The British charity warns that biofuels have in fact become a major cause of the food shortage and hunger crisis is likely to get worse. Industrial biofuels are currently made from maize, wheat, sugar cane and oil seeds such as palm oil, soy and rapeseed.
“The rapidly rising demand for crops for fuel has put them into competition with those grown for food, driving food prices higher and affecting what and how much people eat in developing countries,” ActionAid noted.
This is a significant issue in a world where a billion people are already going hungry. But despite such threats, in 2008 European Union member states committed themselves to obtaining 10 per cent of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020.
Member states will fill almost all of this commitment through industrial biofuels, meaning the 10 per cent target is, in effect, a biofuels target. Consumption of industrial biofuels in the EU will jump four-fold, ActionAid forecasts. As much as two-thirds are likely to be imported, the majority from developing countries.
Seems a shame that two good and worthy causes have to be at loggerheads … surely there’s a way to keep people from starving and also take care of the planet. In fact, many anti-poverty and anti-hunger folks argue that global warming disproportionately affects the poor because they depend more heavily on the land and now once prime agricultural land is becoming useless as the climate changes. But this solution from the EU to slow down global warming maybe perhaps have some unforeseen consequences — and it seems more than a bit contradictory that the demand for biofuels (which is supposed to counteract climate change) allows for the re-appropriation of grasslands, forests, etc for cultivation, a process which in itself is a driver of global warming.
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Full story at: ActionAid Accuses EU of Fuelling Hunger With Biofuels.