The aid agency Oxfam said Wednesday that the all-beloved biofuels are to be blamed for 30% of the increase in food prices worldwide, pushing 30 million people around the globe into poverty.
Large communities of developing countries have gladly adopted biofuels lately and lethally, because this is the main cause that is lowering their grains stocks. They did that to escape the dependence of foreign oil, something that the US is also trying to do.
“Rich countries’ demands for more biofuels in their transport fuels are causing spiraling production and food inflation,” said Oxfam biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey. “Grain reserves are now at an all-time low.”
Oxfam called on rich countries to dismantle subsidies for biofuels and reduce the import tariffs they apply to the poor ones.
“Rich countries spent up to $15 billion last year supporting biofuels while blocking cheaper Brazilian ethanol, which is far less damaging for global food security,” Bailey’s report said.
The aid agency also urged the more-developed developed countries to cut off biofuels targets, including European Union’s plans to get 10% of its transport fuel from biofuels by 2020.
The EU has put up strict criterias to make sure that biofuels do not do any more harm than they help. Member states of the EU want those targets to be conditioned by the availability of second-generation biofuels from farm waste, timber waste and domestic waste on the market.
Oxfam estimates that by 2020, the carbon dioxide emissions from the palm oil sector in the EU will pass over 3.1 billion tons, largely as a result of their target. It would take over 46 years of biofuel use at 2020 levels to repay this “carbon debt”.
“Biofuels are taking over agricultural land and forcing farming to expand into lands that are important carbon sinks, like forests and wetlands,” the report said. “This triggers the release of carbon from soil and vegetation that will take decades to repay.”
Biofuels are not the solution to any of our energy problems today. Instead, they are mostly a temporary “patch” to the actual fossil fuel crisis. It’s also obvious that while those biofuels were appropriate for small use and made a few people happy, putting them on a larger scale destroys the most fragile economies, takes peoples’ food from their mouth and puts it into the richer people’s cars. It’s not fair this way, either. Humanity must accept energy forms and engine designs other than this inefficient and polluting ones.