Friday, June 29, 2007

Bio-fuel is an eco-disaster

How was this not completely predictable?

The charity Grain says there has been a stampede towards biofuels - an alcohol-based fuel made from crops and trees planted on a large scale - as a 'greener' alternative to fossil fuels.

But it claims that some biofuels are as damaging as traditional fuels and there is hardly any saving on carbon emissions.

For its hard-hitting report Grain claims it has gathered material from around the world and concluded that the rush to biofuels is causing enormous environmental and social damage, "The numbers involved are mind-boggling. The Indian government is talking of planting 14 million hectares of land with jatropha.

"The Inter-American Development Bank says that Brazil has 120 million hectares that could be cultivated with agrofuel crops; and an agrofuel lobby is speaking of 379 million hectares being available in 15 African countries. We are talking about expropriation on an unprecedented scale," the report states.

Grain claims even the term biofuel is wrong and misleading and should instead be called agrofuel in that it is being taken over by big business and exploited as another commodity.

In Latin America, Asia and Africa, the report claims, the push for agrofuels is leading to the reintroduction of the old colonial plantation system at the expense of indigenous farming systems and local communities.

When it becomes commercially viable to convert cellulose to ethanol (or other fuel chemicals) directly, or when such sustainable crops as peach palm become the basis for biofuels, then they'll make sense as a technology for converting sunlight into usable energy for transportation.

1 comment:

Oscar said...

Hi, We've just published another report that adds further evidence to the excellent Grain one - see