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Bristol Protest Against Biofuels; a solution worse than the problem

bristol rising tide and espacio bristol-colombia | 15.04.2008 13:23 | Climate Chaos | Repression | Social Struggles

People from Bristol Rising Tide[1] and Espacio Bristol –Colombia[2] will be at Tesco petrol station, Eastville, Bristol from 5pm – 7pm today to highlight the devastating consequences that agrofuels[3] from monocultures will have on the climate, ecosystems, food prices and human rights.

From today, all forecourts will be required by law to sell only fuel which is blended with 2.5% agrofuel. EU targets are set to increase to 10% by 2020. This law is being introduced despite research which shows that producing agrofuels causes greater global warming emissions than the equivalent for fossil fuels [4].

Food prices are rising rapidly due to agrofuels, causing the poor to suffer more malnutrition. This has been called a "crime against humanity" by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler. Furthermore, the United Nations has warned that 60 million people may soon become "biofuel refugees" – people forced off their land to make way for huge areas of agrofuel crops.

Sam from Bristol Rising Tide says "The expansion of agrofuels is going to have the same impact as climate chaos: increase in poverty, hunger and refugees. Yet the Government is promoting this as yet another technical fix for climate change, despite its own Chief Scientist's doubts about their sustainability."

An Espacio Bristol member currently accompanying Colombian communities under threat from the the expansion of palm says "I have met farmers surviving on one meal a day since being forced off their land by a palm oil company, people working for palm companies paid poorly and paid late, and many who are angry and saddened that in such a fertile area they are having to buy expensive food from elsewhere."

Tesco, who already sell agrofuel at the pump, tries to impress its customers by claiming to be 'green' because of being the UK's market leader in the sale of biofuels to customers. However, they have a vested interest in the technology's promotion as they own a 25% share of Greenenergy, a biofuel company.

Bristol Rising Tide and Espacio Bristol Colombia argue that Climate change is an issue of social injustice and is a direct result of the economic domination of Northern interests and transnational corporations. They reject false solutions that are used as a way of maintaining 'business as usual' and a means to escape responsibility.

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[1] Bristol Rising Tide is part of the International Rising Tide for Climate Justice network

[2] Espacio Bristol-Colombia is a collective of people working in solidarity with Colombian social activists, communities and human rights defenders, who face threats, murder and imprisonment as a result of their struggles for defending their land and right s They are part of the Network of Friendship and Solidarity with Colombia, a space for coordination between various Colombian and international groups.

[3] A large number of global social movements, ranging from peasants to animal rights activists, are rejecting the deceptive term "biofuel" which makes us believe that energy from crops is more environmentally friendly. Instead the word agrofuels is used, that is fuels produced from purposely and intensively grown crops using large quantities of chemicals, fossil fuels and resulting in monocultural land use.

[4] Two recent peer-reviewed studies published in Science ( and show that the full greenhouse gas emissions from land conversion for agrofuel has been ignored in nearly all previous 'life cycle studies'. Once the emissions from converting more land to agrofuels are taken into account, all agrofuels currently available accelerate global warming and do not mitigate it.

bristol rising tide and espacio bristol-colombia


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  1. Overthrow Uribe regime in Colombia! — No Corps
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