Bioenergy: Risks to food-, energy- and environmental security121-130Views:179
There are growing opportunities and demands for the use of biomass to provide additional renewables, energy for heat, power and fuel, pharmaceuticals and green chemical feedstocks. However, the worldwide potential of bioenergy is limited, because all land is multifunctional, and land is also needed for food, feed, timber and fiber production, and for nature conservation and climate protection. The recent expansion of the bioenergy industries together with a strong increase in many commodity prices has raised concerns over the land use choices between energy needs and food and feed. New systems of energy production must be developed based on cost of environmental damage due to production and use of fossil energy and certain chemicals and materials. This article presents risks to food and energy security, estimates of bioenergy potential and the challenges of the environmental and social impact associated with expansions in bioenergy production.
Economics of GM crop cultivation7-19Views:145
Asynchronous approval of new GM crops across international jurisdictions is of growing concern due to its potential impact on global trade. Different countries have different authorisation procedures and, even if regulatory dossiers are submitted at the same time, approval is not given simultaneously (in some cases, delays can even amount to years). For instance, by mid-2009 over 40 transgenic events were approved or close to approval elsewhere but not yet approved – or not even submitted – in the EU.Yet, like some other jurisdictions,the EU also operates a zero-tolerance policy to even the smallest traces of nationally unapproved GM crops (so-called low-level presence). The resultant rejection of agricultural imports has already caused high economic losses and threatens to disrupt global agri-food supply chains. The risk that feed supplies could be affected by a low-level presence of non-EU approved GM material could be resolved if the EU allowed a tolerance for this, rather than operating a strict zero tolerance as now. The Commission has undertaken to come forward with a nonlegislative technical solution to address the difficulties created by a strict zero tolerance policy. To what extent this would be helpful will depend on the nature of the proposed solution.
Policy challenges for food, energy and environmental security15-25Views:106
Limited land is available globally to grow crops for food and fuel. There are direct and indirect pressures on forests and other lands to be converted from growing food for feedstock to be used for biofuel production. The balance of evidence indicates there will probably be sufficient appropriate land available to meet demands for both food and fuel, but this needs to be confirmed before global supply of biofuel is allowed to increase significantly. There is a future for a sustainable biofuels industry, but feedstock production must avoid encroaching on agricultural land that would otherwise be used for food production. And while advanced technologies offer significant potential for higher greenhouse gas (GHG) savings through biofuels, these will be offset if feedstock production uses existing agricultural land and prevents land-use change. GHG savings can be achieved by using feedstock grown mainly on marginal land or that does not use land, such as wastes and residues. To ensure that biofuels deliver net GHG benefits, governments should amend, but not abandon, their biofuel policies in recognition of the dangers from indirect effects of land-use changes. Large areas of uncertainty remain in the overall impacts and benefits of biofuels. International action is needed in order to improve data, models and controls, and to understand and to manage effects.
CAP 2013 reform: consistency between agricultural challenges and measures47-55Views:133
The latest reform of the Common Agricultural Policy has just been accepted, identifying important challenges for EU agriculture but proposing only limited changes to the previous CAP. Now it is time for the implementation of the new measures. However, from a theoretical point of view, it seems that the CAP can hardly meet the challenges it faces due to the inconsistencies between the predefined challenges and the measures proposed to meet them. The aim of the paper is to analyse the consistency between the challenges of European agriculture and the policy measures aimed at meeting them. It seems that not all measures are consistent with the challenges.