Post image for Two Stupid Energy/Environment Policies That Starve Poor People

1. Ethanol Mandates: In an effort to further “energy independence,”* major agricultural producing countries have enacted Soviet-style production quotas for ethanol, a motor fuel distilled from food.

This year, about a third of the U.S. corn crop will be used to manufacture 13 billion gallons of ethanol. By law, that will increase to 15 billion gallons every year after 2015. The European Union mandates that ethanol distilled primarily from palm oil and wheat, constitute an increasing percentage of the fuel supply, ultimately 10% by 2020.

Global ethanol production is a new and tremendous source of demand for food that has had a significant impact on the price of grains and oilseeds. According to a report commissioned by the World Bank, global demand for fuels made from food accounted for nearly 70% of the historic price spike in wheat, rice, corn, and soy during the summer 2008.

2. Rainforest Protections: Burning rainforests is an important link in the global food supply chain. In Brazil, farmers are clearing the Amazon rainforests to meet rapidly growing global demand for soybeans. In Indonesia, they slash rainforests to harvest palm oil seeds for export to Europe.

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