Research has already shown that Brazilian soy biodiesel, European rye ethanol, European rapeseed biodiesel, and US corn ethanol all have a worse life cycle impact on the environment than petrol. Now two reports have been released that connect biofuels to increased food prices.
Biofuels are presented in rich countries as a solution to two crises: the climate crisis and the oil crisis. But they may not be a solution to either, and instead are contributing to a third: the current food crisis....(T)he most serious costs of these policies – deepening poverty and hunger, environmental degradation, and accelerating climate change – are being ‘dumped’ on developing countries.
In a related report from the World Bank, Biofuels: The Promise and the Risks, they state that liquid biofuels from agriculture have pushed up feedstock prices, increased competition for land and water, and resulted in a 60% increase in the price of maize from 2005 to 2007. The report goes on to suggest that first-generation biofuels have not lived up to their promise of reduced greenhouse gas emissions and reduced reliance on oil, but second-generation biofuels (from waste) hold more potential.