The Green Party of Canada says it supports the use of biofuels as the nation switches to a zero-carbon economy, but only if it's made from plant waste, not food.
In a news release ahead of the Oct. 21 federal election, the party says moving to electric and other sources of power will take time, and biofuels will be needed to power machines needed by heavy industries.
“A Green government will promote the development of local, small scale bio-diesel production, primarily relying on used vegetable fat from restaurants across Canada with wood and agricultural waste,” the release said. “Fuel switching to bio-diesel will be required for agricultural, fishing and forestry equipment.”
Read the full release below:
No food-based biofuels in Canada’s transition to zero-carbon economy: Green Party
October 2, 2019
OTTAWA — The Green Party’s Mission: Possible climate action plan calls for big changes in the way Canadians work and travel, as the national economy shifts rapidly from fossil fuels to renewable energy to meet the goal of zero emissions by 2050.
Cars, buses and trains will be powered by electricity and internal combustion engines will be banned by 2030. However, while researchers focus on developing better storage devices and new and more robust electric motors, some heavy-duty industrial machinery – fishing, mining and forestry equipment, for example – will need to rely on biofuels.
The Green Party supports the creation of biofuels using waste plant matter from forests and agriculture — but not from food that could otherwise feed Canadians. A Green government will promote the development of local, small scale bio-diesel production, primarily relying on used vegetable fat from restaurants across Canada with wood and agricultural waste. Fuel switching to bio-diesel will be required for agricultural, fishing and forestry equipment.
“Food should power people, not vehicles,” said Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. “Too many families face difficulty putting food on the table. Producing biofuels from waste is efficient and relatively clean, but producing them from crops that could feed Canadians is immoral.”
Between 2015-16, at least one in six children lived in a home that struggled to provide food.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the cleanest ethanol made from plants can produce 90 per cent global fewer warming emissions than gasoline. Around 40 per cent of the corn grown in the United States goes towards creating ethanol for fuel.
While biofuels can help shift Canada to green energy, feeding Canadians is the priority, May said. “The Green Party always puts people first. To create and operate new, renewable industries, we will rely on some heavy equipment that, for the moment, relies on liquid fuel and combustion. We can use biofuel as a less environmentally harmful alternative, but we cannot grow crops for fuel while Canadians go hungry.”