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Biofuels And Food Production On Uncommon Ground

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumJuly 16, 2008 6:34 PM


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This week at Next Generation Energy we're taking on the question of input and output. Can we--and should we--balance the production of biofuels with food production? And to add complexity, I'm asked to forecast our transportation needs down the line and predict whether sustainable biofuels will play a role. Tall order, eh?

A recent world bank report leaked to The Guardian suggests that biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75%. But really, have biofuels acted independently? Doubtful. While it's possible their production has contributed to the high costs we're seeing today, the principle culprit is likely investors' over speculation in other markets.

And further down the page:

The thing is, we must come up with some other way of doing energy now. It's no longer just about a green environment... our cultural perspective has changed. For the first time, we're seeing shifts in behavior driven by fuel prices. As far as cars, bigger is no longer better, while compact and fuel efficient is sexy. As oil is nearing $150 per barrel, there's an economic incentive to make certain choices and we can either structure that in government through tax incentives or its going to happen regardless. We've passed peak oil and possibly peak coal... It's a brave new world.

I make the case why things have to fundamentally change or we won't move... Figurative and literally. But don't jump into the discussion before reading my full post here.


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