Last update : 28.10.2010
Meals per gallon: The impact of industrial biofuels on people and global hunger
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Industrial biofuels – fuels made on an industrial scale from agricultural crops – have been put forward as an answer to energy security, climate change and rural development. ActionAid believes they are unlikely to be the solution to any of these challenges. In fact they have been a major cause of the food and hunger crisis, which is set 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. This is a significant issue in a world where a billion people are already going hungry. Despite this, in 2008 European Union (EU) member states committed themselves to obtaining 10% of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020. Member states will fill almost all of this commitment through industrial biofuels, meaning the 10% target is, in effect, a biofuels target. Consumption of industrial biofuels in the EU will jump four-fold. As much as two-thirds are likely to be imported, the majority from developing countries. The case against industrial biofuels has been mounting for a number of years. This is borne out by evidence in this report, collected from the countries in which ActionAid works. This report focuses on three main broad impacts: 1) implications for food prices and hunger, 2) local impacts and hunger, and 3) making climate change and hunger worse.
Added on 16 February 2010
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