Extracts taken from Christian Aid

This new report from Christian Aid argues that the debate on biofuels needs to focus not on whether some biofuels can deliver or are better than others, but instead on the policy model that is pushing biofuels – & which currently is fundamentally flawed.

That model has led to a huge waste of public funds to support biofuels that, in many cases, increase climate change and contribute to other significant social and environmental problems.

However there are positive examples of small scale biofuel production and use that Christian Aid partners are piloting and that could help poor people. A debate needs to start on how to get more support to such examples.

Current approach to biofuels disastrous

‘Vast sums of European and American taxpayers’ money are being used to prop up industries which are fuelling hunger, severe human rights abuses and environmental destruction – and failing to deliver the benefits claimed for them,’ says Christian Aid climate advocacy specialist, Eliot Whittington, the report's author.

‘The current approach to biofuels has been disastrous. Policymakers should urgently rethink their entire approach to biofuels, to ensure that only crops and fuels which will achieve their social and environmental goals receive government backing.

‘Major reforms are also vital to prevent the damage already caused by biofuel plantations in Latin American and Asian countries from being repeated in Africa.’
Small scale

Growing pains urges governments to adopt a new vision on biofuels, seeing them as a force for rural development in poor countries, rather than a silver bullet solution to climate change.

‘Christian Aid believes that the best approach to biofuels is to grow them on a small scale and process them locally to provide energy for people in the surrounding community,’ adds Whittington.

‘This can also increase rural people’s incomes and has the potential to actually increase soil fertility and moisture retention without compromising people’s food security.’

The report includes examples of communities which are growing biofuels on a small scale to supply their own energy needs – for instance in Mali, where farmers are growing jatropha alongside millet and sorghum.

Read more here

Further information

For more information and pictures of jatropha growing in Mali, contact:
Rachel Baird
0207 523 2446 or 07545 501 749
rbaird at christian-aid.org

Website: www.christianaid.org.uk

Download the report

Download Growing Pains