The bio-fuels industry’s growth would reach $ 1 trillion in the future and it has brought agriculture into the spotlight, but according to the Food Secure Canada (FSC) officials, this progress would not reduce climate change impacts or produce food for the people.
On November 26, 2010, Earth Grab, a community Forum, is being conducted by FSC to talk about the growth of biomass needed for bio-fuels and their effect on climate change and food security. This forum would also offer alternate solutions and ideas to biomass.
Jim Thomas, from the ETC Group, stated that Canada is being transformed from a fossil fuel economy to a bio-economy, where trees, plants and forests are the new oil fields, which are available over the ground and hence are easy to seize and capture.
The forum is the first event of the FSC National Conference, which was conducted from November 26th to November 28th in the University of Montreal. Thomas and other leaders from Brazil, Haiti and Mali have presented during the Earth Grab Forum.
The ETC Group , which is a Canadian International Research Institute in Ottawa, released a report titled ‘The New Biomass’ earlier in this month, wherein the process of creating a bio-economy by converting biomass into fuels and how global energy, agribusiness, forestry, biotech and chemical companies are contributing to this process are detailed. As per the report the creation of bio-economy has lead to a ‘global grab’ of lands, plants, traditional cultures and ecosystems. According to Thomas, this was threatening to consume the plant life and forests and also the southern people’s resources, knowledge and livelihoods.
Camila Moreno from the Friends of the Earth commented that Brazil aims at becoming a leader in the bio-fuel industry with Brazilian companies seizing land inside and outside the country. Moreno states that a fossil fuel addiction is being replaced by a bio-energy addiction, wherein the impacts on climate change would be even more severe. Instead targets for reduction of emissions have to be set up to reduce the carbon footprint.
The forum also featured the effort of bio-fuels on food prices. According to Susan Walsh, USC Canada’s Executive Director, the increased production of corn ethanol has caused a steep increase in food prices. She feels that another global food crisis is imminent as in 2008. However the ethanol industry does not subscribe to the view that rising cost of food prices is due to the production of corn ethanol. Walsh further commented that the small farmer producing 70% of the food in the world would be severely affected by the resource and land seizure.