Biofuels and the Food Price Crisis: A Survey of the Issues
AbstractWhile the precise contribution of biofuels to surging food prices is difficult to know, policies promoting production of the current generation of biofuels are not achieving their stated objectives of increased energy independence or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Reaching the congressionally mandated goal of blending 15 billion gallons of renewable fuels in gasoline by 2015 would consume roughly 40 percent of the corn crop (based on recent production levels) while replacing just 7 percent of current gasoline consumption. Moreover, while it has long been known that the net energy and greenhouse gas emission benefits of corn-based ethanol are relatively small because its production is energy-intensive, recent scientific studies suggest that the current generation of biofuels, including biodiesel made from palm oil, soybeans, and rapeseed, as well as corn-based ethanol, actually add to greenhouse gas emissions relative to petroleum-based fuels when land use changes are taken into account. That is, greenhouse gases are released when forests are cut down or grasslands cleared to plant biofuels, or food is planted on new acreage to replace crops diverted to fuel elsewhere. In sum, the food crisis adds urgency to the need to change these policies but does not change the basic fact that there is little justification for the current set of policies.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Center for Global Development in its series Working Papers with number 151.
Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2008
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.cgdev.org
food crisis; ethanol; biofuels; greenhouse gas emissions;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-AGR-2008-08-21 (Agricultural Economics)
- NEP-ALL-2008-08-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2008-08-21 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2008-08-21 (Environmental Economics)
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Nora Lustig, 2009.
"Coping with Rising Food Prices: Policy Dilemmas in the Developing World,"
- Nora Lustig, 2009. "Coping with Rising Food Prices: Policy Dilemmas in the Developing World," Working Papers 164, Center for Global Development.
- Nora Lustig, 2009. "Coping with Rising Food Prices: Policy Dilemmas in the Developing World," Working Papers 0907, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
- Nora Lustig, 2009. "Coping with Rising Food Prices: Policy Dilemmas in the Developing World," Working Papers 2009-04, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
- Franz Nauschnigg & Otto Penz, 2009. "Preiseffekte der Agrartreibstoffproduktion (Kommentar)," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 35(2), pages 265-282.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Roodman).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.