Agrofuels : Big Profits, Ruined Lives and Ecological Destruction

By (author)  , Translated by  , Foreword by 

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Agrofuels were heralded as a key weapon in the fight against climate change, but the deforestation and theft of agricultural land that was essential to farmers in the developing world, suggests that they are doing more harm than good.

Francois Houtart argues that the green potential of agrofuels has been hijacked by businesses that put profits above environmental protection. This has led to the absurd situation where an energy source that should be sustainable actually increases human and ecological damage, simply due to the profit-maximising decisions of capitalists rather than a flaw in the concept of agrofuels.

Houtart reveals that we need to rethink neoliberalism's relationship to green politics and ask is capitalism compatible with climate change, or do we need to overhaul our economic system in order to save the planet?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 12.7mm | 249.48g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745330126
  • 9780745330129
  • 1,227,856

Table of contents


1. Energy And Development

2. The Twin Crises: Energy And Climate

3. The Neoliberal Discourse On Climate Change

4. Agrofuels And Agroenergy

5. Ethanol Production

6. Agrodiesel Production

7. The Collateral Effects Of Agrofuels

8. The Socio-Economic Dimensions Of Agroenergy

9. Alternative Ways Of Solving The Climate And Energy Crises And The Role Of Agrofuels



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Review quote

'That solutions can be the causes of problems is well known and brilliantly illustrated by Francois Houtart's account of the nature, role and impact of agrofuels. Technically sound, socially thorough and politically grounded, it is also compassionate' -- Susan George, Honorary President of ATTAC-France and President of the Board of the Transnational Institute 'A unique and important contribution to the debate on agrofuels. Vital reading for all those interested not only in the question of agrofuels, but also in the direction of our civilisation and its shameful waste of natural resources' -- Professor Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food 'Presents the issue of agrofuels within the global context of the capitalist economy, stressing the role played by the oligopolies in promoting 'green energy'. This is the best book so far written on the subject' -- Samir Amin, Director of the Third World Forum in Dakar
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About François Houtart

Francois Houtart was Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the Universite Catholique de Louvain. He is the author of Agrofuels: Big Profits, Ruined Lives and Ecological Destruction (Pluto, 2010) amongst author books. He was chief editor of the journal Social Compass, and the editor of Alternatives Sud. He was the joint winner of the UNESCO Madanjeet Singh Prize 2009 for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence.
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