News briefs: Biofuels and ivory

Posted by Laura Grant on October 30, 2008
Posted in Green News

  • African governments need to prioritise the “new challenge” presented by biofuels as the continent’s arable land is increasingly being used to grow crops for biofuels instead of food, South Africa’s new president, Kgalema Motlanthe, reportedly told African leaders at the African Peer Review Forum in Benin over the weekend. [BuaNews] He said he did not oppose the production of biofuels. But in some cases the potential for cleaner energy was being put before considerations of widespread hunger and opportunities from other types of land use. He said biofuels projects should be located within broader land reform strategies that needed to be developed and driven by African governments and peoples themselves.
  • The Namibian government sold 7.2 tons of ivory for $1.2 million in Tuesday’s auction – an average price of $164 a kilo, according to Reuters. The price was apparently much lower than experts had predicted – predictions had ranged from $300 to $800 a kilo, the report said. Nonetheless, The Namibian reports that the Namibian government was pleased with the money generated. About 2 tonnes of the stockpiled ivory was not sold because it was of poor quality, say reports. The money will be put into the Namibian environment ministry’s Game Product Trust Fund, which funds conservation work, the Namibian says. The next ivory auction will be in Botswana tomorrow. And the debate continues over whether such auctions will help elephant conservation or lead to more poaching.

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