African Food Production Challenged by ‘Land Grab’ for Biofuels

African land grab

European Union countries must drop their biofuels targets or else risk plunging more Africans into hunger and raising carbon emissions, according to Friends of the Earth (FoE).

In a campaign launching today, the charity accuses European companies of land-grabbing throughout Africa to grow biofuel crops that directly compete with food crops. Biofuel companies counter that they consult with local governments, bring investment and jobs, and often produce fuels for the local market. […]

Producers argue they typically farm land not destined, or suitable for, food crops. But campaigners reject those claims, with FoE saying that biofuel crops, including non-edible ones such as jatropha, “are competing directly with food crops for fertile land”. […]

Sun Biofuels, a British company farming land in Mozambique and Tanzania and named in the report, criticised the charity’s research as “emotional and anecdotal” and said that its time would be better spent looking into ways to develop equitable farming models in Africa.

Guardian: Friends of the Earth urges end to ‘land grab’ for biofuels

Anyone know more about this situation?

(via Chris Arkenberg)

Venice To Get Half Its Electricity From Algae By 2011

The city of Venice hopes to get at least 50 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by the year 2011. It plans to use algae to generate electricity.
Venice, known as the City of Bridges, plans to end its reliance on fossil fuels in the near future by primarily using biofuels.

As a first step the city officials have invested €200 million ($264 million) for a biofuels plant. They will use two types of algae, Sargassum muticum and Undaria pinnafitida. They will cultivate them in laboratories, which will then be used to generate electricity in a new 40 MW power plant. This plant will provide up to 50 per cent of the city’s electricity needs.

Full Story: Venice To Get Half Its Electricity From Algae By 2011

(Thanks Nova)

Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

Business 2.0 has a well written article examining eight near-future technologies that they believe will change the world:

  1. Biointeractive Materials
  2. Biofuel Production Plants
  3. Bionics
  4. Cognitronics
  5. Genotyping
  6. Combinatorial Science
  7. Molecular Manufacturing
  8. Quantum Nucleonics

They’ve got a pretty good list, but where are the anti-cancer nano-bots? Cheap solar power? Particle transmitters/teleporters?

Business 2.0: Eight Technologies That Will Change the World

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