Friday, June 15, 2007

Biofuel or Food? A difficult choice

"Jean Ziegler, UN special rapporteur on the right to food, accused the European Union (EU), Japan and the United States of "total hypocrisy" for promoting biofuels to cut their own dependency on imported oil.

Fears over climate change have boosted the demand for alternative fuels in wealthy countries, but the rise of biofuel has been criticised by some who say it will put a squeeze on land needed for food."

"US food consumer prices, as measured by the government's Consumer Price Index, have risen from a year-over-year rate of 2.5 percent in September 2006 to 3.7 percent this past April.

The RFA-funded study found a US$1.00 increase in the price of gasoline will result in a 0.6 percent to 0.9 percent increase in consumer food prices compared a 0.3 percent jump resulting from a US$1.00 per bushel rise in the price of corn.

"One of the reasons why energy prices have a much larger impact on retail food prices than does the price of they affect the entire food system" ranging from production and transportation, said John Urbanchuk, author of the study and director of LECG, a financial consulting firm."

(Thanks Rania)

Two articles on the risks of engaging into biofuel production and the potential impact on food, poverty and migration. To really read this in context, look for previous posts about the decrease in food reserves and the increase in world food prices (Got Milk?, Cherchez le biofuel)

1 comment:

Bedouina said...

As you know, the whole biofuel effort is futile. It takes petrochemicals to produce biofuel.

Americans (and the rest of the world, but particularly Americans) need to reduce energy consumption. We have to cut back on driving around in these damned cars of ours.

Biofuel will not fix peak oil and it won't fix carbon emissions. But it is a great short term profit center for multi-national corporations, isn't it?