November 19, 2012
The European Commission’s proposals to cut back on the biofuels section of its renewable energy policy is a wise move. In an atmosphere of undoubtedly increasing tension over global food security such policies operated
without flexibility are inevitably going to be a political liability. To the politically simple-minded converting food and feed grains into motor fuel when a billion or more people are starving appears immoral. The fact that European
and world agricultural industries are well able to absorb both the demand for biofuel use and for food is beside the point. Food availability is not the problem. Mass starvation can only be cured by the provision of cash – to move food from surplus to serious deficit areas. But what matters is the apparent political unacceptability of the conversion of food crops into fuels.
In reality the policy is both economic and environmental nonsense. In terms of GHG emissions and distortions of agricultural product and farm input markets, maintaining inflexible […]