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Biofuels, food cost, and affluence
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A very interesting article by Mark Clayton of the Christian Science Monitor outlining the complexity of discussing the impact of biofuels on food markets. There are, as expected, arguments on both sides, but as you'll see, regardless of the amount of impact you believe biofuels are having on food prices, it is clear the price of food is rising and will probably continue to rise. RTWT.
 
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While the world’s attention is currently on oil, the "new" oils of the future are food and water. Increasing populations, as shown in the article, will continue to drive the need for crops up. Obscuring this needed increase will be the relatively new emphasis on bio-fuels. There has been much discussion, even within this blog, of the cost (in crop and fuel costs) of bio-fuels versus the resultant energy derived by the product. Regarless of that factor, governmental interference forcing the use of crops to fix a broken energy market will skew the market arbitrarily. Whether the direction of that skew be a "good" one or not has yet to be seen. (Has anyone ever seen governmental interference in markets result in a positive?)
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I was just in China, and there is fear that migrant workers from interior provinces might stay at home this year and farm instead as the wage is about the same.

 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
A related problem is that with increasing affluence across the world the demand for meat is increasing, which, in turn, increases the demand for crops, i.e., feed.

Easy way to solve the problem (and reduce methane): Go veg!
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
i got a idea get rid of subsidies for corn. and make biofuels our of switch grass. which is cheaper than corn and needs less water.
http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/switgrs.html
 
Written By: SLNTAX
URL: http://
Go veg!
Hell No!
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Easy way to solve the problem (and reduce methane): Go veg!
And watch rates of obesity go up even more.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
i got a idea get rid of subsidies for corn...
Yes, you would think that in today’s higher price market it would be counter-intuitive to keep paying farmers to not grow a cash crop. This is government bureaucracy, however. Since when has it ever done the logical thing?

Unfortunately, grain commodity prices will have to continue rising beyond a threshold where it becomes significantly more profitable to decline the subsidy and plant a crop. Anyone aggie savvy out there know the $/bushel where that happens?
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Easy way to solve the problem (and reduce methane): Go veg!
h’mmmmmmmIF "veg" were so INTRINSICALLY appealing or obviously correct, why is it that as people get more affluent they eat more meat? You’d think that all them 3rd worlders a’eat’n little animal protein would just keep doing the right thing! And yet, that ole’ "false consciousness" just kicks in I guess.

Here’s a pln, let’s shott 75% of the meat animals on the planet and save ourselves....MAKE everyone go "veg"...except for the Earth First cadre who need the proteein as good stewards of the Earth.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
i got a idea get rid of subsidies for corn. and make biofuels our of switch grass. which is cheaper than corn and needs less water.
On paper, cellulosic ethanol seems like the way to go, but its some R&D away from broad implimentation.

On the otherhand, people seem eager to euthanize ethanol entirely in its infancy even though it took cars 20+ years to get to the level of the Model T.
 
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://

 
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