As the global food crisis worsens, the aid agency Oxfam has warned that the replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people into poverty.

Oxfam has re-iterated what many people have been saying for a while that so-called “green policies” in developed countries are contributing to the world’s soaring food prices, which hit the poor hardest.

Also the aid agency is arguing that biofuels will do nothing to combat climate change. Because of this its report urges the EU to scrap a target of making 10% of all transport run on renewable resources by 2020. Oxfam actually estimates the EU’s target could multiply carbon emissions 70-fold by 2020 by changing the use of land.

The report’s author, Oxfam’s biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey, criticised rich countries for using subsidies and tax breaks to encourage the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol. “If the fuel value for a crop exceeds its food value, then it will be used for fuel instead. Rich countries… are making climate change worse, not better, they are stealing crops and land away from food production, and they are destroying millions of livelihoods in the process.”

But will the politicians listen to Oxfam? I doubt it…

One Comment

  • Yes, it doesn’t make sense to grow food to make fuel, especially if it takes more energy to make the product than what energy you get out of it. Fuel from scraps makes sense however, but there is currently no infrastructure to support such a thing. Small companies like Solazyme are looking into making a product that can serve as a fuel AND a food.
    Do we really want to force 30 million into starvation just so we can have a cheaper fill-up at the gas station?

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