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World food prices up 75% due to biofuels?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
According to a leaked World Bank report, biofuels have forced up world food prices by 75%

Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Quote:
Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt.

President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that. (...)

Even successive droughts in Australia, calculates the report, have had a marginal impact. Instead, it argues that the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.
World Bank report: Biofuels force food prices rise by 75%

Quote:
The report argued that the European Union (EU) and U.S. drive for biofuels has put by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.

It will also serve to put pressure on U.S. and European governments which advocate switching to biofuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gas as well as dependence on imported oil.

Sources believed that the report was not published so as not to embarrass the U.S. government.
It wasn't India. Biofuels caused food crisis

Quote:
Remember, when US President George W Bush blamed India's prosperity for global food crisis? A few months back, President Bush in an interactive business session had argued that while prosperity in countries like India is good, it triggers increased demand for better nutrition, which in turn leads to higher food prices.

The comments came close on the heels of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's controversial statement that 'apparent improvement' in the diets of people in India and China is among the causes of the current global food crisis.
This article blatantly slants the report(s):

America causes food scarcity:WB

Quote:
The world food disaster and the sky rocketing inflation came only due to the increasing production of Biofuels in large quantity in America, which hiked the price to 75 per cent, the report said.
Before anybody starts screaming about anti-Americanism or anti-Western sentiment, consider al-Jazeera's article, which, like the Xinhua article quoted above, is fairly objective:

Biofuels "causing food price rises"

It seems to me that the U.S. and E.U. have to do a lot more to cut energy (especially oil) consumption than trying to assuage their conscience by increasing the use of biofuels.

People are starving while others complain about $4 a gallon gasoline. BTW, the average price of gasoline in Germany hit €1.60 a liter yesterday, which is $2.51 a liter at today's exchange rate, times 3.8 = $9.54 a gallon.

It would seem that U.S. and E.U. policies and statements are (bio)fueling some resentment.
post #2 of 12
Biofuels are not an answer to enery needs. They are having an impact on food prices because of increased grain prices which also increases the cost of meat and dairy. As it stands now it takes more energy to produce biofuels than we are getting back not to mention the increased demand for water and the resulting fuel is just as expensive as gas from fossil fuels. Add to not saving anything moneywise from ethanol it isn't as energy dense which means fewer miles per gallon and ethanol is actually more expensive to use. The corn lobby in the U.S. is very powerful and is one of the driving forces behind the use of corn for biofuels along with the widespread use of corn syrup as a sweetner.
post #3 of 12
You can make biofuels out of things other than corn and soybean. Switchgrass is native to the US and can be used in the production of biofuels. It is also very hardy and can be grown in places where corn and other crops may not grow so well.
post #4 of 12
I would say the meat-eating habits of many countries have a much more drastic effect on food (and gas) prices than biofuels, but it is interesting how the thing that was supposed to fix it has just made it worse.
post #5 of 12
The making of ethanol is one of the reasons the price of corn continues to rise. There are speculators for corn and other agricultural products just like there are for oil.
post #6 of 12
Biofuels are one of many reasons in combination that are creating the food crisis. Someone reminded me that there was a drought in Australia, which impacts world supply of wheat. High fuel prices impact the cost of production. The recent floods closed the Mississippi River, which impacted transportation. And remember, the product goes to the highest bidder, so the increase in wealth in China, India, and so forth enables them to purchase more from the total world supply.

Don't be so quick to blame "speculators." True speculators just follow the trend, whether it's up or down, they don't cause the trend. The largest portion of the futures markets are composed of the producers and users of the products, even if they never take delivery on their contracts (a strategy called hedging.) If you've got any family members growing crops on a family farm, consider that they're in the futures markets, too, either individually or through their cooperatives. So you'd be pointing a finger at them, too, if you're doing any pointing at speculators.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
According to a leaked World Bank report, biofuels have forced up world food prices by 75%

I'm not even going to pretend to understand this topic, but based on my growing grocery bill in proportion to what I am taking home from the grocery store, I'll have to agree wth that. The price of food is outrageous!
post #8 of 12
One somewhat ironic side effect of all this is that the Taliban are starting to grow wheat now instead of poppy to be made into heroin. Not because of pressure to stop making drugs but simply because they're starting to get more money that way now that the food prices are rising as much as they are.

An article on it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/13/afghanistan
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siggav View Post
One somewhat ironic side effect of all this is that the Taliban are starting to grow wheat now instead of poppy to be made into heroin. Not because of pressure to stop making drugs but simply because they're starting to get more money that way now that the food prices are rising as much as they are.

An article on it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/may/13/afghanistan
Sending prayers and vibes that the Afghan farmers have great success growing their wheat, getting it to market and not getting robbed of their hard-earned pay

What a shame for the rest of the world that biofuels have increased their hunger
post #10 of 12
Wow, that is great news.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Essayons89 View Post
You can make biofuels out of things other than corn and soybean. Switchgrass is native to the US and can be used in the production of biofuels. It is also very hardy and can be grown in places where corn and other crops may not grow so well.
Along those lines, I was wondering if this might be a way to get rid of kudzu...
post #12 of 12
good luck ever getting rid of kudzu
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