BF CCC conf 2

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Published on November 23, 2007

Author: Kestrel

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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:  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 Summary:  Summary US / EU Policy – WHY? Voices from the South Food, social, land disruption Neo-colonial agenda Do Agrofuels save or create more emissions? 2nd generation Food security The climate context Slide3:  Exponential Growth US / EU Policy – going off the graph:  US / EU Policy – going off the graph EU – 10% by 2020 (1% now) 2010 2020 US – 20% by 2020 (4% now) Mega-scale Agrofuel drivers:  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) Massive land-use change in global South, and crop commodity traffic:  Massive land-use change in global South, and crop commodity traffic Slide7:  Step change in agriculture and global biosphere use Limited (or No) environmental and scientific scrutiny Slide8:  Hundreds of NGOs in Latin America, Asia and Africa have spoken out against large-scale biofuel monocultures. from a declaration by Latin American NGOs :  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.  “ Sawit Watch, Indonesian NGO:  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.” Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria :  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” Landless Movement of Brazil (MST) :  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.” Biofuel Refugees:  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 Emission trickery:  Emission trickery Exporting emissions from Northern transport to Southern agriculture and landuse NB: Soil + Peat not included Do Agrofuels save emissions?:  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 Savings in isolation?:  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 Peat Destruction 1:  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. Peat Destruction 2:  Peat Destruction 2 Any Savings are diluted at system level:  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 10-20 years Sustainable transport, modal shift, social planning - work-home relocation etc What about second generation?:  What about second generation? Ligno-cellulosic Use stalks and other plant parts Plus massive GM tech Cf: First generation – simple chemistry Extra Energy Steps (1):  Extra Energy Steps (1) Extra Energy Steps (2):  Extra Energy Steps (2) Break down lignin 500,000,000 years evolution Biological splitting atom? Plants protective structure Full spectrum GM:  Full spectrum GM GM is being developed For plants Weakened lignin (floppy trees) Processing GM enzymes, yeasts, fungi Synthetic Biology Biohazards on unprecedented level The deep cuts we really need:  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) 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 1990 2000 2010 2020 2050 Govt. target : 60% reduction 2010 Govt. target : 20% reduction The GAP which must be closed Slide25:  2nd generation can’t deliver deep cuts to transport emissions. Even if it could, they would not be soon enough Food security:  Food security The US case Direct food / fuel competition World grain reserves lowest in 30 years - 14mt used to fuel US cars in 2006. 60% rise in grain price in 2006 - Speculators entering market Jan 2007 Mexican food protests Diversion of US corn to ethanol Global South Cash crops /Exports vs. local food supply The Climate Context:  The Climate Context 1st generation biofuels Very little climate benefit Often a climate disaster Eg Indonesian peat lands Deforestation tropics Yet being delivered massively before 2nd 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 What you can do:  What you can do Show solidarity with communities in the global South Sign up to the biofuelwatch yahoo group - send a blank email to biofuelwatch-subscribe@yahoogroups.com www.biofuelwatch.org.uk ALERTS and RESOURCES UK government consultation on RTFO sign a petition to Tony Blair write to Tesco Uganda’s Mabira rainforest - sugar cane plantations Email us at info@biofuelwatch.org.uk if you would like to get more involved in the campaign.

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