“food vs fuel”

“Food vs Fuel”

The war in Ukraine has reignited the debate on plant-based biofuels. It is claimed that EU demand for ethanol and biodiesel is exacerbating food security problems. The biofuels industry has called these claims “ridiculous.”

According to a recent study by Transport & Environment (T&E), about 10,000 tonnes of wheat – the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread – are burned as ethanol in cars every day in the EU. The clean mobility non-governmental organisation called this “immoral” in light of rising food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Every year, we burn millions of tonnes of wheat and other vital grains to power our cars. This is unacceptable in the face of a global food crisis,” said Maik Marahrens, biofuels manager at T&E.

“Governments must urgently stop the burning of food crops in cars to reduce pressure on critical supplies,” he added.

T&E say that removing wheat from European biofuels would offset more than 20% of the collapsed Ukrainian wheat supplies to the global market, according to the study. In countries like Egypt, which imports over 60% of its wheat, mainly from Russia and Ukraine, these additional supplies to the market would be life saving.

Leading European NGOs, including T&E, has called on governments to immediately halt the use of food crops for fuel. Ensuring stable energy supplies to people and the economy must not come at the expense of food security or lead food price inflation to spiral out of control, says the group.


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