3 Things You Need To Know About The UN Climate Change Report & Biofuels

March 31, 2014

Yesterday, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stunned many when it officially reversed its stance on global biofuels policies, finding that biofuels are not an effective means of global warming mitigation. Furthermore, the use of biofuels has sweeping consequences for the environment, global food security and the health of developing nations.

Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Ethanol mandates could divert nine percent of U.S. water to biofuel production. The UN reports that if we continue on our current path, the  U.S. ethanol mandate, called the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), will drive 9 percent of U.S. water usage — nearly 1 of every 10 gallons —  toward ethanol production by 2030. If we have learned nothing from the recent drought in California and the 2012 drought, two of the worst in recorded history, it is that we are just one water shortage away from skyrocketing food prices here at home.

  2. Biofuels push up food prices for everyone. Speaking of higher food prices… the UN stated that the RFS could raise food prices (corn, wheat, rice and soybeans specifically) as much as 20 percent. Higher food prices affect all Americans and will especially hurt working families who rely on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and children who utilize subsidized school lunches.  
  3. Biofuels turn family farms to corporate profits. From a global perspective, biofuels production has dramatically shifted land ownership from citizens in developing countries to global corporations. These corporate land grabs force family farmers and indigenous people off of their land, pushing access to affordable food options out of reach for the world’s neediest populations.

A group of NGO’s have echoed many of the IPCC’s concerns, all while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is deliberating on a proposed reduction to the 2014 RFS.

This means that your voice matters more than ever.

Tell Gina McCarthy and the EPA: now that we know better, let’s do better.