Opinion: Poor Farmers Must Not Be Losers in Fight Against Climate Change
Now that countries around the world have agreed on a global deal to tackle climate change, attention has shifted to how we’re going to do it. If we’re to meet the ambitious targets in the Paris climate agreement, we need to reduce our emissions and do it fast. Bioenergy and carbon capture storage – a plan to take carbon dioxide and trap it under the ground rather than releasing it into the atmosphere – have become a controversial part of the discussions on how we do this.
Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the amount of biofuels to be used in the United States in 2016 and there has been much discussion on Capitol Hill of the Renewable Fuel Standard (the U.S. biofuel mandate) and its benefits in the fight against climate change. As the food versus fuel debate continues, a new study was published arguing that biofuels are actually good for food security. However, the study is seriously flawed.
Not only are the authors unable to make their case that biofuels support food security, but they also fail to discredit the evidence that biofuels contribute to hunger globally. By underestimating the competition for land and ignoring the impact that such large land deals are having on local farmers around the world, the authors fail to take into account important evidence which shows that U.S. biofuels policies are increasing hunger around the world.