Tag Archives: food vs. fuel

Can Stopping Ethanol Solve the Current Food Crisis?

President Bush spoke out last week on the global food crisis, suggesting that reducing trade barriers would help increase food supplies. We’re also urging countries that have instituted restrictions on agricultural exports to lift those restrictions. Some countries are preventing needed food from getting to market in the first place, and we call upon them to end those restrictions to help ease suffering for those who aren’t getting food. “We’re also urging countries to remove Read More >

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The 15 Percent Solution

Politicians are now beginning to call for a repeal of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) recently announced that she would introduce legislation to freeze the biofuel mandate at current levels, saying, “Expanding biofuels while refusing to take other measures, such as lifting the ban on oil and natural gas production in Alaska and the Outer Continental Shelf, is counterproductive.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) also asked for a 50 percent Read More >

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Questioning the Relationship Between Biofuels and Food Costs

A new study released by Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center undermines one of the key assumptions used in the studies that attributed a huge “carbon debt” to biofuels. The assumption used by Searchinger et al. is that biofuel production increases the cost of all commodity grains, encouraging countries to convert additional land – such as rainforest, peat land, and savannah – to agricultural production. The Searchinger paper calculates that agricultural production will have Read More >

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Uncontrollable Forces

Two editorials in the New York Times this week have claimed that rising oil prices are “uncontrollable forces” and “not anyone’s fault.” (See The World Food Crisis, 4/10/08 and Grains Gone Wild, Paul Krugman, 4/7/08). The implication is that biofuel policy in the United States IS controllable – and eliminating use of food crops for biofuels will allow U.S. grains to fill markets throughout the world. This scenario ignores the effect that oil prices have Read More >

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Do Biofuels Always Bring Rainforest Destruction?

The debate over “carbon debt” created by changes in land use has recently expanded to include the issue of competition between food and fuel and its effect on developing countries. David Tilman of the University of Minnesota, one of the lead authors of the “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt” article in Science, recently held an interview with Newsweek magazine in which he says, In order to grow biofuels, farmers have gone to fertile Read More >

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