Exploring How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor

Exploring How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor - Angela...

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Angela Nicole Perez BECO 3321.01 Prof. Danny Taylor 4/7/2008 Exploring How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor A Journal Article Summary In Runge and Senauer’s article, “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor,” the authors give explanation to the potential food crisis at stake if the United States and other large economies continue to push the use of biofuels in order to reduce dependence on petroleum. As the United States continues to increase its ethanol production capabilities it is important to examine how the long term impact on world hunger outweighs the benefits of converting a staple crop into a fuel source. Following an oil embargo in 1974 and increased demand for “energy independence,” the United States’ Congress began the promotion of corn-based ethanol as a petroleum alternative (Runge 1). The current surge of oil prices coupled with government subsidies has fueled the development of almost two hundred ethanol refineries here in the United States. “According to some estimates, ethanol plants will burn up to half of U.S. domestic corn supplies within a few years. Ethanol demand will bring 2007 inventories of corn to their lowest levels since 1995 (a drought year), even though 2006 yielded the third- largest crop on record,” (Runge 1). From the economist perspective, this significant increase in demand for corn will not only drive up corn bushel prices to record highs but seemingly unrelated products such as rice and wheat as farmers plant more corn and less alternative crops in order to meet the quantity of corn demanded. As Runge states, “biofuels have tied oil and food prices together in ways that could
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This note was uploaded on 04/15/2008 for the course BECO 3321 taught by Professor Taylor during the Fall '07 term at University of Mary Hardin–Baylor.

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Exploring How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor - Angela...

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