Monday, January 9, 2012

CLIMATE CHANGE: Biofuels Are Not the Solution - IPS

CLIMATE CHANGE: Biofuels Are Not the Solution - IPS

"The term "biofuels" is misleading. These plant-based fuels are better described as "agrofuels", for they are far from green.

"Those who still argue that agrofuels emit much less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels mostly ignore the fact that emissions are released during production, as a result of land-use change, fertiliser application and processing.

"Still, many governments, international financial institutions such as the World Bank, and multinational agribusiness, oil and transport companies are promoting agrofuels as a solution to world energy needs.

"Shifting from fossil fuels to agrofuels is not increasing the poor's access to energy but aggravating existing problems such as land grabs, and creating particular challenges to food supplies due to a shift from food cropping to fuel cropping.

"Crucially, agrofuels can divert resources from clean, renewable energies like wind and solar.

"Large-scale cultivation of agrofuels, unlike small-scale, locally produced and owned agrofuel activities, is usually accompanied by problematic activities such as intensive use of water, chemicals, fertilisers and pesticides.

"These often result in polluting, depleting and degrading available water resources, which can trigger famines.

"Analysts have shown that there is not enough agricultural land on earth to grow agrofuel crops to meet the huge energy needs driven by our current and unsustainable ways of living."

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