The British and government and the EU are supporting a project to develop biofuels for the UK fishing fleet. The Sea Fish Industry Authority, Seafish, are managing this project which aims to convert fishing boat engines to straight vegetable oil. They work with the Camborne School of Mines and with the UK company Regenatec. Regenatec states that most of the biofuels will be made from soybean oil from Argentina. They claim that this is a 'sustainable source' - but Argentinean soya production is anything but sustainable.
Argentina already has more than 16 million hectares of soya monocultures, nearly all of them under GM RoundupReady soya. Soya expansion is the main driver of deforestation in Argentina’s Chaco and Yungas forests. The Chaco forests is believed to be the most significant carbon sink outside the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere. Its destruction is a disaster for the global climate, as well as for local people and biodiversity. In Argentina, deforestation is directly linked to more severe droughts, regional warming, and more flash floods.
As soya monocultures are expanding, small farmers and other families are forced off the land and into the cities. Some are forced to leave through violence and intimidation, others see no option but to sell or rent out their land at low prices, yet others have had to leave because of pesticide poisoning. In order to grow RoundupReady soya in Argentina, vast areas are sprayed from the air with pesticides. Very often, communities living next to the plantations are poisoned, too, as are their crops, animals and water. A study financed by the Argentinean Ministry for Agriculture found higher incidences of lupus, skin haemorrhages, other cancers and genetic malformations in communities exposed to pesticide spraying. Soya plantations are displacing food production. Argentina used to be self-sufficient in meat, dairy produce, lentils, beans and other vegetables. They now have to import a lot of their food, including milk, at higher prices and 15% of the population lacks minimum food requirements.
Biofuels for the UK fishing fleet will mean more deforestation, more poisoning of land and communities and less food for Argentina. Far from being climate-friendly, this will accelerate global warming as Argentina's old growth forests, which store very large amounts of carbon, are being cut down to make way for soya plantations.
Please click here to tell the EU, the British government and the industry involved to abandon plans for biofuels for the UK fishing fleet WHEREVER YOU LIVE IN THE WORLD
Also, anyone who cares about climate change should take a look at Greenpeace's 7-step climate campaign!