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Picture essay: The terrible legacy of biofuels


As the Rio+20 earth summit gets underway, the world is looking for a magic solution to our environmental problems and to meanwhile reduce poverty – but it won’t be biofuels.

Once, biofuels were seen as a miraculous, sustainable solution to climate change. But growing evidence shows that the EU’s insatiable demand for biofuels to run their cars has led to increased greenhouse gas emissions, rising world food prices, increasing hunger and ruined lives. 

As foreign-owned biofuel plantations multiply, more poor people are being pushed off land they have farmed sustainably for years. 8000 hectares of common land has been taken from a community in the Kisarawe region of Tanzania.

A saga of landgrabbing and lost livelihoods is being replicated across Africa and elsewhere in the false name of ‘sustainable’ energy. 

ActionAid is working with affected communities to help them assert their rights and is calling for support for biofuels to end at Rio+20.

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