So how illogical is it that we are spending billions of dollars on policies that don’t work? And I’m not talking about the war in Iraq, either. I am talking biofuels. A new report by the OECD argues that massive biofuel subsidies are not helping to cut greenhouse gases, or help energy security. All they are doing is pushing up world food prices
The US, EU and Canada spent some $11 billion in public money to support energy crops in 2006. But this failed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transport by more than 1 percent, the OECD said.
Despite the fact that biofuels are not working, and are making people starve, their use will more than double that over the next 10 years. The OECD recommends that governments would see more savings from a lower-cost push toward cutting energy use overall.
And then there is their impact on food prices. According to the OECD, current biofuel support measures alone are estimated to increase average wheat prices by about 5 percent, maize by around 7 percent and vegetable oil by about 19 percent over the next 10 years.
Taking into account the 2007 US Energy Independence and Security Act and the proposed EU Directive for Renewable Energy, 13 percent of world grain production and 20 percent of world vegetable oil production could shift to biofuel production in the next 10 years, up significantly from today. Imagine what that would do to world food prices?
Meanwhile the report estimates that biofuel support costs between USD 960 to USD 1700 per tonne of greenhouse gases saved.
Surely there are better and more cost effective ways to save the planet?