The Biofuel Myth

DVD 44’ min.

Since the European Union has been subsidizing the cultivation of crops for biofuel production, millions of people in Indonesia have seen their livelihoods diminished and are suffering from severe food shortages. Din Perulak, a member of the Orang Rimba tribe, is one of many indiginous people whose life has changed completely due to the EU’s policies. Since 2003, Brussels has been ordering oil companies to mix plant oils into diesel fuel. The result in Indonesia is that ancient rain forests are having to make way for palm oil plantations to satisfy the new demand from Europe and elsewhere.
Tribes like the Orang Rimba, who have lived from the rain forest for centuries, can no longer find the food they need to survive.
Not only indiginous people but millions of ordinary Indonesians are losing out, as more and more farmland is being used for palm oil plantations. The winners are in Europe, where the automobile industry continues to build cars that run on conventional fuel which the EU helps greenwash with a policy that is in fact proving disastrous for man and the environment.
Only a few politicians are having second thoughts. The inventors of the biofuel policy, the European Green party, no longer support biofuels. But it’s too late: Europe has already spent more than 10 billion euros on biofuel subsidies which have not helped reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but instead triggered a food crisis in the developing world.
Still, the biofuel market continues to grow. Now a new plant is being hailed a wonderplant. It is called Jatropha. It is poisonous for humans and animals, but it is grown on farmland in India.
The use of Jatropha oil in our cars is creating yet more unhealthy competition, taking away valuable farmland and creating a shortage of milk and dairy products in India. Investigative filmmaker Inge Altemeier has been documenting the winners and the losers of European biofuel policy since 2001. She tells the story of how globalisation is causing hunger in the developing world and how “green” ideas and policies are serving only European interests.