standards. We have set stretching targets to demonstrate the level of performance that we expect from transport fuel suppliers in this area.

We will be asking the RFA to report regularly on the impacts of the policy, and on the performance of different transport fuel suppliers against the targets. We want this process to be as open and transparent as possible, and further information can be obtained via the RFA's website at

With regard to the other points you raise, I will respond as you set them out in your letter.

Point 1 - We have not ignored the IPCC report. The UK has acknowledged that climate change is the biggest single issue that we face and we are taking action. However, we must acknowledge that the UK can not act alone in tackling climate change which is why we are taking the lead both in proposing our Climate Change Bill which will enshrine domestic emissions reductions in UK law, and in leading for tough targets in the post-Kyoto process. That is not to say we shouldn't take action now and in fact we are doing so.

With particular reference to aviation, the UK has a comprehensive strategy which is in line with the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and promotes the use of economic instruments, alongside investment in research and development and removal of barriers to behavioural change.

As set out in the previous letter, the UK supports a truly global solution for an international industry such as aviation. However progress on a global scale has been slow and therefore the UK supports the inclusion of aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme as the key priority.
In terms of investment in research and development both governments and industry have a role to play, and work on this has been in place for several years for example the UK Government has been involved in the EU-led QUANTIFY project and the establishment of the OMEGA knowledge transfer network. More recently the Commission launched the joint Clean Sky Technology Initiative worth €1.6bn over seven years. This investment has been alongside improvements which have made the operations of both airports and airlines more efficient, for example where possible aircraft, use the Continuous Descent Approach when landing which can save about 1% of total fuel per aircraft.

Point 2 - As explained before, emissions from international aviation are not included in the targets of the Climate Change Bill as there is currently no agreement on how to allocate these international emissions to national inventories. The Bill does, however, cover CO2 emissions from domestic flights.

The Climate Change Bill includes provisions which would enable Ministers to include international aviation emissions in UK totals in the event of developments in international carbon reporting practices for the sector. The UK Government is not discounting or ignoring these international emissions. The fact that emissions from international aviation are not included in the draft Climate Change Bill does not mean that we are not taking action to tackle the climate change impacts of aviation. As stated above, such a truly international industry like aviation requires a global solution and we are pressing internationally through both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for this. We will also ask the new independent Committee on Climate Change to look at the implications of including international aviation in the UK's targets, as part of its overall report on the UK's 2050 target.

The Future of Air Transport White Paper sets out our commitment to ensuring that aviation reflects the full costs of its climate change emissions and highlights that the most efficient way of doing this is through a well-designed, international emissions trading scheme.

Point 3 - This would be a matter for the Home Office. For further information on policing, you may wish to contact them directly.

Point 4 - The additional 1,300 carriages announced in last year's rail white paper for the period 2009 - 2014 are estimated to result in a direct increase in annual rail CO2 emissions of 117,000 tonnes. This is only partially offset by a fall of 15,000 tonnes in car CO2 emissions from travellers switching to rail.

The Committee on Climate Change has been tasked with advising the Government on future 5 year carbon budgets. Their advice is expected by the end of 2008. To help inform the Government's response to these recommendations, this department is currently analysing how the carbon emissions of different transport modes including rail are likely to change in the period up to 2022. Part of this process involves considering the implications for diesel and electricity consumption (including how the power generating mix is expected to change over time, for example through an increased use of renewables). As this work is still underway, we are unable to provide any detailed figures at present.

Point 5 - It is not Government policy to reduce demand. The White Paper recognises that while simply building more and more capacity to meet demand would not be a sustainable way forward, there is a need for some additional airport capacity so that the economic and social benefits of air travel to the UK can be realised.

As you are aware, Government policy on aviation is set out in the Future of Air Transport White Paper. The Government has set out a sustainable way forward taking into account the social, environmental and economic factors.

Point 6 - In 2003 the Government outlined its support for a third runway at Heathrow. This was contained in the 'Future of Air Transport'White Paper. The White Paper made clear that this support is conditional on meeting strict local noise and air quality limits. It also said that scope for making greater use of the two existing runways should be explored, subject to the same environmental conditions. The consultation presents the outcome of our assessment of these options and invites views. We want our final policy decisions to be based on the full range of evidence including that from those most directly affected.

We are now analysing all the responses received during the consultation period. Following this work, advice will be prepared for ministers so that decisions can be taken on each of the consultation issues later this year. Ministers will take account of all the evidence, including responses to the consultation, in reaching final policy decisions, which are expected later in 2008.
I hope you find this helpful.
Yours sincerely

Matthew Griffin

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Copy of presentation given on Carbon Rationing

Click here to see copy of presentation on carbon rationing. Download and save to your disk to see notes on the slides

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Government Minister does not care about Tesco's abuse of the environement

Dear David,

Many thanks for raising my question in parliament on biofuels. The answer you got from Jim Fitzpatrick was the predictable rubbish that allows companies like Tesco to continue to take shelter under ill conceived legislation. Jim Fitzpatrick has not answered the fundamental question that you asked which is "what steps will be taken against against those producers, wholesalers and retailers which do not meet these requirements."

I would appreciate if you could press the matter further with the DoT to clarify their position. It is of interest that the even the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil cannot agree on what constitutes sustainable Palm Oil. Their web site proudly shows a huge Palm Oil Plantation, on land that would once have been a biodiverse tropical rainforest, suggesting that sustainability and biofuels do not go together.

Tesco had previously stated in correspondence with me that their biofuel supplies are auditable and these can be provided on request. However, they have not issued these. I would appreciate that you ask the DoT what audit documentation they have requested from major suppliers of biofuels to ensure that biofuels being sold are actually coming from sustainable sources and not leading to further deforestation or destruction of local environments.

A copy of this letter will also be sent to Terry Leahy

Kevin Lister

Monday, April 28, 2008

Letter to David Drew MP - to ask for parlimentary question on biofuels

Dear David,

An article in the Energy Business Review reports that Tesco's biofuels are made entirely of Palm Oil and Soya.

This flatly contradicts the assertions that I received over a series of email communications with Tesco. Initially Tesco claimed their biofuels were sustainable, and then they said their biofuels contained a small part of palm oil. Clearly, they are lying.

During the correspondence I had with them, they stated that biofuels helped their customers reduce their CO2 footprint. After further correspondence they admitted that the science was not clear and they would commission further research which would be made publicly available. However, they gave no dates when this research would be completed and no copy of the remit. Eventually, we were told that as government policy now mandated biofuel they would not change their current policy.

It is also clear in the correspondence that they have done no environmental impact assessment and are behaving a reckless manner by ignoring all the current scientific opinion. My correspondence with Tesco is available on my blog.

I would therefore like you to ask the following question in parliament to Ruth Kelly, "Given the report in Energy Business Review which demonstrates that Tesco use significant quantities of Palm Oil and their demonstrable lack of environmental impact assessment, does the transport secretary now recognise that the 2.5% target in the RTFO simply encourages companies such as Tesco to place compliance with policy ahead of taking the correct environmental decisions and thereby gives them a mandate to pillage our food supplies and destroy the tropics."

This letter has been copied to Terry Leahy.

Kevin Lister

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A letter to Ruth Kelly

Dear Ms. Kelly,

Thank you for your eventual reply to my letter of November last year when I wrote to you about the expansion proposals at Heathrow.

However, I am absolutely appalled by the letter from your department, which I am reading at the same time as statements in support of biofuels that also emanates from your department. It is impossible to find decisions from any government in any country at any past time that is more morally bankrupt than these two. I do hope that you have read the UN Development report (page 4) that compares wilfully ignoring climate change to the atrocities of the Nazis in the Second World War.

Your policies on mandating 2.5% of fuel to be biofuel has now given companies like Tesco a complete mandate to pillage our food supplies and destroy the tropics. In recent correspondence with Tesco, which is on my blog, it is clear they have done no due diligence or made any environmental impact assessment of their attempts to become the UK’s leading suppliers of biofuel. They are not even able to quantify the amount of palm oil that they use and by their own admission have no defined standards on sustainability.

What does it take for people like you to change policy? Do we need to come to your house and burn it down in the same way that your policies on biofuel are leading to the forcible relocation of indigenous people from their homelands? Do we need to deprive you and your family of food, in the same way that your policies on biofuel are contributing to almost 1 billion people facing starvation worldwide? Do we need to bulldoze your neighbourhood in the same way that your policies will result in the destruction of Sipson near Heathrow? Do we need to destroy the local environment for your children, in the same way that your policies are destroying the global environment for the world’s children? I often wonder how people like you can sleep at night. Perhaps you could be as kind as to explain how you do it, and how you reconcile your actions that the UN Development report considers to be a systematic violation of the human rights of the world’s poor and future generations with your religious convictions.

In the midst of your unwavering support for the Heathrow, you should be aware that Gloucestershire Council’s Scrutiny committee has recently overwhelmingly rejected proposals to expand our local airport. It concluded that the business case was not robust and the impacts on climate change were not considered. I hope that you will follow the leadership that they have shown and come to similar conclusions about the other airport developments elsewhere in the country.

In my previous letter I asked 6 specific points. With the exception of the last point, you have not answered any of them. I would again appreciate a clear answer to my questions. To remind you, the points are:

Point 1

You have claimed that carbon trading can offset emissions, despite the IPCC warning that even a cut of 100% in emissions will potentially not be enough to prevent to catastrophic warming. In your response to me, you still totally ignore the IPCC report. You are still peddling the completely unfounded argument that the “increase in CO2 emissions from aviation is matched by reductions elsewhere.”

Can you at least confirm that you are prepared to totally ignore the recommendations of the IPCC report, which in the last edition states, “Early mitigation actions would avoid further locking in carbon intensive infrastructure and reduce climate change and associated adaptation needs.”

Point 2

I asked if you “Can confirm if you believe that aviation should be in your government’s climate change bill and confirm exactly what your department’s position is on this?”

You have said that aviation will go in to the climate change bill subject to international agreements being made in the first place. This is tantamount to saying that you will not accept it in the bill as no international agreements are even close to reaching an agreement that will result in the cuts in aviation that are needed to tackle climate change. On the contrary, the open-air agreement that the EU has recently passed is massively increasing the number of transatlantic flights. You are demonstrably siding with the position of the aviation industry.

Point 3

I pointed out that you are totally ignoring the recent peaceful protests and all the evidence on climate change as you side with the interests of the aviation industry over and above the concerns of a growing proportion of the country. I asked if you could confirm what conversation and agreements have been made with the Secretary of State and what the Secretary of State’s position is on using the police force as private army in support of the aviation industry’s interests?

It is vitally important that you realise the situation that you are creating is highly perilous and grossly irresponsible. In past, the greats of peaceful protest such as Gandi and Martin Luther King were able to achieve their objectives peacefully because it was in the long-term interests of their opponents to reach agreement. Such that Britain’s long-term interest was best served by relinquishing control of India and it was in the long-term interest of the whites in the Southern States of USA to give the blacks equal rights. The situation we face today is totally different. There is no common ground to be found between the aviation industry and the concerns of the environment. The evidence from the IPCC report is that we need to be actively decommissioning airports, not expanding them. However, the aviation industry needs to continue growing to service its debts and provide returns to its shareholders. The only outcome from your unwavering support for the aviation industry will be conflict and massive civil unrest, or massive environmental damage.

Lord Stevens’s appointment to the BAA board looks like an uncomfortable first step in the future battles that will be fought.

Point 4

In defence of runway 3, the government previous said the “UK now has the fastest growing railway in Europe.” I asked if you could confirm how much CO2 emissions will be generated from this growth and where the power will come from for this expansion.

You have not provided any answer to this point.

Point 5

All your statements so far on travel policies have all been concerned with providing enough supply to met any demand. I asked if you could confirm what you are doing to reduce demand.

Your response merely gives an ill-considered and pathetic comment saying that if we do not go ahead with the additional runway. “It may make us feel purer, but it will make us poorer too.” It seems that you are intent on totally ignoring all the evidence and will attempt to satisfy any emerging demand irrespective of the damage that will be inflicted on the planet. Have you considered how poor we will feel in the midst of failing crops and rising sea levels that will be brought on by climate change.

Point 6

I asked if you confirm the point of the consultation period.

I am pleased that you have made it clear that there was no point in the consultation period and that the objective is to simply to “present the evidence on which the Government now believes, that those conditions (for expansion) can be met.”

A copy of this letter will appear on my blog

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Lister

c.c: David Drew MP,
Sir Terry Leahy, Tesco

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tesco still continues to ignore the suffering caused by Biofuels

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your email and thank you for continuing to reply, despite Gary Anderson's previous comment that he would not send any more emails.

I am clearly dissapointed that Tesco seems to have moved so far back from the position that Gary previously presented; he said that "To help us and others understand the true impact of biofuels we have asked the independent Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) based at Manchester University to investigate" and went on to say "All of the research by the SCI will be made public and we would be happy to send you the findings on biofuels." To hear now that my legitimate prostests and those of others are simply going to be logged in the policy deperatment, when Ryan Fitzpatrick has already said there will be no policy change is an insult.

You may at least want to explain why your fuel is sold with a 5% blend of ethanol when the RTFO only mandates 2.5%.

This email will be published on my blog,

Kevin Lister

Tesco Customer Service wrote:

Thank you for your email.

I'm sorry that you are still unhappy with our stance on Bio Fuels.

The information given to you by Ryan Fitzpatrick is up to date and correct. I would like to reassure you that I have logged your additional comments. They will be passed to our Policy department.

Thank you for taking the time and trouble to share you further comments with us.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us at quoting TES4850407X.

Kind Regards
Scott MacKay
Tesco Customer Service

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tesco back tracks on bio fuels

Dear Gary,

Since your previous commitments to review the sustainability of bio fuels, I have had the following email forwarded onto me by Ryan Fitzpatrick which totally contradicts the claims that you made to me.

It now appears that your organisation is not prepared to do anything to reduce its dependence on biofuels irrespective of the results from the sustainability study that you claim you will be instigating.

As you may be aware Jean Ziegler from the United Nations has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity. This concern is backed up the the IMF and the last Environemental Select Committee report which concludes that biofuels are generally an expensive and ineffective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Given the contradictory emails and the growing evidence against their use, it is now time to confirm exactly what the position of your executive board is on this subject.

Kevin Lister

From: Tesco Customer Service Subject: TES4842214X

Re: Thank you for your email. In terms of LPG and "greeness", the UK Government has taken the stancethat Bio fuels are the way forward in terms of reducing green house gasemissions and as such have made it mandatory for all suppliers to sell fuel containing biofuels starting in 2008 (as opposed to LPG).

Therefore, we have no intention of abandoning biofuel.

Please accept my sincere apologies for any disappointment this answermay cause.

Thank you for taking the time to ask us about this.

If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact us at quoting TES4842214X.

Kind RegardsRyan Fitzpatrick

Tesco Customer Service----- Original Message -----

Date: 07 March 2008Subject:


I would like to start shopping again at Tesco.

Before I do, in view of the very extensive information, about the threat to world food supplies that the rush to biofuels is causing, could youplease confirm that you will now abandon you biofuel policy.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Tesco's final comment on biofuels - but not ours

Dear Gary,

Thankyou for your reply, however the dismissive tone of your response causes me real concern and forces me to question when ever or not you are taking the critical issues that we have highlighted seriously and if the review that you are highlighting has the full support of Tesco's board.

I have asked for nothing difficult from you and have only asked for things that you effectively claimed that you have.

You said that scientific evidence supported growing crops in the tropics. I asked for copies of the evidence. You provided none.

You said that Greenergy asks suppliers, who are all members of the RSPO, to sign a sustainability commitment as part of their contract which can be audited at any time. I asked for copies of the audit. You provided none.

You have now stated that there are some small amounts of Palm Oil in your biofuels. I asked you to quantify what this amount was. You provided nothing.

As you can see, your organisation has not won the trust of the sceptics. I have now simply asked that you confirm Terry Leahy supports the review that you have referred to and to give us timescales for when the review is to be carried out and what its remit will be. This is not a difficult question. You still have provided us with nothing.

You may consider your last email to be your final response on this matter. I can assure you we do not. Our food prices are rocketing and the tropics are being destroyed. We will not passively sit by and watch this situation develop. Protests have already been held at Tesco stores around the country. If you consider that your email is genuinely the last word on the matter, we will be left with no opportunity other than to exercise our rights and step up the protests.

Kevin Lister

Tesco Customer Service wrote:

Dear Mr Lister
Thank you for your further email.
Once again, I do thank you for your comments on the use of biofuels.
In my previous replies I have fully outlined our position on this issue, and have also assured you that your further comments have been noted and will be taken into account when our policies are reviewed.
As such, I regret that I have nothing further to add and consider this our final response.
Kind Regards
Gary Anderson
Customer Service Executive

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Tesco timescale for biofuel analysis??

Dear Gary,

Thank you for you reply. I am delighted that you find my feedback incredibly valuable and that my comments have been noted.

However, as you are probably aware by now, you have given me reason to be sceptical on many of your positions. You have said that you are going to commission Manchester University to look at biofuels and that you will make the findings of this publicly available.

Unfortunately you have given no timescale for this study and we would request that you also provide a copy of the remit for this study. It is clearly concerning that your organisation is paying £25million towards this group as this will compromise its independence.

As you are probably aware, many people have been following our debate on my blog. I have been contacted by several people to confirm exactly what your position is in Tesco's hierarchy and to confirm that your change of position does have the endorsement of your executive board.

Kevin Lister

Tesco Customer Service wrote:

Dear Mr Lister

Thank you for your further comments regarding the use of biofuels.

We fully appreciate feedback from our customers on any issue and find this feedback incredibly valuable. Please rest assured that your comments and thoughts have been noted, and that we are working hard to ensure that the right decisions are made for both the environment and our customers.

Thank you for your continuing interest in this matter.
Kind Regards
Gary Anderson
Customer Service Executive