The bioeconomy is promoted as a response to current global social and environmental crises, with its promise of replacing fossil fuels with ‘renewable’ biological resources. How does it play out on the ground? Who wins and who loses? And what are the alternatives?
Ben McKay, Sérgio Sauer, Ben Richardson, Roman Herre
15 September 2014
Flex crops, spread over greater expanses of land, are increasingly interlinked through international exchange in food, feed and fuel. Brazilian exports of sugarcane ethanol to the US are in part influenced by the domestic US production of maize ethanol, which in turn is shaped by the price of feed and the soybean supply.
David Fig, Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, Les Levidow, Mireille Hönicke, Maria Luisa Mendonça
27 July 2010
EU biofuels policy is based on the assumption that it will lead to greenhouse gas savings, energy security and rural development, however in-depth research in Germany, Brazil and Mozambique reveals fundamental contradictions between EU policy assumptions and practices in the real world.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Les Levidow, S.M.Oreszczyn et al.
23 February 2011
The Europe 2020 strategy's promotion of resource-efficient technologies and market incentives as the solution for sustainable agriculture is contradicted by experience where techno-fixes and market pressures have increased overall demand on resources.
Flex trees seem to offer timely opportunities for socio-environmentally sustainable solutions, but also present dangers, particularly if such changes accelerate the concentration of land and plantation-based development, whereby forests compete with and may replace food production.
Jennifer Franco, Lucia Goldfarb, David Fig, Luisa Mendonca, Les Levidow, Mireille Hoenicke
06 April 2010
In recent years, there has been renewed interest in developing agrofuels on a large scale as an alternative to fossil fuel. EU biofuels policy, in particular, assumes that the environmental impacts associated with agrofuels production will be largely beneficial. This study questions such optimistic assumptions.
The possible impact of agrofuels on the human right to adequate food for the most oppressed and marginalised social groups must be considered prior to applying policies and programmes that encourage the production, investment and trade of agrofuels.
This introduction to Land Grabbing and agrarian political economy looks at various issues in the debate, the different theoretical perspectives, as well as the relations between state, capital and society, and the politics of change, resistance and mobilisation for alternatives.
Why despite ten years of accumulating evidence on the social and environmental cost of agrofuels, does the European Commission persist with its failed policies? An analysis of the EU's bioeconomy vision, how it is fuelling land grabs in Africa, the agrofuels lobby that drives policy, and the alternative visions for energy that are being ignored.
The expansion of tree plantations and non-food crops is frequently left out of analysis on land grabbing, but is a crucial part of the picture. This paper provides an up-to-date review of tree plantations worldwide and summarises the latest research and data on their impact.
This document focuses on particular types of ‘biofuel’ which we prefer to call agrofuel because of the intensive, industrial way it is produced, generally as monocultures, often covering thousands of hectares, most often in the global South.
Carlos Vinicius Xavier, Fabio T. Pitta, Maria Luisa Mendonça
18 November 2011
In this publication, data and recent analyses will be presented on the expansion of sugar cane monoculture for ethanol production in Brazil, and in particular on the monopolisation in the sector due to mergers and the takeover of production plants by foreign companies
Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Juan Liu, Tania Salerno, Yunan Xu
19 May 2015
The ‘how’ and ‘why’ of oil palm flexing is heavily influenced by a synthesis of forces and relations within and around the oil palm value web. These dynamics impact the way flexing among oil palm’s different uses is influenced and/or carried out by various powerful actors within the state, the private sector, and civil society.
The green potential of agrofuels has been wasted by businesses that put profits above environmental protection, which has led to an absurd situation where an energy source that should be sustainable actually increases human and ecological damage.
The Procana Bioethanol project in Mozambique is a clear example of how agrofuel investments contribute rather than mitigate climate change, and are often accompanied by dispossession and impoverishment caused by landgrabbing.