Planet Diversity World Congress on the Future of Food and Agriculture

Crops for Fuels?

The impact of agro-fuels and energy commodification of agriculture on hunger and diversity

Organiser: Helena Paul, Eco-Nexus, UK and Stephan Albrecht, Federation of German Scientists

Adrian Bebb, Friend of the Earth, Europe
Hartmut Grassl, IPCC member, University of Hamburg, Germany
Eric Holt-Giminez, Food First, USA
Camila Moreno, Terra de Direitos Brazil
Bakari Nyari, Regional Advisory and Information Network Systems (RAINS) and African Biodiversity Network, Ghana
Marianne Klute, Watch Indonesia

The rush for agrofuels is only just beginning, but it is already contributing to severe impacts around the planet. Food prices are rising sharply, forest destruction rates are increasing. Land is being taken from local people, often violently, and many are being driven away, frequently to urban slums. Agrofuels are also leading to the enclosure and destruction of common lands that include grazing and  forest areas on which local communities depend for food, medicine,  fuel and other materials.  Further expansion of monoculture production for agrofuels would cause serious harm to biodiversity, climate and biodiverse agricultural systems.

Agrofuels are therefore one of the hottest issues with respect to the future of agriculture as well as the most severe new threat to biodiversity.
Yet governments and corporations around the world are still pushing ahead because agrofuels seem to promise a solution to the energy crisis that involves no threat to the industrialised way of life. Subsidies, targets and global speculation have made agro-fuels a darling of international companies.

Civil society organizations are increasing pressure for a halt to this runaway development, with calls for moratoria on agrofuel monocultures in the EU, Africa and the US, and for food and energy sovereignty in Latin America.

This workshop will include speakers from the global south: Asia, Africa and the Americas, and from major consumer regions including the EU and the US.  There will also be a scientific analysis to show that because plants and trees use only a small proportion of the sun’s light, they can never be a major source of renewable energy. Case studies and commentaries from different regions, together with updates on campaigns and information about government positions will be presented to summarise the state of knowledge and debate.

There will then be the opportunity to discuss ways and means of global networking and co-operation on this issue. A particular priority is to ensure that the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP9 addresses the issue. A number of governments would prefer to postpone this discussion and it is vital to ensure that this does not happen.

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Last Contributions

Background Papers and further reading

Agrofuels - Towards a reality check in nine key areas

Agrofuels in Africa

Agrofuels in Ghana

A one page viewpoint
Rod Harbinson, head of the Environment Programme at Panos, London

Corn can't save us by David Pimentel in Common Dreams.
 "The science is clear: The use of corn and other biofuels to solve our energy problem is an ethically, economically and environmentally unworkable sham."

Agrofuels in Brazil, by Rubens Onofre Nodari, Full Professor at Federal University of Santa Catarina, Previously, Manager of Genetic Resources – Ministry of the Environment



Crops for Fuels?Des récoltes pour du carburant?Futterpflanzen als Brennstoff?Cultivos para Combustible?

Local Organising Committee