Coming Together on Ethanol Mandates & Global Food Supply

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September 12, 2013

When the environment committee of the EU originally voted to cap biofuels convention, we explained the effects that using food for fuel has on food prices, food consumption and the world’s poor.

On Wednesday, September 11, the full European Parliament voted to reduce crop-based biofuels from 10 to 6 percent of energy consumption in transport by 2020 in order to mitigate the environmental and social impacts of biofuels production. This comes in the wake of research from the Joint Research Centre, the United Nations and Plos One that stress biofuels’ harmful impacts.

According to the EU’s own research, if biofuels received no EU policy support, the price of food stuffs would be 50 percent lower in Europe by 2020 than it is now, and a remarkable 15 percent lower around the world. New research suggests that there won’t be enough food to feed the world by 2050, in large part because of the diversion of land away from food growth to fuel production.

And hunger isn’t the only consequence. As countries continue to prioritize gas tanks over stomachs, food insecurity is causing outrage and instability. Food price spikes between 2007 and 2008 have been directly linked to more than 60 food riots in 30 countries, according to research completed by the New England Complex Systems Institute.

Europe gets it: biofuels policies are outdated and counterproductive. The ethanol mandate is working against its intended goals, helping only corn farmers and leaving the rest of the world to struggle with unintended consequences.

Demand change to this failing policy from our Congress.

Tags european union world hunger joint research centre united nation un plos one take action global stability new england complex systems institute