Rally at CARB Hearing to Keep Dirty Fuels Out of Low Carbon Fuel Standard

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Environmental and Food Sovereignty Activists Protest Agrofuels in Leading Climate Change Legislation
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO – Dozens of environmental and food sovereignty activists led by Rainforest Action Network rallied today outside of a California Air Resources Board hearing to express concern over the inclusion of agrofuels in the Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS). Intended to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels from 2006 levels by 10 percent by 2020, the LCFS will serve as a model for national and state policy, including the recent Waxman/Markey draft climate legislation. .

“Agrofuels are not low carbon,” said Andrea Samulon of Rainforest Action Network. “Their inclusion in the Low Carbon Fuel Standard threatens to undermine the Governor’s intent in creating the standard. We encourage CARB to be safe, rather than sorry, by excluding agrofuels from the LCFS given current evidence of their serious impacts on water, forests, climate and food security.”

Today’s rally included stop signs reading “Stop Agrofuels” and large-scale photographs of impacted communities in areas where agrofuels are produced. Speakers at the rally included: Maisa Mendonca, human rights expert and co-founder of the World Social Forum; Altacir Bunde, Brazilian economist and food sovereignty activist; Dr. Eric Holt-Gimenez, director, Food First; Jeff Conant, international researcher and communications coordinator, Food and Water Watch, and Michael Brune, executive director, Rainforest Action Network.

“Corporations are stealing community land and destroying rainforests to produce agrofuels,” said Altacir Bunde, economist and leader of the Brazilian Popular Peasant Movement. “Ruining forests and land in Brazil has made my nation the fourth-largest climate change emitter in the world.. Brazilian people must have sovereignty over their own land and how it is used.”

Agrofuels have become increasingly popular with U.S. corporations and policy-makers as a so-called solution to climate change, and enshrined in state and federal “renewable fuels” statutes. Increased carbon emissions from government incentives for agrofuels has already been documented. For example, a recent study by Friends of the Earth UK showed that since a similar standard was enacted in Britain in April 2008, the increased use of agrofuels has led to extra emissions equivalent to putting 500,000 more cars on the British roads.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org