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Fwd: Peak Soil + Peak Oil = Peak Spoils

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Begin forwarded message: From: Claude Willey Subject: ETC Group: Peak Spoils: Fueling Corporate Alliances Reply-To:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2007
      Begin forwarded message:

      From: Claude Willey <claudewilley@...>

      Subject: ETC Group: Peak Spoils: Fueling Corporate Alliances
      Reply-To: etc@..., etcgroup@...

      ETC Group
      November / December 2007
      Issue #96

      Go here to view the full 14-page report: http://www.etcgroup.org/en/

      Peak Soil + Peak Oil = Peak Spoils

      In the name of moving “beyond petroleum,” Big Oil, Gene Giants,
      governments, start-ups and others are forming partnerships that will
      extend corporate control over more resources in every part of the
      globe – while keeping the root causes of climate change intact. With
      grudging recognition that first-generation agrofuels are neither
      economical nor ecological, investors turn to other life-based
      technologies, including synthetic biology, for the next alternative
      fuel fix.

      Issue: In OECD countries, massive government incentives and subsidies
      – estimated to be as high as US$15 billion/year – are stoking the
      agrofuels boom and spurring unprecedented alliances that extend
      corporate power over a larger share of the world’s resources. Big
      Oil, Big Ag, Big Brains (and more) are teaming up to reap the only
      certain benefit of agrofuels – increased profits. In this Communiqué,
      ETC Group maps the new corporate alliances propelled by (and
      propelling) the scramble for bio-based fuels. We also include a new
      wave of corporate investors who are betting that synthetic biologists
      can turn microbes into fuel-producing factories.

      Impact: With the agrofuels boom, the South’s land and labor is once
      again being exploited to perpetuate unjust and unsustainable
      consumption patterns in the North. Fuel crops are competing with food
      crops – and small farmers and poor consumers are losing out. Because
      huge amounts of energy are required to grow these crops, first
      generation agrofuels (from crops like maize and rapeseed/canola) may
      actually accelerate, rather than arrest, climate change. The
      2007/2008 UN Development Programme’s Human Development Report warns
      that the consequences of climate change could be “apocalyptic” for
      some of the world’s poorest people. In the face of catastrophic
      impacts from climate change, it is unacceptable to impose the added
      risks and burdens of agrofuels on the global South. The last thing
      the South needs is pressure to grow energy crops instead of food
      crops. Since agrofuels are neither ecologically nor economically
      efficient, biotech proponents are promoting a new generation of
      feedstocks and techniques to accelerate fuel production, including
      genetically engineered trees. These alternatives will present a slew
      of problems.

      Financial Stakes: Energy crops are the fastest growing segment of the
      world agriculture market. According to industry estimates, the
      potential global market for liquid biofuels could expand from 11
      billion gallons per annum in 2006 to 87 billion gallons in 2020. The
      global agrofuels market was $20.5 billion in 2006, projected to grow
      to $80.9 billion in a decade. In OECD countries, start-ups and
      multinationals are divvying up the annual ~$15 billion in government
      incentives for alternative fuels.

      Policy/Action: Across the globe, civil society organizations (CSOs)
      are demanding an end to the agrofuel boom. In the US and Europe, CSOs
      are calling for a moratorium on incentives for agrofuels, including
      the suspension of all targets, subsidies and financing through carbon
      trading mechanisms. The moratorium should be adopted by all
      governments. Entrenched structures that encourage unsustainable
      transport of commodities, people and products must be challenged.
      Governments failed to anticipate the negative social, economic and
      environmental impacts of first-generation agrofuels. Governments
      meeting in Rome at FAO’s High-Level Conference on World Food Security
      and the Challenges of Bioenergy and Climate Change, 3-5 June 2008,
      should reject first-generation agrofuels and prevent the negative
      impacts of next-generation alternatives.

      ETC Group mailing list

      Richard Risemberg
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