The real cost of agrofuels: food, forest and the climate

Agrofuels, which rely on large scale industrial monocultures, are a cause of global warming,
not part of a solution. Promoted as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they are in
fact resulting in greater emissions because they promote deforestation and the destruction of
other ecosystems which play a vital role in regulating the climate, including peat lands,
displace other possible uses of land, and lead to an increase in the use of nitrogen fertilizers.
The hasty promotion of agrofuels has already caused an expansion of large scale monoculture
plantations of soy, oil palm, jatropha, sugar cane, maize, cassava and other “fuel crops”,
which are being planted over very large areas. Huge financial investments are being made,
and policy mechanisms introduced. The pace of these developments has accelerated
dramatically, especially over the past two years, causing food prices to skyrocket, driving
deforestation, impinging on biodiversity protection, threatening the rights and livelihoods of
Indigenous Peoples, stressing freshwater and soil resources, and increasing the use of toxic
pesticides, herbicides and nitrogen fertilizers. As demand for more arable land rises, entire
ecosystems, such as the Brazilian Amazon, Cerrado, Pantanal, and Mata Atlantica, and the
rainforests of SE Asia are seriously threatened. Throughout the global south, Indigenous
People and rural communities are being evicted from their land, often violently, to make way
for large scale monocultures of agrofuel crops, undermining efforts to ensure land reform and
food sovereignty.