UN director presses US to cut biofuel output

Aug 10, 2012
A warning label is posted on an E85 Ethanol pump handle at a gas station on August 7 in Johnston, Iowa. The head of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization urged the United States to halt its biofuel output to prevent a food crisis, in an editorial published by the Financial Times on Friday.

The head of the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization urged the United States to halt its biofuel output to prevent a food crisis, in an editorial published by the Financial Times on Friday.

"An immediate, temporary suspension" of a mandate to reserve some crops for biofuels "would give some respite to the market and allow more of the (corn) crop to be channelled towards food and feed uses," Jose Graziano da Silva wrote.

A severe drought in the United States has cut likely to the lowest level in six years, the US Department of Agriculture reported on Friday.

A USDA report released on Monday estimated that only 23 percent of are in good to excellent condition.

"Against that backdrop, cereal prices have shot up, with an increase in (corn) prices of almost 40 percent since June 1," strategists at the CM-CIC brokerage said.

According to the US , the country has just sweltered through its hottest July on record, with drought affecting 63 percent of its continental territory.

Biofuels have been repeatedly identified as a factor in rising prices for vegetable oils, corn, soja and cereals.

Explore further: Intel wireless charging in a bowl coming sooner than later

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US 'extreme drought' zones triple in size

Jul 27, 2012

The drought in America's breadbasket is intensifying at an unprecedented rate, experts warned, driving concern food prices could soar if crops in the world's key producer are decimated.

Parched fields as drought devastates US crops

Aug 01, 2012

The sweat pours down Larry Hasheider's face as he walks across his parched cornfields to show the result of one of the worst droughts to strike the United States in decades.

Corn, grain prices push to record highs

Jul 25, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The future of corn prices and the impact on fed livestock continues to be an unfolding, tumultuous situation, but some degree of clarity should be coming to the story in the next few weeks, according ...

Recommended for you

Team improves solar-cell efficiency

Sep 19, 2014

New light has been shed on solar power generation using devices made with polymers, thanks to a collaboration between scientists in the University of Chicago's chemistry department, the Institute for Molecular ...

Calif. teachers fund to boost clean energy bets

Sep 19, 2014

The California State Teachers' Retirement System says it plans to increase its investments in clean energy and technology to $3.7 billion, from $1.4 billion, over the next five years.

Idealistic Norwegian sun trappers

Sep 19, 2014

The typical Norwegian owner of a solar heating system is a resourceful man in his mid-fifties. He is technically skilled, interested in energy systems, and wants to save money and protect the environment.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

5 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2012
Rising corn prices have already shuttered many ethanol plants. I doubt very much that the EPA will pay any attention. These are the people that are fining companies for not using cellulose-based ethanol, despite the simple fact that there are no commercial manufacturers of the product.
Aug 10, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 10, 2012

US ehanol doesn't effect food production because most of the 'food is still there after ethanol is made. The dried mash is actually a better quality human or animal feed and the corn oil is still there, so it doesn't cut food supplies.

Plus both yield and acrage have increased so much more food is available even with the ethanol being made.

We already feed far more than anyone else. Other countries need to get their act together to increase their own supplies of food and biofuels hey'll need in the future.

The real rise in food costs is more meat which needs 3-10lbs of grain/lb of beef, chickens, pigs that is using up all the food. So let's put the blame where it really belongs, on meat, not ethanol.

If not for animal feed we could likely feed 25% of the world.

I say this as an advid meat eater and EV driver.

1 / 5 (3) Aug 11, 2012

That about settles that,,, except many enjoy their part in needlessly murdering.
1 / 5 (2) Aug 20, 2012
Too many humans for old Mother Earth to sustain. Finite resources cannot sustain infinite population growth. Famine is the natural outcome of overpopulation. We've seen it before in ancient sites that were once huge communities and are now nothing but ruins. At this rate, the United States will be a vast desert with the ruins of our once-great society. Future archaeologists and anthropologists will have lots to ponder when trying to figure out our civilization... I just wonder: how many public toilets will be deemed to have been some sort of altars to worship fertility gods...? Or how they will contrive to say that we sacrificed humans, and possibly babies, to our 'barbaric gods'...