The Institute for Food and Development Policy/Food First analyzes the root causes of global hunger, poverty, and ecological degradation and develops solutions in partnership with movements working for social change.
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In the spotlight
by Annie Shattuck
April 10, 2008
The debate over renewable energy is raging. The U.S. Congress recently passed a renewable fuels mandate which will effectively create an artificial market for at least 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol per year. Numerous studies have criticized ethanol's environmental footprint. From negligible greenhouse gas savings to increased ground level ozone, and dependency on high-input agriculture–corn ethanol's critics have painted a picture of a costly band-aid for our energy crisis.
By Eric Holt-Giménez and Isabella Kenfield
When Renewable Isn’t Sustainable: Agrofuels and the Inconvenient Truth behind the 2007 U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act
If you are a typical family of four, your food bill likely increased by about $2,400 last year. Why?
FACT: Ethanol is helping drive food prices out of control without lowering the price of gas – Corn planted for ethanol competes for farmland with corn for food production and with other food crops. This drives up the price of all food crops, especially those that contain corn products—which is most of our processed food. Meat is more expensive because our beef cattle eat corn, not grass. Food prices have increased by 25% over last year! Gas prices still went up by 80%...
FACT: Our taxes are used to increase food costs - Without government mandates and subsidies, the ethanol industry would collapse. Last year subsidies for ethanol and biodiesel reached between $5.5 and $7.3 billion. We are paying to have our food prices go up!
FACT: Record high food prices hurt families – A moderate food budget for a family of four costs an average of $46 more per week this year than last. Even if you receive a $600 tax rebate this year, the money won't come close reimbursing your extra food costs due to ethanol production.
Tell the government to stop subsidizing higher food prices! How?
December 17, 2007
Contact: Eric Holt-Gimenez
510-654-4400 ext 227
Spanish and Portuguese translations below.
A coalition of U.S organizations is calling for an Immediate Moratorium on U.S. incentives for agrofuels, U.S. agroenergy monocultures and global trade in agrofuels. The Coalition is asking your organization to help strengthen the Call by signing on.
Outcome of a joint meeting on climate change, hunger, rural development and agroecological alternatives to the Green Revolution
held in Mali, Africa November 26th – December 2nd 2007
Food First collaborated with other organizations to bring more than 150 participants from 25 African countries and 10 non-African countries. Attendees including farmers, pastoralists, environmentalists, women, youth and development organizations, gathered at the Nyéléni Center in Selingue, Mali from November 26th to December 2nd. Field trips to area farms helped to inform the discussion on:
- Climate change and agriculture, fisheries and pastoralism in Africa
- The fight against hunger
- Development aid for agriculture and rural development in Africa
- African Agroecological Alternatives to the Green Revolution.
Documents from the meetings are available at www.moreandbetter.org
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