The World Bank cites bio-fuels for causing 75% increase in food prices. How come food in US hasn't increased by this amount?,

World Bank points to food riots in Bangladesh and Egypt. Yet we've not been so badly effected here in the U.S. Why not?

2 replies

Charles M. 110°

Possibly because the types of food that Americans eat is largely unaffected. Anyone relying almost completely on grains and rice will be having a different experience.

It is an oversimplification to blame biofuels. Raising feedlots to raise animals is far more wasteful. The food output is only a few % of the food input.

Basically, rich people can afford to spend more to feed up beef than poor people can spend to feed themselves. Of course rich people don't actually pay the full price. Agricultural subsidies make for an unlevel playing field.

Still, it is pretty daft using edible grain to make ethanol. Sugan canes and grasses are far more suitable.

Written in July 2008

C Robb W. 444°

I believe most analysts attribute about 30% of price increases to biofuels. Americans eat processed food by and large, as well as meat, both of which insulate the consumer from price rises. People in the developing world tend to eat grains in an unprocessed state which means price hikes are felt directly.

I agree that meat eating is a very wasteful practice and has recently been damned for disproportionate levels of GhG emissions from ruminants, primarily cows and sheep. Apparently if every American gave up meat eating it would have a better impact on GhG emissions than if they gave up driving.

Algae, halophytes, and cyano bacteria are even more suitable than sugar cane and grasses because they can be grown on completely non agriculturally viable land with very little fresh water usage, according to the chief scientist at NASA Langley David Bushnell. You can hear an interview with him entitled "METHANE BURPS AND TELE-EVERYTHING" over on the Radio EcoShock website

Written in August 2008

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