In the environment of rising oil prices and issues of climate change looming large, rich countries needed to wean themselves off dependence on fossil fuels.
Biofuels seemed like a sure winner – firstly, because supporting biofuels meant supporting domestic agricultural industries.
Biofuels: Even More Greenhouse Gases and Still Not Enough Fuel? Recent research published in Science magazine also suggests that when land-use changes are taken into account, production of corn-based ethanol actually leads to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions because farmers are starting to plant on land that had previously been protected under a land conservation programme.
Furthermore, even if the entire corn crop in the United States were used to make ethanol, that fuel would replace only 12 percent of current U. Similarly, the diversion of cropland from food to fuel will lead to even more grasslands and forests being cleared to meet both the growing demand for biofuel and food.
“Many of these subsidies are poorly coordinated and targeted,” says Simon Upton, director of the Global Subsidies Initiative, regarding such across-the-board biofuel policies in the western world.Fuel-friendly Policies over Food Security A Goldman Sachs report says that forty-one countries are currently pursuing policies to promote the use of biofuels over the next decade.If implemented in full, these policies would increase global biofuel demand from 10 billion gallons per year in 2005 to 25 billion gallons per year by 2010, a 20 percent annualized growth rate.While well intended, these across-the-board policies have had major implications on the world’s food supply as our food needs become increasingly tied to our energy needs. Biofuels come from various sources – ethanol from corn, sugar beets or sugarcane, oils from seeds and grains such as the oil palm, rapeseed or soybean.These feedstocks can be burned to yield energy in our cars and factories.However, rather than promote the use of the most efficient food crops as biofuels, the primary motivation for these blanket policies in the western world is typically to secure the supply of energy and increase self-sufficiency.