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Global Agrofuels A study by the Transnational Institute (TNI) with a contribution by the Open University Jennifer Franco, Les Levidow,

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Presentation on theme: "Global Agrofuels A study by the Transnational Institute (TNI) with a contribution by the Open University Jennifer Franco, Les Levidow,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Global Agrofuels A study by the Transnational Institute (TNI) with a contribution by the Open University Jennifer Franco, Les Levidow, Lucía Goldfarb, David Fig, Mireille Hönicke and Maria Luisa Mendonça 8 June 2010 Brussels workshop on What Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture?

2 EU policy drivers Late 1990s: energy in/security drives biofuels By 2007, governments increasingly promoting biofuels as ´greener, renewable sources to replace fossil fuels EU biofuels policy driven by partnership of government & agribusiness extending industrial model from commodity crops to energy uses Agrofuels express criticism of intensive/industrial way in which they are produced, esp. as large-scale monocultures in the global South

3 Creating markets Target in Renewable Energy Directive: By 2020, 20% of all energy used in the EU -- and 10% of each Member States transport fuel -- must come from renewable sources, which is widely expected to mean mainly biofuels. EU policy creates an agrofuels market and therefore commercial incentives for agri-industrial development in the EU and in the global south. Fulfilling EU targets depend on such development.

4 EU policy assumptions Various EC documents express optimistic assumptions about benefits of biofuel expansion from EU targets. Likewise assumptions about how to address sustainability problems. Benefits for Environmental protection, especially GHG savings Energy security via substitution for oil imports Rural development in EU and global South Such assumptions can be tested via comparison with practices and effects of biofuel expansion – as in our study.

5 Environmental protection Germany: Having expanded rapeseed production to the maximum by 2007, it has become more dependent on imports, thus generating emissions elsewhere – initially in Eastern Europe, and later in South East Asia (palm oil). Brazil: Comparative efficiency gains from ethanol are undermined by destroying carbon sinks in plantations in Cerrado savannah and Amazon rainforest. Indirect impacts are not counted by EU sustainability criteria Mozambique: GHG savings from ethanol are undermined by land clearances and infrastructure for de novo installations

6 Energy security EU: Transport fuel usage is expected to increase, so agrofuels will supplement fossil fuels and will be increasingly imported, thus limiting benefits for energy security. Germany: Meeting the target will require more imports, so diversifies sources but may not enhance energy independence Mozambique: Most energy production is aimed at export, so agrofuels will play a very small role in import substitution

7 Rural development General: Investments do not go to marginal or degraded land, but rather use high-quality land, water sources and infrastructure, thus damaging natural resources and local agriculture Brazil: Plantations dominate the market. Small-scale farmers have had a marginal role, e.g. soya for biodiesel. New employment degrades labour conditions quasi-slave labour). Mechanization reduces employment without improving its conditions. Mozambique: Conflicts with local residents over water supplies for arable land, even for non-food crops (jatropha)

8 Assumptions about un/sustainability Sustainability problems, esp. in global South: competition for land use (fuel versus food or feed), land grabs, GHG emissions from changes in land use (especially indirect changes), environmental pollution from intensive monoculture, etc. EU policy documents explain these problems along two lines, each with a remedy: Inadequate management: to be addressed by EC development policy and self-governance in global South, e.g. voluntary schemes (corporate social responsibility model) Yet EC development agencies lack resources and powers to limit damage. And self-governance readily accommodates agrofuels, e.g. Brazil softening its law on environmental crimes.

9 Inefficient use of resources : to be addressed through eco-efficient technological innovation. Assumption that the higher the productivity, the less it will compete for land with food, until 2nd-generation biofuels are commercially available As our study shows, sustainability problems have causes in political-economic drivers. More efficient methods per se would not counteract monoculture expansion or subordination of local land use to global markets, which are the main drivers of harm. Greater efficiency would provide financial incentives for extending agro-industrial systems to more land, especially in global South. Smart-green techno-fix provides a false solution, aimed at the wrong problems – e.g. how to sustain Europes growing consumption of transport fuel, and how to maximise value- added from global commodities.

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