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Rethinking the Food-versus-Fuel Debate

An Appraisal of International Perspectives and Implications for the South African Industrial Biofuels Strategy

Shaun Ruysenaar

The global rush toward a biofueled future (and subsequent apprehension concerning unintended consequences) has met with powerful and wide-ranging critique. Bolstered by globally increasing food prices peaking in 2008, food insecurity has become a central concern when considering pursuing biofuels. Arguments in the wider literature propose a number of perspectives with which to evaluate the biofuels-food security nexus. In South Africa, however, the debate is largely configured around maize-for-ethanol and polarized between two antagonistic camps. A host of agricultural lobbies and industrial interests argue in support of biofuels while some politicians, civil society, and NGOs argue against it. Both groups draw their arguments from various domains of the food security discourse in support of their cause. This article considers the merits of these opposing arguments in relation to wider perspectives in the literature, in many cases highlighting non-holistic assumptions made by the opposing claimants. This article seeks to rekindle a waning dialogue and provide a more robust outline of the major concerns that need to be addressed when considering biofuels production from a food security perspective. Only then can South Africa expect to weigh up accurately the value of pursuing biofuels production.

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Becoming an Agricultural Growth Corridor

African Megaprojects at a Situated Scale

Serena Stein and Marc Kalina

Economic Research . IEA (International Energy Agency) . 2011 . Technology Roadmap: Biofuels for Transport . Paris : IEA . Jayne , Thomas S. , David Mather , and Elliot Mghenyi . 2010 . “ Principal Challenges Confronting Smallholder

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Tracey Heatherington

), Ozzie Zehner has attempted to evaluate the possibilities of solar cells, wind power, biofuels, nuclear energy, hydropower, hydrogen power, “clean coal,” and other technologies touted as solutions to our current energy dilemmas. Zehner’s research task was

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Fuelling Capture: Africa's Energy Frontiers

Michael Degani, Brenda Chalfin, and Jamie Cross

or otherwise ‘surplus’ populations will not benefit from energy independence absent a whole series of other more extensive investments in local infrastructure and economies necessary for metabolizing it. It may be the case that the wind farms, biofuel

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Ariela Zycherman

the growth of the soy industry. The production of crops for biofuels continues to be an expanding industry in Brazil. While soy is the major crop supported by the PNPB, in other Amazonian states like Pará, palm oil production is becoming popular with

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Between social footprint and compliance, or “what IBAMA wants”

Equinor Brazil's social sustainability policy

Iselin Åsedotter Strønen

Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuel (ANP) (Agência Nacional do Petróleo, Gás Natural e Biocombustíveis). 7 Special Participation ( participação especial ) is a special payment deducted from the gross revenue of the extraction and production operation ( Neto

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Richard Widick and John Foran

economic sciences that design markets and the life sciences and basic physics that hope to master carbon sequestration. The hopeful technologies necessary to cut emissions, such as solar, wind energy, carbon sequestration, biofuel, climate smart agriculture

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Waves of Dispossession

The Conversion of Land and Labor in Bali’s Recent History

Anette Fagertun

. Pye , Oliver. 2010 . “ The Biofuel Connection: Transnational Activism and the Palm Oil Boom .” Journal of Peasant Studies 37 ( 4 ): 851 – 874 . 10.1080/03066150.2010.512461 Ramstedt , Martin. 2012 . “ Processes of Disembedding and

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Janet Hoskins, Gavin Weston, Khairudin Aljunied, John Harries, Thorgeir Storesund Kolshus, Lars Højer, Cynthia Chou, Samson A. Bezabeh, and Ingvild Skodvin Prestegård

of palm oil-based biofuel and hydro-electric dams. Oglesby further destabilizes the image of Guatemalan business ethics with a damning critique of moves toward corporate social responsibility on Pacific Coast sugar plantations, while Velásquez Nimatuj

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Closeness and critique among Brazilian philanthropists

Navigating a critical ethnography of wealth elites

Jessica Sklair

processing plant located on the outskirts of a small rural town in the state of São Paulo, and later expanded into other areas of agriculture and production of the biofuel ethanol. Campo Doce remained an influential but relatively small player within Brazil