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Biofuel – problem or solution?

Arial photo of land cleared for soya crops in the AmazonWe’ve all heard inspiring stories of people running their cars on chip fat – but why has biofuel become a controversial issue? The answer lies in the scale of the problem of transport fuel. Transport is one of the most problematic energy-consuming activities – there is not currently a viable carbon-neutral alternative to fossil fuel-driven vehicles.

The sheer magnitude of the global demand for fuel for transport means that, although transport fuels can be made from plants (creating biofuels or agrofuels), the areas of land required to produce what the world consumes is so immense that it creates a raft of other problems – and can result in greenhouse gas emissions rocketing through disruption of land use. In terms of social justice, agrofuels are a minefield. Cheap land in the global South has meant corporations have planted thousands of hectares of crop, often resulting in local people being evicted from their land, or seeing their access to water blocked as thirsty crops drain the water table. Pollution from fertilizers and herbicides is also a huge problem for health and the environment.


Biofuelwatch actively supports the campaign for an EU moratorium on agrofuels from large-scale monocultures. This is because agroenergy monocultures are linked to accelerated climate change, deforestation, the impoverishment and dispossession of local communities, bio-diversity losses, human rights abuses, water and soil degradation, loss of food sovereignty and food security. There website includes lots of ways you can get involved in the campaign.

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