Pressure grows to drop EU biofuels targets

Three new reports published this week have called on the EU to drop or severley scale back its biofuels targets. These latest interventiosn by the European Parliament Environment Committee, a study group commissioned by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a leading Brussels-based think tank show that the tide has now firmly turned against the EU’s current subsidy-fueled march towards using ever more of Europe’s land to grow fuel for cars instead of food for people.

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New Humboldt University report on global market trends

Another study forecasting higher real food prices for the next decade has recently been published by three authors associated with the Humboldt University in Berlin led by Professor Harald von Witzke. The working paper provides a useful qualitative survey of the reasons why agricultural supply will have difficulty in keeping up with the demand for food and other products of agriculture (including bioenergy). For the more technically minded, it uses a partial equilibrium multi-market model (descended from the venerable SWOPSIM model once supported by the US Department of Agriculture) to provide quantitative estimates of price levels for the key grains and oilseeds which are the focus of the study.… Read the rest

Barroso’s biofuels poll – update

A couple of week’s ago Berlaymole noted the mysterious disappearance of the online poll about EU biofuels policy from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The poll had asked respondents the following question:

Should the E.U. stick to its target to reach 10% biofuels by 2020?
– Yes
– No

The results of the poll have never been published and no explanation has been given as to why the poll has been removed. Fear not. We have reinstated the poll on this website, you’ll find it on the sidebar to the left.

Moreover, I’ve written to Barroso’s spokeswoman Leonor Ribeiro Da Silva under the terms of the Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents.… Read the rest

Barroso's biofuels poll – update

A couple of week’s ago Berlaymole noted the mysterious disappearance of the online poll about EU biofuels policy from the website of the European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.
The poll had asked respondents the following question:

Should the E.U. stick to its target to reach 10% biofuels by 2020?
– Yes
– No

The results of the poll have never been published and no explanation has been given as to why the poll has been removed. Fear not. We have reinstated the poll on this website, you’ll find it on the sidebar to the left.
Moreover, I’ve written to Barroso’s spokeswoman Leonor Ribeiro Da Silva under the terms of the Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents.… Read the rest

Barroso's disappearing biofuels poll

For the past couple of weeks José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has been running an online poll on his website, asking visitors to express their opinions on EU’s biofuels policy. At the last count, some 89 per cent of the 60,000 respondents had voted for the EU to drop its biofuels targets, which have been widely criticised for taking food out of the mouths of the world’s hungry to put in the gas tanks of European vehicles. As of today the poll has mysteriously disappeared from President Barroso’s website, and nowhere has the result been announced. Has the President of the Commission been taking election advice from Robert Mugabe?Read the rest

Barroso’s disappearing biofuels poll

For the past couple of weeks José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, has been running an online poll on his website, asking visitors to express their opinions on EU’s biofuels policy. At the last count, some 89 per cent of the 60,000 respondents had voted for the EU to drop its biofuels targets, which have been widely criticised for taking food out of the mouths of the world’s hungry to put in the gas tanks of European vehicles. As of today the poll has mysteriously disappeared from President Barroso’s website, and nowhere has the result been announced. Has the President of the Commission been taking election advice from Robert Mugabe?Read the rest

The mixed up world of US Senator Chuck Grassley

We all know that the legislators who write US farm policy are not the brightest bulbs in the box. Even so, Senator Chuck Grassley treated us to an unusual insight into his own very special, mixed-up world during a telephone press briefing last week, reported in the Des Moines Register. Asked about the contribution of the US Government’s massive food-to-fuel subsidies to rising world food prices and the resulting hunger, poverty and social unrest, Grassley denied there was any connection and suggested the responsibility lay with people in China eating too much meat.

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Stefan speaks out

Before he joined OECD, I would run into agricultural economist Stefan Tangermann from time to time at conferences. I was always impressed by his contributions so it is interesting to read his interview with Agra Focus, one of the latest in an excellent series. In a long interview, he had many interesting points to make and the publication itself is essential reading for those with a serious interest in agriculture and food policy. Below a few of his key themes are picked out.

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Mandelson: EU should ‘carefully reflect’ on its biofuels policy

With growing consensus that US and EU biofuel subsidies are among the principal contributors to recent global food price rises, termed a ‘silent tsunami’ by The Economist, EU Trade Commissioner today signaled that Europe needs to reconsider its target of achieving a 10 per cent biofuels mix in transport fuel by 2020. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Mandelson said:

“We’ve got to develop our biofuels policy intelligently… I think we need to carefully reflect on the approach that we’re taking.”

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Mandelson: EU should 'carefully reflect' on its biofuels policy

With growing consensus that US and EU biofuel subsidies are among the principal contributors to recent global food price rises, termed a ‘silent tsunami’ by The Economist, EU Trade Commissioner today signaled that Europe needs to reconsider its target of achieving a 10 per cent biofuels mix in transport fuel by 2020. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning, Mandelson said:

“We’ve got to develop our biofuels policy intelligently… I think we need to carefully reflect on the approach that we’re taking.”

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