The RFS has global consequences that can mean life or death for hundreds of thousands of people around the world. Ethanol mandates that divert food into fuel are “a crime against humanity,” as Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food has stated.
In a globalized world, the expansion of the biofuels industry has contributed to spikes in food prices and a shortage of land for food-based agriculture in poor corners of Asia, Africa and Latin America because the raw material is grown wherever it is cheapest.
U.S. production of corn-based ethanol over the past six years — along with commodity trading speculation — has kept food prices artificially high, which has caused unrest in parts of the world that the Pentagon regards as strategic hotspots.
Food shortages across Africa, the Middle East and South America are the worst since the 1980s and have produced hunger and political instability. So perhaps this emergency is the time to relax the U.S. ethanol mandate, which diverts four of every 10 domestic bushels of corn into gas tanks.