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food vs. fuel debate was overblown 8


The World Bank recently released a report reversing claims that wrongly faulted biofuels for food price increases.   
"As the first commercially available advanced biofuel available in the U.S., biodiesel plays an important role to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  Attempts to perpetuate a myth of food versus fuel are invalidated as World Bank identifies energy costs as the true price driver," said National Biodiesel Board CEO Joe Jobe 
The recent report, "Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective," drastically reduces estimates of biofuels impact on commodity prices.  World Bank economists now say that initial estimates were too high and note, "This paper concludes that a stronger link between energy and non-energy commodity prices is likely to be the dominant influence on developments in commodity, and especially food, markets."  The report also points out that biofuels only account for about 1.5 percent of global grains and oilseeds use.  
"Food price inflation of 2008 was all about energy price inflation and the oil shock - which is what biofuels aim to address by reducing our reliance on crude oil as the nation's nearly singular source of transportation fuel.  Since the initial study was the basis of opponent's claims, the new report deflates the hot air behind the tired food v fuel debate and reinforces that biodiesel provides a renewable alternative to petroleum without negatively impacting food markets," Jobe said. 
Real facts about biodiesel are often overlooked. Consider:   
  • In 2008 the global economy saw significant food price inflation which corresponded with an oil shock that saw oil more than double in 12 months to $147/bbl.  From April 2008 to September 2008, oil then dropped from $147/bbl to $33/bbl. Predictably food prices eventually followed.  Since then, global biofuels volumes have steadily increased yet food prices have stayed moderated.  
  • Biodiesel made from soybean oil creates a new market for soybean oil, which is coproduced when a bean is ground for its 80 percent meal.  This increases the total bean value and makes the meal portion more cost competitive for protein markets, which has a net positive impact on the food supply.
  • Biodiesel is the most diverse fuel on the planet, made from a wide variety of regionally abundant by-products of crop and livestock production.  Biodiesel has the highest fossil energy balance of any domestic fuel, has the highest energy content of any alternative fuel, and offers the best greenhouse gas reduction of any domestic liquid transportation fuel.
Original article at biodiesel.org
Fri August 27 2010 10:16:41 AM by Abomohra 1598 views

Comments - 8

  • Mahesh wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 12:37:01 PM

    Thanks for the interesting and important info..

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Natalia wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 12:58:51 PM

    Its s;ome kind of a relief. But when the fuel prices go up, food which needs to be trasported, also goes up in price.

    When the food price goes up beyond a level it hurts the poor no end.
    It doesnt hurt those that use fuel for travelling. It hurts the poor in third world countries. Fuel prices add to the inflation of food prices.
    If fuel is grown instead of food or if the food grown is sold for fuel, food is going to be scarce.
    We have an evergrowing population already at 6 billion and we have limited cultivable land.
    Whatever the world bank says, we need to be careful in using arable land for cultivation for fuel.
    Using fresh water for cultivation for fuel.

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 0

  • Larsyn wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 05:36:00 PM

    At the rate that GM corn is grown if all the GM corn was used for fuel & the natrural corn used for food we would all starve to death.

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Arden wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 08:05:59 PM

    Larsyn

    GM corn is a better idea for fuel in my opinion.
    There are two benefits. One the side effects of GM on human body is avoided. Using GM more corn is grown in a given acre and is used for fuel.
    This is much better than regular corn grown in a regular field, using fresh water and using the corn for fuel.

    Vote Up! 0 Vote Down! 0

  • Aathmika wrote:
    Fri August 27 2010 08:54:43 PM

    In India, the Government is struggling hard to bring down the food prices. It hurts a very large population and there is no way India can afford to anything that can adversely affect the food prices.

    Vote Up! 2 Vote Down! 0

  • Richard wrote:
    Sat August 28 2010 12:51:46 AM

    It is an epic competition between 800 million people with automobiles and the 2 billion poor people.

    Who will hold sway !?


    On the otherhand, if you can make beer from rice or barley, why not make ethanol from corn ?

    Vote Up! 1 Vote Down! 0

  • Amanda wrote:
    Sun August 29 2010 07:55:58 AM

    Actually the problem is so acute in poverty ridden third world countries, the food vs fuel debate can never be overblown.
    Till such time three square meals are made available to all human beings.

    Vote Up! 4 Vote Down! 0

  • Krupali wrote:
    Mon August 30 2010 03:46:03 AM

    The author Mr Ashwani Kumar
    argues that the key problem is uncontrolled Population growth.
    read more

    The debate of food vs fuel is an excuse for putting lame excuses for our failures to retain productivity level of the farmlands, irregular practices of growing crops in the areas where they should not be grown .i.e. growing rice in areas which is not its ?natural home?, introducing plants in ecological zones not adapted to receive ?strangers plants?

    over exploitation of ground water, deep drilling and forgetting traditional agricultural patterns and knowledge. When we started our work on bio-fuel plants we concentrated on plants which are able to grow at temperatures of 48 degree with almost not moisture in air and rainfall 5 to 35 mm only with sandy soils. Calotropis procera is an example of such choice, Euphorbia tirucalli and Euphorbia antisyphilitica could be second in line which require somewhat better conditions. Each country has in its inventory plants which can withstand adverse climatic conditions including hot arid as well as cold arid climates. From the inventory of such plants we developed agro-technology to raise them in desert conditions. Nowhere we ever ventured to tread the path of agriculture. In contrast to this the developed world concentrated on set aside lands. In both the situations there is not competition with the agriculture as I am not aware of any biofuel crop . Even the latest important plant Jatropha is no where grown in India as agricultural crop to the best of my knowledge. We have participated and provided valuable information from amongst the team of dedicated scientists who worked in various programmes of Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India. The foul cry of food vs fuel is creating diversion from the real crisis which we are facing of growing populations and reducing agriculture land area and productivity and not the result of food vs fuel.

    http://www.science20.com/humboldt_fellow_and_science/blog/debate_food_vs_fuel

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