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Breaking the Link between Food and Biofuels

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  • Bruce A. Babcock

Abstract

Production of biofuels from feedstocks that are diverted from food production or that are grown on land that could grow crops has two important drawbacks: higher food prices and decreased reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. If U.S. policy were to change and place greater emphasis on food prices and greenhouse gas reductions, then we would transition away from current feedstocks toward those that do not reduce our ability to produce food. Examples of such feedstocks include crop residues, algae, municipal waste, jatropha grown on degraded land, and by-products of edible oil production. Policy options that would encourage use of these alternative feedstocks include placing a hard cap on ethanol and biodiesel production that comes from corn and refined vegetable oil, thereby forcing growth in biofuel production to come from alternative feedstocks; differentiation of tax credits and subsidies so that the alternative feedstocks receive a higher incentive than do corn and refined vegetable oil; and greatly increased funding for research to hasten the feasibility of producing and refining alternative feedstocks.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce A. Babcock, 2008. "Breaking the Link between Food and Biofuels," Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Publications 08-bp53, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at Iowa State University.
  • Handle: RePEc:ias:cpaper:08-bp53
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rajcaniova, Miroslava & Drabik, Dusan & Ciaian, Pavel, 2011. "International Interlinkages of Biofuel Prices: The Role of Biofuel Policies," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 103222, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Bureau, Jean-Christophe & Treguer, David & Valin, Hugo, 2010. "Biofuel Programs And Farm Support: New Tools For Old Policies?," 14th ICABR Conference, June 16-18, 2010, Ravello, Italy 188081, International Consortium on Applied Bioeconomy Research (ICABR).
    3. Nikos Alexandratos, 2008. "Food Price Surges: Possible Causes, Past Experience, and Longer Term Relevance," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 34(4), pages 663-697.
    4. Jensen, Kimberly L. & Clark, Christopher D. & English, Burton C. & Menard, R. Jamey & Skahan, Denise K. & Marra, Adrienne C., 2010. "Willingness to pay for E85 from corn, switchgrass, and wood residues," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1253-1262, November.
    5. Wang, Qizhi & Chidmi, Benaissa, 2009. "Cotton Price Risk Management across Different Countries," 2009 Annual Meeting, January 31-February 3, 2009, Atlanta, Georgia 46762, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    biofuels; feedstocks; food prices; policy.;

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