UN director presses US to cut biofuel output

A warning label is posted on an E85 Ethanol pump handle at a gas station
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.


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Citation: UN director presses US to cut biofuel output (2012, August 10) retrieved 16 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-08-director-biofuel-output.html
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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
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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.


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'...

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