Biofuels cause land grabs in lower income countries, and push up food prices

13th February 2013
Press Release

Dublin seminar to hear Kenyan expert call for reversal of EU biofuels policy.

A seminar at the IIEA in Dublin today will hear from David Barisa of ActionAid Kenya. David works with Kenyan communities affected by disposition to make way for industrial biofuel production – and fending off such attempts.

David worked successfully with the Malindi community to stop an Italian company establishing an industrial biofuel plantation in Dakatcha woodland in Kenya’s coastal region.

Currently, David and his team are working with the Kenyan government to establish guidelines to stop future human rights abuses by biofuel companies. Also, David and his team are engaging with European decision-makers urging them to reverse the EU biofuels policies which lie behind land grabs and higher food prices.

Speaking at the seminar, David will explain why he is calling on the EU to change tack on biofuels: “Legislation affecting biofuels is too important to people and planet to be a political fudge. Ireland, holding the EU presidency, has a duty to lead in the reform of EU biofuels policy. In light of the evidence of land grabs, the EU must ban land-based crops being used for biofuels in Europe.

Further, it must divert the billions of wasted Euros currently going into first generation biofuels towards genuinely sustainable alternatives that do not take land from or push up food prices for people already living in poverty and hunger.”

The seminar will also hear from Oxfam International’s biofuels expert Marc-Olivier Herman who will show how the diversion of food crops to biofuel use causes spikes in global food prices, with devastating impacts for the poor in developing countries, as well as the way biofuel production is causing deforestation in developing countries.

Marc will also note the high number of biofuels that, over their production cycle, result in greater emissions than the use of diesel or petrol refined from typical crude oil sources.

The Seminar will be at 2.45pm at IIEA, 8 Nth. Great George’s St.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications – Tel: 087 2411995

James Nix, Operations Director, An Taisce – Tel: 086 8394129

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes:

To attend the event in a media capacity, please contact Gina Hanrahan: gina.hanrahan@iiea.com / 01 87 46 756. For further details on the speakers and their contributions please contact: David Healy, Policy & Advocacy Officer at Oxfam Ireland, Mobile : +353 87 6178852 http://www.iiea.com/events/biofuels-and-climate-the-indirect-land-use-change-challenge The seminar is being organised in conjunction with ActionAid, Oxfam, Trocaire, and Transport and Environment.