News Column

Fuel Crops Displacing Vital Food Plants

Nov. 14, 2012

THE "biofuel bubble" is ready to burst because fuel crops are displacing crops that are vitally needed for global food production, a Welsh academic has said.

Denis Murphy, professor of biotechnology at University of Glamorgan, who is also biotechnology adviser to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation said: "Biofuels only came into existence because of a mass of government subsidies since 2000 to meet climate change requirements.

"And they have contributed to food insecurity by driving up the prices of staple commodities and can only meet a small fraction of our energy needs.

"Bioethanol is the main culprit and the biofuel bubble burst in South-East Asia in 2010 when prices stopped rising and people lost confidence and 80 to 90% of planned refineries have been mothballed.

"And the second generation of biofuels from grasses are decades away from reality.

"The drought this summer in the USA has affected the grain price and compounded the issue.

"And just a few weeks ago, Europe decided to abandon its previous biofuel targets which are now 5% instead of 10% and subsidies will end after 2020."

Source: (C) 2012 Western Mail. via ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved

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