A few years ago, the biofuel industry was busy taking heat for rising tortilla prices in Mexico and expensive corn in the U.S., among other things. Turns out, the food vs. fuel debate may have been a bit overblown. At least, that's the verdict of the Development Prospects Group at the World Bank, which just released a new report called "Placing the 2006/08 Commodity Price Boom into Perspective" (PDF). The headline conclusion: "...the effect of biofuels on food prices has not been as large as ori
The multinational consulting company Accenture has launched a new report on the future of biofuels. This time, it has a more optimistic tone than last time we heard from them. According to their conclusions, 10 to 15 percent of our fuel needs from 2020 to 2030 will be satisfied with biofuels. Nevertheless, the future won't be as easy as it was once thought: recent trouble in markets, as well as challenges in production, transport and distribution will slow the development of biofuels. When it co
The new backlash against ethanol as a fuel is causing the premier of Canada's largest province to rethink a plan that would have doubled the ethanol content of gasoline fuels by 2010. With more and more people blaming the diversion of food to fuel production for skyrocketing food prices, a lot of the support for biofuels is starting to fade. Premier Dalton McGuinty is the latest to reverse course on a plan that would have required 10 percent ethanol content in gasoline by 2010. Leaders at the
As the world's population continues to grow toward a projected 9 billion people by the early 2040s, the demand for food, fresh water and energy will grow with it. At the same time, supplies (water, in particular) are shrinking. So, does it really make it sense to suddenly accelerate the use of crops to produce fuel to satisfy our seemingly endless demand for energy? Of course not, especially when you consider the amount of water it takes to produce that fuel by current processes. The obvious ans
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute is no fan of ethanol, and he stiffened up his stance in an interview with Foreign Policy magazine. Brown noted the huge jump in new ethanol plants and tied the increased ethanol production to conflicts in the food market.