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UNCTAD: Wake up before it is too late!

A United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report  published on September 18th calls for radical changes in agriculture and food production. Farming in rich and poor nations alike should shift from monoculture towards greater varieties of crops, reduced use of fertilizers and other inputs, greater support for small-scale farmers, and more locally focused production and consumption of food, the report recommends. The UN Trade and Environment Report 2013 warns that continuing rural poverty, persistent hunger around the world, growing populations, and mounting environmental concerns must be treated as a collective crisis. It says that urgent and far-reaching action is needed before climate change begins to cause major disruptions to agriculture, especially in developing countries. More than 60 international experts contributed to the report’s analysis of the topic. The report cites a number of trends that collectively suggest a mounting crisis: • Food prices from 2011 to mid-2013 were almost 80 per cent higher than for the period 2003–2008; • Global fertilizer use has increased by eight times over the past 40 years, although global cereal […]

Latest from Brussels

Biofuels vote includes Indirect Land Use Change

The European Parliament (EP) voted Wednesday to include what is called Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) considerations in its biofuels targets. What effect will this have on the EU’s renewable energy, climate change and also on land use? This European Parliament vote means that the real climate impact, due to displacement of food production, will be taken into account in the EU’s biofuel targets and policies. A cap of 6% on land-based biofuels, including energy crops, has been adopted. According to Terhi Lehtonen environment advisor Greens/EFA group: “This would be the minimum necessary to take real measures to tackle the climate, food security and other social impacts due to displacement of food production that is caused by EU biofuels policy.” Lehtonen adds: “The EP vote also signalled to the markets that future investments should be on biofuels with low-ILUC risk and no food based fuels should be supported after 2020.” How did the vote go? See votewatch here Background Biofuels are liquid fuels made mostly from crops which can be mixed with fossil fuels to […]