Halt Biofuel Use to
Fight Hunger, Scientists Urge
WASHINGTON — Some top international food scientists Tuesday recommended halting the use of food-based biofuels, such as ethanol, saying it would cut corn prices by 20 percent during a world food crisis.
need to feed the stomach
before we need to feed our cars"
— Rattan Lal
But even as the scientists were calling for a moratorium, President Bush urged the opposite.
The conflicting messages Tuesday highlighted the ongoing debate over food and fuel needs.
The three senior scientists with an international research consortium pushing a biofuel moratorium said nations need to rethink programs that divert food such as corn and soybeans into fuel, given the burgeoning worldwide food crisis.
The group, CGIAR, is a global network that uses science to fight hunger. It is funded by dozens of countries and private foundations.
If leading nations stopped biofuel use this year, it would lead to a price decline in corn by about 20 percent and wheat by about 10 percent from 2009-10, said Joachim von Braun. He heads the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, the policy arm of CGIAR. The United States is the biggest biofuel producer.
Another scientist, not associated with the group, agreed with the call for a halt on the use of grain for fuel.
"We need to feed the stomach before we need to feed our cars," said Rattan Lal, an Ohio State University soil sciences professor who in the past has been a critic of some of CGIAR's priorities. "We have 1 billion people who are food insecure. We can't afford the luxury of not taking care of them and taking care of gasoline."
But energy security is what Bush emphasized in a press conference Tuesday.
"The truth of the matter is, it's in our national interest that our farmers grow energy, as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us," Bush said.
Mindfully.org note: One must consider the simplistic mind of this president and feel sorry for him. It really isn't his fault he says such ignorant things. Well, it really is his fault, but we're trying to be kind to the idiot. It's just too bad for all of us that he's actually the president. What a concept.