Republicans backtrack, call for end to ethanol requirements in gas
September 2, 2008
"The U.S. government should end mandates for ethanol and let the free market work," said a statement laying out policy positions for the party. The resolution was passed unanimously.
The move comes as criticism of American and European policies on biofuels mounts. In July a report from the OECD, the club of industrialized nations, said that government support of biofuel production in rich countries is squandering vast amounts of amounts of money while exacerbating the global food crisis and failing to meaningfully curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security. The report reached similar conclusions as earlier assessments by the U.N. and World Bank.
Nevertheless supporters of ethanol claim the fuel source reduces foreign dependence on oil and has helped limit increases in gas prices. In July the biofuels industry formed a lobby group — the Alliance for Abundant Food and Energy — to influence lawmakers and the general public. The group will spend "in the multimillions" to promote genetically modified crops to improve crops yields and will lobby Congress to keep subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel production in place.
More ethanol news
Biofuels can reduce emissions, but not when grown in place of rainforests
(7/22/2008) Biofuels meant to help alleviate greenhouse gas emissions may be in fact contributing to climate change when grown on converted tropical forest lands, warns a comprehensive study published earlier this month in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Analyzing the carbon debt for biofuel crops grown in ecosystems around the world, Holly Gibbs and colleagues report that "while expansion of biofuels into productive tropical ecosystems will always lead to net carbon emissions for decades to centuries... [expansion] into degraded or already cultivated land will provide almost immediate carbon savings." The results suggest that under the right conditions, biofuels could be part of the effort to reduce humanity's carbon footprint.
Beyond high food prices, little to show for $11B/yr in biofuel support, says OECD report
(7/17/2008) Government support of biofuel production in rich countries is squandering vast amounts of amounts of money while exacerbating the global food crisis and failing to meaningfully curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security, alleges a new report from the OECD, the club of industrialized nations.
Britain urges 'cautious approach' on biofuels
(7/7/2008) Britain and the E.U. should exercise caution in pushing for wider use of biofuels, warns a new study commissioned by the U.K. government.
Biofuel production on abandoned lands could meet 8% of global energy needs
(6/23/2008) Using abandoned agricultural lands for biofuel production could help meet up to 8 percent of global energy needs without compromising food supplies or diminishing biologically-rich habitats, reports a new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
U.S. may allow corn farming on conservation land
(6/23/2008) The U.S. Department of Agriculture may allow farmers to plant corn on million of acres of conservation land to bolster the food supply in response to flooding in the Midwest and record high prices spurred by demand for domestic ethanol production, according to a report in the New York Times.
Global Commodities Boom Fuels New Assault on Amazon
(6/20/2008) With soaring prices for agricultural goods and new demand for biofuels, the clearing of the world's largest rain forest has accelerated dramatically. Unless forceful measures are taken, half of the Brazilian Amazon could be cut, burned or dried out within 20 years.
Nestle Chairman: Biofuels are "ethically indefensible"
(6/14/2008) The emergence and expansion of biofuels produced from food crops has exacerabted world's agriculture and water crisis and is a bigger short-term threat than global warming, argued Peter Brabeck-Letmathe in an editorial published Thursday in the Wall Street Journal Asia.
Global ban on biofuels would lead to immediate decline in food prices
(5/16/2008) A global moratorium on biofuels produced from food crops would result in a significant decline in the price of corn, sugar, cassava and wheat by 2010, reports the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
Record food prices to climb through 2010
(3/6/2008) The U.N. expects record high food prices to continue through 2010, driving hunger and poverty in the world's poorest countries, said a top U.N. official Thursday.
UN: biofuels are starving the poor by driving up food prices
(2/14/2008) Echoing sentiments increasingly expressed by politicians, scientists, and advocates for the poor, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned that the world's poorest people are suffering as a result of the push to use food crops for biofuel production.