Investment In Biofuel Is Irresponsible – UN Adviser
Investment In Biofuel Is Irresponsible – UN Adviser Website
The biofuel debate has now got to a head, the UN has joined in the fray. The UN’s top adviser on food security has described investments being made into biofuels by some countries as “irresponsible” and a “crime against humanity.” Olivier de Schutter, who has recently taken over from Jean Ziegler, said these in an interview with the BBC. Mr. de Schutter is also calling for an immediate freeze of the policy and asking for restrain on investors whose speculation he says is driving food prices higher. Global food prices have triggered violent reactions in some parts of the world, particularly in some developing countries. It is estimated that 100 million poor people of the world are likely to be pushed deeper into poverty if nothing is done immediately to save the situation. And frantic efforts are being made by world organizations including the UN, World Bank and the US government to cushion the effects of the high cost of food on the poor. The George Bush administration about two days ago asked Congress for an additional $770 million for food aid for the rest of the world. In the thick of the biofuel wranglings is South American giant, Brazil. Brazil is leading the countries pushing for growing crops for biofuels. The country has signed an agreement with Ghana to grow sugarcane in the country to produce bio-ethanol for export. The 27,000 hectares of sugarcane project is for the production of 150 million litres of ethanol yearly for export to Sweden. But de Schutter says the use of food crops for alternative sources of energy like ethanol is one of the factors behind the price hike. He argues that, the biofuel rush was a "scandal that only serves the interests of a tiny lobby". He criticized United States and the European Union goals for biofuel production calling it unrealistic. Mr. de Schutter says he wanted to find ways to limit the impact of speculative investments in food commodities like wheat, which had further driven prices up. Mr. Olivier de Schutter, who is a Belgian professor of law is calling for a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to discuss the food crisis. He said, "nothing was done to prevent speculation in raw materials, though it was predictable investors would turn to these markets following the stock market slowdown. And we are paying for 20 years of mistakes."