Corporate Social Responsibility writer for Justmeans, Antonio Pasolini is a journalist based in Brazil who writes about alternative energy, green living and sustainability. He also edits Energyrefuge.com, a top web destination for news and comment on renewable energy and Elpis.org, a recycled paper bag/magazine distributed from health food stores in London, formerly his hometown for over a decade....
Forest Sustainability Activists Welcome COP11 Recommendation on Biofuels
Biofuels and their impact on biodiversity was on the table during the recent Conference of the Parties of the Biodiversity Convention (COP11), which took place in Hyderabad in India between October 08-19. One of the outcomes of the meeting was a recommendation regarding their production, which was met with cautious approval by a leading forest preservation organization.
The Global Forest Coalition (GFC) said in a statement that it welcomed the recommendation on biofuels. The text said subsidy policies and incentives should be reviewed and, in some cases, reversed, especially when they cause harm to biodiversity.
The Conference also adopted a decision on incentive measures in general. It stressed that there should be no delay on policy action when candidates for elimination, phase out or reform are already known. It encouraged parties to take appropriate action in such cases, taking into account national socio-economic conditions.
"These recommendations by the world's leading intergovernmental body in the field of biodiversity are very timely now that the European Commission just this week launched proposals for a review of EU biofuel policies," said Dr. Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch, the European focal point to the Global Forest Coalition.
The recommendations on biofuels and other issues are weaker than the organization expected, said Simone Lovera, GFC's executive, but she admitted that they show that governments are genuinely concerned about the impacts of the so-called bioeconomy, and associated new technologies like synthetic biology, and that many southern governments, in particular, insist on a strict precautionary approach to avoid the potentially devastating risks of with these new and unproven technologies.
Elsewhere, Helena Paul of Econexus, added that the "EC proposals are only a first step towards recognizing that all incentive measures that promote biofuel production should be abolished in clear evidence of their devastating direct and indirect impacts on biodiversity, and on the indigenous peoples, local communities and women. We hope these recommendations of the Parties to the Biodiversity Convention will encourage the EU to abolish support for large-scale industrial bioenergy altogether, and that they will not allow threats of legal action from the biofuel industry to deter them."
Image credit: GFC