Developing countries

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Bioenergy > Regions > Developing countries

Map of "developed" and "developing countries" of the world as designated by the International Monetary Fund in 2009. 'Developed' economies are shown in blue, with 'emerging countries' and 'developing economies' shown in orange. Source

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Developing countries are collectively also known as the "global south".




  • The Extraordinary Collapse of Jatropha as a Global Biofuel, 2 August 2011 by Environmental Science & Technology: "In a massive planting program of unprecedented scale millions of marginal farmers and landless people were encouraged to plant Jatropha across India through attractive schemes....Similar measures were undertaken across other developing countries involving millions of small farmers in the hope that it would not only provide renewable energy but also enhance their incomes....By 2008, Jatropha had already been planted over an estimated 900000 ha globally of which an overwhelming 85% was in Asia, 13% in Africa and the rest in Latin America, and by 2015 Jatropha is expected to be planted on 12.8 million ha worldwide."
    • "But the results are anything but encouraging. In India the provisions of mandatory blending could not be enforced as seed production fell far short of the expectation and a recent study has reported discontinuance by 85% of the Jatropha farmers....In Tanzania the results are very unsatisfactory and a research study found the net present value of a five-year investment in Jatropha plantation was negative with a loss of US$ 65 per ha on lands with yields of 2 tons/ha of seeds...."
    • "...A case study of Jatropha plantations raised in 1993–1994 in the Indian province of Andhra Pradesh had reported actual yields that were far below expectations and the species was found to be prone to termite attacks, water logging, vulnerable to drought in the planting year and delayed yields."
    • "...As an immediate step an international body like the FAO may have to intervene to stop further extension of Jatropha in new areas without adequate research inputs. Greater investments in dissemination of scientific data will help in ensuring due diligence does not cause undue delays in decision making."[1]
  • Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land Use and Food Supply, 6 April 2011 by Journalist Resource: "The increased global production of biofuels such as ethanol has become a subject of controversy, as land formerly dedicated to the growing of food crops is repurposed to meet energy needs. Each year, more crops such as sugar, palm oil, corn and cassava are diverted for these purposes."
    • "A paper by the World Bank, 'The Impacts of Biofuel Targets on Land-Use Change and Food Supply,' uses land-allocation information from the biofuels production sectors to determine the levels of competition between biofuels and food industries for agricultural commodities. The authors model the potential effects of increased biofuels production to meet current national targets."
    • "The paper’s findings include:
      • Expanding global biofuels production to meet current national biofuels targets would generally reduce global GDP between 0.02% and 0.06%, with the national GDP impacts varying across countries.
      • Significant Expansion in biofuels production would necessitate substantial land re-allocation, resulting in as much a 5% decreases in forest and pasture lands.
      • The expansion of biofuels would likely cause a 1% reduction in global food supply.
      • The magnitude of the impact on food costs is not as large as perceived earlier — sugar, corn and oil seeds would experience 1% to 8% price increases by 2020 — but increases would be significant in developing countries such as India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa."[2]
  • Nigeria: Why We Could Not Realise Biofuels Project - Ericsson, 17 February 2011 by "Ericsson has stated that the biofuels initiative it tried to embark upon in Nigeria in 2007, could not be the realised because of concerns with issues of food security."
    • "Operators in the Nigerian telecoms space are hampered in their operations by inadequate power supply resulting in operators using alternative power supply to address over 90 percent of their power needs. The need to find a solution to the power challenge faced by operators in Africa led to Ericsson creating solutions that will help operators tackle the challenge."
    • "Vice President of Ericsson's Corporate Responsibility Unit, Ms Elaine Weidman Grunewald said 'Nigeria was probably not the right African country to start the project with at that time because there were issues of food crops, and we tried using palm oil for fuel instead of food...The price of Palm oil was too high to make the project work.'"
    • "The biofuel programme which is an initiative of Ericsson, and the GSM Association aims to connect off- grid locations by identifying and processing locally grown crops like coconut, cotton and jathropha into biofuel that will power base stations in the developing world."[3]


  • Banks Grow Wary of Environmental Risks, 31 August 2010 by New York Times: "After years of legal entanglements arising from environmental messes and increased scrutiny of banks that finance the dirtiest industries, several large commercial lenders are taking a stand on industry practices that they regard as risky to their reputations and bottom lines."
    • "HSBC, which is based in London, has curtailed its relationships with some producers of palm oil, which is often linked to deforestation in developing countries."[4]
  • Lack of science means jatropha biofuel 'could fail poor', 9 August 2010 by Papiya Bhattacharyya: "Mass planting of jatropha as a biofuel crop could benefit poor areas as well as combating global warming, but only if a number of scientific and production issues are properly addressed, a review has warned."
    • "Growing jatropha for biofuel on degraded land unsuitable for food and cash crops could help improve the earnings of small farmers and counter poverty, reports the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the review published last month."
    • "But Balakrishna Gowda, biofuel project coordinator in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, where jatropha is grown, and professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, said that it would be unrealistic to expect jatropha to reverse poverty 'overnight' in developing countries. 'The plant requires water and nutrition like any other plant [even if it grows on degraded land],' he told SciDev.Net. 'And it takes at least five to seven years for the plants to mature and grow their first fruit. We can rule out expectations of a great 'overnight' yield.'"[5]
  • UN incineration plans rejected by world's rubbish-dump workers, 5 August 2010 by The Guardian: "The waste-pickers who scour the world's rubbish dumps and daily recycle thousands of tonnes of metal, paper and plastics are up in arms against the UN, which they claim is forcing them out of work and increasing climate change emissions."
    • "Their complaint, heard yesterday in Bonn where UN global climate change talks have resumed, is that the clean development mechanism (CDM), an ambitious climate finance scheme designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries, has led to dozens of giant waste-to-energy incinerators being built to burn municipal rubbish, as well as hundreds of new landfill schemes designed to collect methane gas."
    • "'Waste-pickers, who are some of the poorest people on earth, recover recyclable materials. They are invisible entrepreneurs on the frontline of climate change, earning a living from recovery and recycling, reducing demand for natural resources,' says Neil Tangri, director of Gaia, an alliance of 500 anti-incinerator groups in 80 countries."
    • "But they are being undermined by CDM projects, which deny them entry to dumps. This is leading to further stress and hardship for some of the poorest people in the world and is increasing emissions,' he said."
    • "Yesterday Gaia called for the CDM to stop approving incinerator waste to energy projects and to start investing climate funds in the informal recycling sector. This, he said, would increase employment and labour conditions while dramatically reducing emissions."[6]
  • Rainforests Lose Out in Senate's New Climate Bill, 18 May 2010 by Time: "The climate bill passed by the House of Representatives last June set an ambitious goal of conserving the carbon trapped in forests equal to 10% of U.S. emissions, and in doing so, set aside 5% of total emissions allowance value from carbon auctions, which could bring $3 to $5 billion a year, to the protection of forests in developing nations."
    • "But while the Kerry-Lieberman bill in the Senate has the same broad goal for conserving forests, it devotes no specific funds to stopping deforestation."
    • "The Senate bill also excludes private sector investment in rainforest conservation for the next 10 years. Under the House bill, private companies that invest in rainforest offsets — paying to keep trees standing in tropical countries — could generally claim credits against their carbon cap. Under the Senate bill, they won't be able to do so, for the most part, unless tropical nations already have a national or state-level deforestation cap in place, which will likely take years to develop."
    • "That's a major blow to the development of a global conservation process called REDD...which would allow developed countries to invest in rainforest protection in the tropical world in exchange for carbon credits."
    • "Although the Senate bill does give the President the authority to designate up to 5% of carbon revenue to deforestation or other international aims within the context of a global deal, which is meaningful, it's not as effective as specifically dedicating money to stop deforestation. Further, limiting REDD in a U.S. climate bill could make getting a global deal — already a near impossible challenge — even tougher. REDD was one of the few areas that showed glimmers of promise at the chaotic U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen last December....But as the Senate bill stands now, REDD could end up dead."[7]


  • CLIMATE CHANGE: Brazil Defends Biofuels, 9 December 2009 by IPS/TerraViva: "Being the world’s largest producer and exporter of ethanol it is natural for the Brazilian government and its partners to push biofuels as the only real alternative for a world trying wean itself away from fossil fuels that contribute to global warming."
    • "Brazilian authorities were ready with their arguments at the United Nations climate change summit"...."at pains to show that not only is biofuel production the best way to reduce greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions but can also combat poverty as exemplified by the country’s scheme to promote micro-distilleries to provide additional income for rural families."
    • "While admitting that "biofuels are no silver bullet," Brazilian authorities insist that biofuels are the best way forward for developing countries."[8]
Subsistence agriculture in developing Africa.
  • Standards proposed for REDD-plus, 12 October 2009 by carbonpositive: The Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) and CARE have produced the 'REDD+ SE' standard, "a qualitative approach setting out the basic principles a REDD programme would need to follow to ensure people’s rights and environmental impacts are properly recognised and accounted for. The eight principles, and criteria for the minimum requirements in meeting them, were identified in a series of stakeholder consultations run by CCBAand CARE this year." [9]
  • UN's forest protection scheme at risk from organised crime, experts warn, 5 October 2009 by "International police, politicians and conservationists warn that the UN's programme to cut carbon emissions by paying poor countries to preserve their forests is 'open to wide abuse'".
    • "...academics and environment groups with long experience working with the logging industry and indigenous communities said that both government and private schemes are being set up with no guarantees to protect communities who depend on the forests. 'Decisions are being rushed, communities are not consulted or compensated and the lure of money from cutting emissions is overiding everything,' says Rosalind Reeve of forestry watchdog group Global Witness."
International net loss and net gain in 'forest' by country for the period 1990-2005 (modified from the World Resources Institute)
  • `REDD plus' to give RI double benefits, 8 July 2009 by The Jakarta Post: "the REDD-plus...mechanism will pave the way for developing countries to seek greater incentives if they conserve forest areas, adopt sustainable environment management programs or plant new trees."
    • "Indonesia could be granted around US$15 billion worth financial incentives by avoiding forest destruction under the REDD mechanism."
    • "If Indonesia can manage only a fifth of its forest carbon potential, the country stands to make $3 billion per year based on current carbon prices."



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