Biofuel bollocks

When fuel and food compete for the same resources, and there is a shortage, then you wouldn’t be able to find a single economist who would tell you that prices would not be affected for fuel, food or both as they compete for inputs.

The only way to solve that would be to regulate the market, and nothing good can come of that either.

Bioenergy produced from crops does not threaten food supplies, researchers funded by the US government, World Bank and others say in a report, dealing a potential blow to critics of the country’s biofuels program.

There is no clear relationship between biofuels and higher prices that threaten access to food, as some prior analysis has suggested, according to the research partly funded by the US Department of Energy.

“There may not be as tight a link as people think” between commodities prices and food security, Siwa Msangi, a co-author of the paper and senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Environmentalists and others have long argued that the increased use of ethanol, produced from corn in the US and sugarcane in Brazil, threatens global food security, which the World Health Organisation defines as “access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food”.  

A 2012 drought in the US that slashed corn output, for example, caused ethanol plants to shutter or reduce output but there was not a notable change in food prices, the report said.

Policymakers including US senators Pat Toomey and Dianne Feinstein have criticised a more than decade-old biofuels program that requires increasing amounts of renewable fuels be blended with petrol and diesel.

The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was created in 2005 in a bid to reduce dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions, but has been mired in a years-long debate between biofuels advocates, environmentalists and oil companies.

Research shows the standard has caused grasslands and wetlands to be converted into farms to produce biofuels, said Emily Cassidy, a research analyst with the Environmental Work Group, which has criticised the RFS.

“Most biofuels are made from food, like corn and soy, which competes for feed and animal feed production. That ultimately has a big impact on markets,” Cassidy said.

All of that belies the fact that biofuels have caused food shortages, because why would you sell your feedstock at a lower price for food when you can command a premium price for turning it into fuel? Simple economics makes this report next to useless…which is probably why the next to useless Newshub ran with it.

 

-Newshub


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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