Grist: Europe says its own biofuels policies increase food costs 50%, drive deforestation

September 10, 2013

Glenn Hurowitz, September 9 – Two new studies that came out in Europe during the last couple of days show that biofuel mandates are causing consumers far more pocketbook pain – and contributing more to deforestation and climate pollution – than even previous studies suggested.

The European Union’s own Joint Research Center found that Europe’s biofuels mandates are dramatically driving up food prices. Here’s the summary from Euractiv:

“If biofuels received no EU policy support, the price of food stuffs such as vegetable oil would be 50% lower in Europe by 2020 than at present – and 15% lower elsewhere in the world – according to new research by the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC)….

When more soy and palm oil are used for biofuels production, less is available for food use and the resulting scarcity drives food price inflation.

'Given that more than half of the vegetable oils are used for biodiesel production in the base (business as usual scenario) in 2020, any decrease in biodiesel production strongly affects the vegetable oil market,' the JRC study says.

Under the EU’s proposed cap on first generation biofuels, vegetable oil use for biodiesel would be 28% lower than in a business as usual scenario. And if the biofuels policy were scrapped, the decrease could reach 75%.”

As if the cost to consumers wasn’t bad enough, another study from the respected International Institute for Sustainable Development was published today showing that EU biofuels policy is causing Europe to use far more palm oil than anyone possibly imagined, a whopping  365 percent increase in palm oil biofuels use in the last six years.