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CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Agro/Biofuels - a climate disaster in the making Biofuelwatch working with.

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Presentation on theme: "CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Agro/Biofuels - a climate disaster in the making Biofuelwatch working with."— Presentation transcript:

1 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Agro/Biofuels - a climate disaster in the making Biofuelwatch working with Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project, Grupo de Reflexion Rural (Argentina), FERN, Watch Indonesia, Rettet den Regenwald e.V., Econexus, Munlochy Vigil, and Noah (Friends of the Earth Denmark), Corporate Europe Observatory, and Gaia Foundation and World Rainforest Movement introduced by Dr Andrew Boswell, biofuelwatch and UK Green Party councillor

2 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Summary US / EU Policy – WHY? Voices from the South –Food, social, land disruption –Neo-colonial agenda Do Agrofuels save or create more emissions? 2 nd generation Food security The climate context

3 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Exponential Growth

4 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making US / EU Policy – going off the graph EU – 10% by 2020 (1% now) US – 20% by 2020 (4% now)

5 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Mega-scale Agrofuel drivers Government and corporate subsidy and promotion Fits “Business as usual” policies and paradigms –Year-on-year economic growth –Avoid unpopular “demand reduction” politics Short term “energy security” fix –Less pressure on Oil hotspots – Mid-East/Iraq –Stabilising Oil price? –EU / US Oil independence New global mega-industry –agribusiness, biotech, and chemical sectors –refining, tankage and shipping sectors –commodity markets (eg Palm Oil, sugar)

6 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Massive land-use change in global South, and crop commodity traffic

7 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Step change in agriculture and global biosphere use Limited (or No) environmental and scientific scrutiny

8 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Hundreds of NGOs in Latin America, Asia and Africa have spoken out against large-scale biofuel monocultures.

9 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making from a declaration by Latin American NGOs “We want food sovereignty, not biofuels…While Europeans maintain their lifestyle based on automobile culture, the population of Southern countries will have less and less land for food crops and will loose its food sovereignty…We are therefore appealing to the governments and people of the European Union countries to seek solutions that do not worsen the already dramatic social and environmental situation of the peoples of Latin America, Asia and Africa. “

10 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Sawit Watch, Indonesian NGO “Palm oil for biofuels increases social conflicts and undermines land reform in Indonesia…It is unavoidable that, as a consequence of Europe's biofuels policy, the land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities will be relinquished further, and that food security will be undermined and lands for agricultural purposes and subsistence livelihoods will diminish.”

11 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria “It is a push by industry to make another scramble for Africa, grab the land and continue with business as usual. The industrial bio-energy push to do increased bio-energy demand will be nothing other than an effort at extending the frontiers of neo-colonialism in its continued march on the back of the fabled market forces”

12 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Landless Movement of Brazil (MST) “We can't call this a ‘bio-fuels program’. We certainly can't call it a ‘bio-diesel program’. Such phrases use the prefix ‘bio-‘ to subtly imply that the energy in question comes from ‘life’ in general. This is illegitimate and manipulative. We need to find a term in every language that describes the situation more accurately, a term like agro-fuel. This term refers specifically to energy created from plant products grown through agriculture.”

13 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Biofuel Refugees U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recently highlighted biofuels 5 million people at risk in West Kalimantan, Indonesia 60 million worldwide Pushed off land, culture destroyed, refugees go to big city slums 'The speed with which this is happening we don't really realize in our part of the world because the technology we have today and the economic resources that are at stake are so big, it happens overnight.‘ Ida Nicolaisen, UNPFII

14 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Emission trickery Exporting emissions from Northern transport to Southern agriculture and landuse NB: Soil + Peat not included

15 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Do Agrofuels save emissions? What is the whole life-cycle? Built on Fossil Fuels –Intensive agriculture – fossil fuel based – fertilisers, farm equipment, Nitrous oxide emissions (300* CO2), soil carbon emissions –Feedstock transport, shipping –Refining (coal, gas fired plants!) ; process chemicals Lifecycle studies don’t scale up

16 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Savings in isolation? Corn Ethanol – 13% savings – Berkeley 2006 study –Patzek – actually 50%-100% more CO2 for ethanol than for fossil fuels Deforestation biodiesel –Peat drainage – long term timebomb –2-8 times as much CO2 biodiesel cf fossil

17 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Peat Destruction 1 Drainage: the dry peat - oxidises and emits carbon dioxide. Very rapidly in the tropics, and is often accelerated by wildfires. Peat fires in South-east Asia can burn millions of hectares in one dry season and can last for weeks, sometimes even months, burning thick layers of peat and covering the region in thick smoke. Of the 21 million hectares of peatland in Indonesia 9 million hectares are drained and are decomposing or even burning.

18 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Peat Destruction 2

19 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Any Savings are diluted at system level THE DILUTION FACTOR - 1% biofuels today –Assume 10% C emissions savings litre for litre –Total saving = 0.1% saving globally Most optimistic 2020 : 5% BFs – 0.5% savings Same savings can be made by: –Each driver driving 0.5% less (ie 50 miles for UK driver) –Each driver goes 2 mph slower –Tyres inflated properly >20% transport sector savings can be achieved in years –Sustainable transport, modal shift, social planning - work-home relocation etc

20 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making What about second generation? Ligno-cellulosic Use stalks and other plant parts –Plus massive GM tech Cf: First generation – simple chemistry

21 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Extra Energy Steps (1)

22 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Extra Energy Steps (2) Break down lignin 500,000,000 years evolution Biological splitting atom? Plants protective structure

23 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Full spectrum GM GM is being developed 1.For plants –Weakened lignin (floppy trees) 2.Processing –GM enzymes, yeasts, fungi 3.Synthetic Biology Biohazards on unprecedented level

24 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making The deep cuts we really need UK emissions ---- Government target ____ Friends of the Earth Big Ask 3% annually ____ George Monbiot near linear >4% (90% by 2030) ____ George Monbiot 7% front-loaded (90% by 2030) ____ George Monbiot 10% front-loaded (90% by 2030) Govt. target : 60% reduction 2010 Govt. target : 20% reduction The GAP which must be closed

25 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making 2 nd generation can’t deliver deep cuts to transport emissions. Even if it could, they would not be soon enough

26 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making Food security The US case Direct food / fuel competition World grain reserves lowest in 30 years - 14mt used to fuel US cars in % rise in grain price in Speculators entering market Jan 2007 Mexican food protests –Diversion of US corn to ethanol Global South Cash crops /Exports vs. local food supply

27 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making The Climate Context 1 st generation biofuels –Very little climate benefit –Often a climate disaster Eg Indonesian peat lands Deforestation tropics Yet being delivered massively before 2 nd generation biofuels –15-20 years to develop –BUT emissions must be cut now –Biohazards (even now in R&D) –Deforestation boreal and temporate Transport sector DEMAND REDUCTION

28 CCC conference 13 th May 2007 Agro/Biofuels – a Climate Disaster in the Making What you can do Show solidarity with communities in the global South Sign up to the biofuelwatch yahoo group - send a blank to ALERTS and RESOURCES –UK government consultation on RTFO –sign a petition to Tony Blair –write to Tesco –Uganda’s Mabira rainforest - sugar cane plantations us at if you would like to get more involved in the campaign.


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