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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

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