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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

EU report: Brussels biofuels policy hikes food prices by up to 50%

If biofuels received no EU policy support, the price of food stuffs such as vegetable oil would be 50% lower in Europe by 2020 than at present – and 15% lower elsewhere in the world – according to new research by the EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), quoted by EurActiv, and published on 5 September.
The “significantly lower” results are because global prices for vegetable oils – which are 60% palm and soy oil – are “strongly driven” by their use as food, says the paper by the JRC, the EU's official scientific and technical research laboratory.
When more soy and palm oil are used for biofuels production, less is available for food use and the resulting scarcity drives food price inflation. “Given that more than half of the vegetable oils are used for biodiesel production in the base (business as usual scenario) in 2020, any decrease in biodiesel production strongly affects the vegetable oil market,” the JRC study says.
The report was published before the European Parliament was preparing for a make-or-break plenary vote on 11 September. That ballot could cap the amount of first generation biofuels allowed in the EU’s 2020 transport energy mix, and introduce land use factors to distinguish between the fuels that are best and worst for the environment.
Also on 5 September, Dr. Harald von Witzke, Professor and Chair for International Agricultural Trade and Development at the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany said at a conference of EU-Biofuel Policy hosted by the Representation of Bavaria to the European Union (EU) that the impact of EU biofuels on the increase in the global food prices in the recent years has been insignificant. Also, a study released by the energy consultancy Ecofys highlights that the impact of EU  biofuels demand until 2010 only increased world grain prices by about 1-­‐2%.

Source: Euractiv