Biofuels, food prices and deforestation

by Antonio Pasolini on January 13, 2009

men-with-money1.jpgI came across this article recently and I thought it was well worth sharing, despite this article being old hat in media time. The Guardian newspaper had access to a leaked internal report by the World Bank claiming that biofuels may be responsible for up to 75 percent of recent rises in food prices.

Even environmental groups haven’t gone that far in their estimates. More and more corn is ending up in fuel tanks rather than on plates.

The article also quotes World Bank President Robert Zoellick who believes action needs to be taken.

“What we are witnessing is not a natural disaster – a silent tsunami or a perfect storm. It is a man-made catastrophe, and as such must be fixed by people.”

It seems that the World Bank’s solution to the problem is simple: stop producing biofuels.

However, it’s not just food prices that have condemned biofuels. Deforestation is another very undesirable effect of the production of this type of fuel as farmers in developing countries cut down carbon-soaking forests to make way for biofuel monocultures. Besides, some fertilizers used in the production of grains for biofuels release nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, a greenhouse gas that is up to 300 times more harmful than CO2.

The World Bank tried to play down a bit the message in the report once it had leaked, but I guess a little too late. Since the date of the publication of this report last year, biofuels have come under increasing attack so now it’s a established fact that they are not an option in fighting climate change.

Related Posts:

  • No Related Posts Found! Go find some...

Previous post:

Next post: