Studies Question Link Between Biofuel, High Food Prices

February 04, 2008 10:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Global food prices are increasing and biofuel production may in part be to blame. New technology could hold the answer to food and energy needs.

30-Second Summary

As the United States tries to reduce dependence on foreign oil, it turns to biofuel alternatives such as corn-based ethanol and biodiesel made from soybeans to satisfy energy needs.

Critics say that increased demand for corn and soybeans is raising food prices worldwide. Grain supplies are at record lows and prices are approaching record highs.

According to Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, if more crops are used for fuel production instead of food, the result could be global food insecurity.

However, growing countries like China and India are also affecting food markets. Their demands for products such as meat and dairy are increasing.

In addition, corn growers and the biofuels industry state that energy costs associated with growing and transporting crops play a larger role in food prices than the cost of corn.

Meanwhile, European countries and energy companies are looking to second generation biofuel, which uses plant waste instead of grains and vegetable oil, as an alternative to current biofuels. The required technology for second generation production, however, is still a few years out.

Headline Link: ‘As Global Food Costs Rise, Are Biofuels to Blame?’

Background: Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

Opinions: Food and the energy market

Reactions: Global anger over food prices

Related Links: Europe's environmental focus and second generation biofuel


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