Biofuel policies in countries from Australia to the U.S. may push 120 million people into hunger by 2050 while doing little to halt climate change, said Mahendra Shah, an advisor to Qatar’s food security program.
So-called first-generation biofuels produced from commodity crops compete with food for land use and fertilizers, resulting in higher grain prices and increased deforestation, Shah said at the MENA Grains Summit in Istanbul today.
World food output will have to rise by at least 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population, according to Shah. The use of crops for biofuels is forecast to raise food prices by 30 percent to 50 percent in that period, Shah said, citing a study by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, or OFID.
I am not a fan of our corn ethanol policy as I made clear during the last food crisis (see “The Fuel on the Hill” and “Can words describe how bad corn ethanol is?” and “Let them eat biofuels!“). In a world of blatantly increasing food insecurity — driven by population, dietary trends, rising oil prices, and growing climate instability — America’s policy of burning one third of our corn crop in our engines (soon to be 37% or more) is becoming increasingly untenable, if not unconscionable.
Earlier this year, Bill Clinton warned that too much ethanol could lead to food riots (see “The Corn Ultimatum: How long can Americans keep burning one sixth the world’s corn supply in our cars?”
Now Bloomberg reports, “Biofuels May Push 120 Million Into Hunger, Qatar’s Shah Says.” Here’s more of that story: