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The Bioeconomy is Bad for Biodiversity, Global Forest Coalition Warns

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Politics and Democracy page and our Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

 As U.S. President Obama announced his new "National Bioeconomy Blueprint" today, the Global Forest Coalition unveiled its report, "Bio-economy versus Biodiversity". The report's conclusions differ sharply from the President's "Blueprint," alerting policy-makers to the serious negative impacts the so-called bioeconomy will have on forests, forest-dependent peoples, and biodiversity.

The 'bioeconomy' promotes speculative markets for ecosystem-based products and services, which are increasingly promoted as a 'green' alternative to the fossil fuel economy. Trading in 'ecosystem services' such as forest carbon offsets is accompanied by a massive expansion of wood-based bioenergy and other biomass-based products.

The Global Forest Coalition report concludes that these markets are a dead end.

"The divergent elements of the bioeconomy are at cross-purposes," warns Rachel Smolker of Biofuelwatch, a lead author of the report. "On the one hand, we'll extract biomass from forests and farmlands to produce energy and materials at a scale comparable to our current fossil fuel extraction. And on the other hand we'll create new financial instruments based on the protection of ecosystems. We can't have it both ways," said Smolker.

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