Cyberwanderer’s Blog

February 25, 2008

Biofuel could contribute to world hunger

starvation.jpgEver since I heard Bush pronounce his support for biofuel in Brazil, I can’t help but wonder how that would affect world food supply. BBC is reporting today that UN might soon have to ration food in their aid program, due to sky rocketing prices of food worldwide. As agriculture lands are diverted to produce biofuels instead of producing crops for foods, it will surely increase prices of food. This would make basic food even more unaffordable for those living in poverty. It will just add to the factors already mentioned by UN in today’s BBC news.

CBC has an “In depth” article about the international food aid program. It cites reduced food supply due to drought (resulting from climate change) that could contribute to crop losses. Another factor that can have catastrophic consequence is conversion of agriculture lands.

But environment and food security campaigners warn that the expected switch from food crops to biofuel crops could have a devastating effect for the world’s hungry population.

“The impact on global food supply will be catastrophic: [it will be] big enough to tip the global balance from net surplus to net deficit,” British activist George Monbiot wrote of biofuel development.

“If, as some environmentalists demand, it is to happen worldwide, then most of the arable surface of the planet will be deployed to produce food for cars, not people.”

Convincing Brazil and other third world countries to forego their rush to produce crops for ethanol and biofuel might be hard since the profit that can be made is much bigger. Electric cars along with wind, solar or nuclear energy generation might be a better option and it might be prudent to discourage biofuel early on before it is too late.

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