“The U.S. has led the fight to stem global hunger, now we are creating hunger,” said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute.
Series of the latest articles that provide almost everything you need to know about why ethanol and biofuels will not reduce global warming but simply drive up fuel and food costs.
By Stephen Leahy
BONN, Jun 5 (Tierramérica) – The adoption of international standards for the sustainable production of biofuels emerged as a controversial approach at the recent United Nations conference on biodiversity here.
The still-vague proposals suggest that they would “promote the sustainable production, conversion, use, and trade of biofuels”, and revolve around reducing “perverse incentives” like farm subsidies in Europe and the United States.
“In 33 years of ethanol production, Brazil has never bothered to set up sustainability standards,” said Camila Moreno, a researcher with the Brazilian environmental group Terra de Direitos.
Also known as agro-fuels, made from crops like maize, sugarcane and soybeans, they face criticism from those who blame them for the current global food crisis.
The biofuel market is also accused of aggravating the destruction of ecosystems by pushing other crops to cut down forests and expand the farming frontier. Indeed, halting the growing tide of extinctions of plant and animals species was the focus of the Bonn meeting. Continue reading
In response to the many questions and concerns about ethanol/biofuels and impacts on food prices and climate change here are the six or seven articles I’ve done on the subject in the past year.
“The U.S. has led the fight to stem global hunger, now we are creating hunger,” said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, an environmental think tank in Washington.
“Subsidising biofuels is just about the dumbest way to go.” –– Todd Litman, director of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute — Subsidies for 2007 est $13-$15 billion
“We consider sweet sorghum an ideal ’smart crop’ because it produces food as well as fuel,” said William Dar, director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics.
“It’s not just the World Bank, regional development agencies, progressive development groups in Europe and many countries are all investing in agrofuels,” says Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute,
“Cellulosic ethanol is just the next big money-maker for the agro-chemical and biotech corporations,” says Andrew Boswell of Biofuelwatch, a British environmental NGO.
By Stephen Leahy
Korcula, CROATIA, May 13 (IPS) –
A new crop that provides food, animal feed and fuel at the same time promises to help developing countries redirect money spent on oil imports to benefit their own farmers. Is sweet sorghum biofuel’s “holy grail”?
Biofuels are widely blamed for driving food prices higher, sparking food riots in many countries. At least 25 percent of the U.S. maize crop is diverted to biofuel, and extensive areas in Indonesia, Malaysia, China and Brazil are also devoted to growing fuel rather than food.
With sweet sorghum, however, only the stalks are used for biofuel production, while the grain is saved for food or livestock feed. It is not in high demand in the global food market, and thus has little impact on food prices and food security.
“We consider sweet sorghum an ideal ‘smart crop’ because it produces food as well as fuel,” said William Dar, director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). Continue reading