Nations are calling for the end to government handouts for biofuels. A report commissioned by international agencies such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund calls for the "removal of policies that subsidize or mandate biofuels production or consumption." Not so fast, says the U.S. and Brazil, two of the world's largest users of corn-based ethanol used for fuel.
While the food vs. fuel debate isn't new, farmers and ranchers around the globe are divided about where priorities should lie. On one side of the coin, biofuels alleviate dependance on foreign oil; however, the other side fears that ethanol subsidies create food shortages and high prices at the grocery store.
“I suspect that there will continue to be differences among agricultural producers about how much they’re willing to commit to on biofuels,” says World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick.
“As more food stocks go into gas tanks, not stomachs, you have higher prices,” says Sarah Best, Oxfam’s policy adviser of low carbon development. “We have got to get a grip on the relationship between biofuels and food price volatility.”
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