Welcome Anonymous. To post a reply and to enjoy more features, please sign-in first.

Forum closed. No more comments will be accepted on this forum.
Open letter to the EC, statements from the South and other references. On behalf of Helena Paul ( [#114]
A collection of documents about the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts of biofuels in the global south for the Electronic forum on biofuels

To: The Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and citizens in Europe

Statements from the south against biofuels

(1) We want Food Sovereignty Not Biofuels, signed by Alert Against the Green Desert Network, Latin American Network against Monoculture Tree Plantations, Network for a GM free Latin America, OilWatch South America and World Rainforest Movement,
January 2007.

(2) Statement from SawitWatch.

(3) Statement to the UN Climate Convention negotiations in Nairobi, November 2006, demanding “..the Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change to immediately suspend all subsidies and other forms of inequitable support for the import and export of biofuels.”

Biofuel and Hunger: A False Solution for Africa by Nnimmo Bassey, environmental Rights Action/friends of the Earth Nigeria, 2006

Biocombustibles, Cultivos Energéticos y soberanía alimentaria en América Latina Encendiendo el debate sobre los biocombustibles by Elizabeth Bravo Red por una América Latina Libre de Transgénicos
Acción Ecológica

Agribusiness and Biofuels: an Explosive mixture – Impacts of monoculture expansion on bioenergy production in Brazil (Brazil 2006).

GRR Febrero 2007
De la OCDE a la producción de biodieseles de Soja Jorge E. Rulli y Stella Semino, Grupo de Reflexión Rural, Argentina, February 2007

By Mariam Mayet, African Centre for Biosafety, February 2007

This is about a project to plant 70,000 ha (GM?) canola in the Homelands of South Africa to be processed there and shipped to the EU. The fact that the project is in the care of the Department of Minerals and Energy indicates that the fuel element is more important that the agriculture element here.

April 2005: Report “Argentina: A Case Study on the Impact of Genetically Engineered Soya - How producing RR soya is destroying the food security and sovereignty of Argentina” EcoNexus (UK) and Grupo de Reflexion Rural (Argentina).
This report is about GM soya animal feed production in Argentina and is important because it shows the impacts of industrial monocultures. We can expect the same from new biofuel enterprises. Furthermore soya oil is being used as a biofuel. This report was published just as Argentina approved GM corn, which will have similar impacts, especially since the same herbicide is being used on both crops.
There are some details about the health and other human rights effects in the above and also in: Paraguay Sojero:

Polluting effects of Brazil's sugar-ethanol industry by Luiz Antonio Martinelli and Solange Filoso. Nature 445,364 (25 January 2007);

Kamerun: Biodiesel als Export- Schlager. Menschen und Wälder müssen Ölpalmen weichen,;

World Rainforest Movement Bulletin 112, November 2006.;

COLOMBIA: Biodiesel Push Blamed for Violations of Rights by Helda Martínez.

(For solar vs. biomass, see Pimentel et al, 2002.
ha-1 of actual standing land, NET of wind variability, see British Wind Energy Association,,
equivalent to 38 hectares delivering over 1 bn kWh per year, i.e. far better than solar. For biomass re. biofuels: A biomass crop can be chosen for best overall energy yield, rather than oil or ethanol yield, and energy is not expended extracting or processing the biofuel element. See evidence to UK Commons EFRA Committee inquiry,
Note also that tropical energy crops with the highest energy outputs take up productive land (so displacing natural carbon stores or farmland) and have other ecological downsides or costs e.g. fertilizer use, water.)

Food, biofuels could worsen water shortages-report.

EC Well To Wheels Study 2006 notes: "expansion of arable area onto other land, notably pasture and forest, would be likely to release large amounts of carbon from the soil, negating any benefit of the energy crops for decades to come." - p.76,
download at

A collection of reference material on the serious situation in INDONESIA with regard to peat fires

About the impact of rising prices and dwindling supplies of corn in Mexico:
A Culinary and Cultural Staple in Crisis, Washington Post, January 26, 2007:

In 2000, 6 percent of the U.S. corn crop was used for ethanol production. In 2006 the figure had risen to 20 percent, and the ethanol plants under construction would double capacity by 2010. The Washington Post: Blindness on Biofuels by Robert J. Samuelson
Wednesday, January 24, 2007; Page A23

“Higher prices for corn (which is fed to poultry, hogs and cattle) raise retail meat prices. Ironically, fuel subsidies may boost food costs” The Washington Post: Blindness on Biofuels by Robert J. Samuelson Wednesday, January 24, 2007; Page A23

USDA. Grain: World Markets and Trade. Circular Series FG 11-06. November 2006. FAO Food Outlook Nº. 2. Global Market Analysis. December 2006.,

Wetlands International presentation is good and has quite a bit about biodiversity as well as health impacts:

Policies and Practices in Indonesian Peatlands, Marcel Silvius, see:'06.pdf

Finally, 2 technical documents on impacts of biofuels and actual GHG values

This is a 2005 document on transport/energy (I imagine it is the same one cited
as reference by someone when drafting the Open Letter) from Joint Research
Centre/EU Commission where you can read. amongst other statements:

"The conversion of biomass into conventional bio-fuels in not
energy-efficient. The conversion of biomass into conventional biofuels is
not energy-efficient" (Slide 47)

"Conventional production of ethanol as practiced in Europe gives modest
fossil energy(GHG savings compared to gasoline" (Slide 42)

"We cannot increase arable area without a large release of soil carbon,
that negates the benefits of biofuels for decades" (Slide 92)

"5,75% bio-diesel target= 192% of 2005 EU oilseed production
EU already imports half of its total oilseeds requirements
With present trading agreements most oilseeeds would be imported..." (Slide 91)

Link to another interesting document.
"Cross-roads of Plant Earth's Life. Exploring means to meet the 2010
biodiversity target"  Study performed for the Global Biodiversity Outlook 2
(in the framework of CBD).

It reads:  "A scenario has been explored in which bio-energy plays an important role in reducing (CO2 equivalent) emissions. In this scenario major energy consumption savings are achieved and 23% of the remaining global energy supply is produced from bio-fuels in 2050. By 2050 the biodiversity gain (+1%) from less climate change and reduced nitrogen deposition due to less fossil-fuel burnings does not compensate for the natural habitat loss (-2%) for producing bio-fuels crops in about 10% of the global agricultural area. This leads to an additional biodiversity loss of around 1%."
(edited on 2007-03-12 14:53 UTC by Ms. Caroline Valero)
posted on 2007-03-12 14:49 UTC by Ms. Caroline Valero, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme