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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: International | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense
False & Destructive "Solutions" to Global Warming: Groups Condemn Large-Scale Biofuels
Nairobi, Kenya-The Gaia Foundation, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project, Large Scale Biofuels Action Group, the STOP GE Trees Campaign and World Rainforest Movement held a press conference today during the 12th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
PRESS RELEASE **For Immediate Release** 16 November 2006
False & Destructive "Solutions" to Global Warming:
Groups Condemn Large-Scale Biofuels, Genetically Engineered Trees & Crops,
Monoculture Tree Plantations
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Nairobi, Kenya
UNFCCC: Nairobi, Kenya-The Gaia Foundation, Global Forest Coalition, Global Justice Ecology Project, Large Scale Biofuels Action Group, the STOP GE Trees Campaign and World Rainforest Movement held a press conference today during the 12th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The event addressed the socially and environmentally devastating impacts of large-scale biofuel production, genetically engineered trees and crops, and carbon sink plantations, and explained why these schemes will not solve climate change.
The promotion of large-scale biofuel production as an alternative to fossil fuels, and of tree plantations to store carbon is becoming very popular at this year's UNFCCC. Genetically engineered (GE) [also called transgenic or genetically modified] crops and trees have also been promoted as a way to implement these co-called "solutions" to climate change.
"Not only will large-scale use of biofuels and genetic engineering technology not help to alleviate climate change, they may in fact exacerbate the problems of global warming while also causing environmental degradation, social inequality and poverty, particularly in developing countries," stated Teresa Anderson of the London-based Gaia Foundation.
Using important agricultural land and water to grow biofuels instead of food for domestic consumption will have a detrimental effect on food security, especially in poor countries. In 2006, an increase in the use of grain worldwide for conversion to biofuels led to a 60% increase in global grain prices. "Soya plantations in Latin America and palm oil plantations in Indonesia, being developed for biofuels, are driving deforestation and pushing hundreds of thousands of farmers and indigenous peoples off of their lands," stated Miguel Lovera of Global Forest Coalition. "Once again the developing countries of the South are being asked to pay the price for the unsustainable lifestyle of the North."
In addition to their social and environmental impacts, the carbon-saving benefits of biofuel plantations are also being challenged. Biofuel studies, published in the U.S., found the fossil fuel energy required to produce and process biofuel crops like soya and maize is almost as much, or in some cases more than, the energy contained in the fuel produced.
Activists are also condemning tree plantations used to store carbon: "This Convention needs to move away from the complicated and fraudulent carbon trading schemes" stated Ana Filippini of Uruguay-based World Rainforest Movement "It should begin to address seriously the issues of how to phase out fossil fuels and how to stop deforestation".
While conventional monoculture tree plantations already have enormous documented social and ecological impacts, industry is now considering the use of genetically engineered trees in these plantations-which would greatly exacerbate these devastating impacts and also lead to new, unprecedented and unpredictable impacts.
Genetically engineered trees were approved for use in carbon sinks by the UNFCCC in 2003, despite a complete lack of research on the potential risks of these trees which may be engineered to kill insects, grow faster, be more easily pulped or be resistant to toxic herbicides.
"The release of GE trees in huge plantations to store carbon must be banned," stated Anne Petermann of Global Justice Ecology Project. "The escape of pollen or seeds from GE trees into native forests would cause severe and totally unpredictable ecological impacts that could impact the ability of forests to store carbon, worsening global warming". Andrew Boswell of the Large Scale Biofuels Action Group added " In the light of the precautionary decision on GE Trees made by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in March 2006, we urge the countries of the South to stay resolutely cautious about adopting these technologies that are not in their control, nor likely to be in their best interests."
In response to these ill-conceived schemes, organizations, indigenous peoples and others around the world have joined together to demand an end to false climate change "solutions" that include industrial tree plantations, genetically engineered crops or trees or large-scale and unsustainable production of biofuels.
Co-Director/Global Justice Ecology Project
Coordinator/STOP GE Trees Campaign
P.O. Box 412
Hinesburg, VT 05461 U.S.