‘Large-scale biofuel production endangers food security’
To meet climate goals and stop global warming, we need a lot more trees. And we also need biofuel, but, according to a leaked report of the United Nations’ climate panel, IPCC, this can affect food security.
Trees are the perfect ‘vacuum cleaners’ for CO2. A recent publication of scientists mentioned that planting 1.200 billion trees would absorb two-third of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere. “The most effective solution,” says Tom Crowther, a leading researcher at the ETH University in Zürich.
Vegetation is also useful to produce biofuel and bio-energy. However, covering the planet with large surfaces of ‘CO2 vacuum cleaners’ would not be such a good idea, according to a recent analysis of the International Energy Agency.
Earlier studies showed that biofuels based on farm crops just increased emissions because of the large-scale deforestation. So, according to the leaked report, the widespread use of farmland will lead to food insecurity – and hunger – because these parts of the land aren’t used for crops.
On top of that, more intense production of biofuel with more fertilizers, irrigation, and monoculture can erode the soil so that less CO2 can be stored.
“The leaked report is a unique opportunity for Belgium to review its strategy about biofuel,” says Alba Saray Pérez Terán, climate expert of Oxfam. (Belgium proposed an important increase in biofuel from 5,5% in 2017 to 14% by 2030, e.n.). “Those crops are responsible for more poverty and less food security. A policy that promotes this option can be seen as a violation of human rights.”
IPCC scientists advise to keep the production of biofuel limited and to find other ways to reduce emissions and save food production. “We also have to stop wasting food and opt for a more balanced diet.”
The IPCC also suggests several solutions to safeguard food security and reduce emissions, like more diverse simultaneous crops, more soil-enriching plants, new drought-resistant vegetation, new techniques to register heat and drought stress…