| Click for the Finfacts Ireland Portal Homepage |

Finfacts Business News Centre

News Main Page 
 
 News
 Irish
 European
 International
 Asia-Pacific Business Week
 
 Analysis/Comment

RSS FEED


How to use our RSS feed

 
Web Finfacts

Welcome

Finfacts is Ireland's leading business information site and you are in its business news section.

We provide access to live business television and business related videos from: Bloomberg TV; The Wall Street Journal; CNBC and the Financial Times. Click image:

Links

Finfacts Homepage

Global News

Bloomberg News

CNN Money

Cnet Tech News

Newspapers

Irish Independent

Irish Times

Irish Examiner

New York Times

Financial Times

Technology News

 

Feedback

 

Search

News : International Last Updated: Dec 19th, 2007 - 13:17:15


OECD report calls for end to biofuel subsidies; Food price surges and damage to the environment consequence of current policies
By Finfacts Team
Sep 11, 2007, 09:25

Email this article
 Printer friendly page

The futures price of wheat hit a record high of $8.86 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade last Wednesday. That's more than double the September 2006 price of $4.22 a bushel, said Mary Haffenberg, a CBOT spokeswoman. The price of wheat for December delivery fell Thursday to $8.24 a bushel. The price is up by 60 percent this year.

In the US, biofuel, which is subsidised, accounts for about one-fifth of the corn crop. The lack of acreage for other crops, such as soyabeans, pushes their prices up too. Last summer, the US Department of Agriculture reported that farmers planted 19 per cent more land with corn this year than last, while soyabean acreage fell by 15 per cent.

Governments should end subsidies for biofuels, as the demand for grain for the alternative energy industry result in surging food prices and the potential destruction of natural habitats, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will warn on Tuesday.

Last week, the United Nations’ top agriculture official warned that developing countries risk serious social unrest triggered by rising food prices .

Jacques Diouf, Director-General of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, said that surging prices for basic food imports such as wheat, corn and milk has the “potential for social tension, leading to social reactions and eventually even political problems”.

THe Financial Times in a report today, says that the OECD will say in a report to be discussed by ministers on Tuesday that politicians are rigging the market in favour of an untried technology that will have only limited impact on climate change.

“The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits,” say the authors of the study, a copy of which has been obtained by the Financial Times.

The survey says biofuels would cut energy-related emissions by 3 per cent at most. This benefit would come at a huge cost, which would swiftly make them unpopular among taxpayers.

The FT says that the study estimates the US alone spends $7bn (€5bn) a year helping make ethanol, with each tonne of carbon dioxide avoided costing more than $500. In the EU, it can be almost 10 times that.

It says biofuels could lead to some damage to the environment. “As long as environmental values are not adequately priced in the market, there will be powerful incentives to replace natural eco-systems such as forests, wetlands and pasture with dedicated bio-energy crops,” it says.

The FT says that the report recommends governments phase out biofuel subsidies, using “technology-neutral” carbon taxes instead to allow the market to find the most efficient ways of reducing greenhouse gases.

”Such policies will more effectively stimulate regulatory and market incentives for efficient technologies,” it said.


© Copyright 2007 by Finfacts.com

Top of Page

International
Latest Headlines
Markets News Wednesday: Stocks deep in red ink across the globe: Asia-Pacific and Europe slump following grim day in New York
Apple launches MacBook Air - the world’s thinnest notebook
Europe suffered a slowdown in labour productivity in 2007; Rich countries face struggle to achieve rises in living standards
Wednesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
Intel reports 51% rise in Q4 2007 net income but cautious outlook for 2008 sends shares plunging 14% in after-hours trading
Markets News Afternoon: Citi rains heavily on markets in Europe and US - Dublin plunges almost 4%
US retail sales fell in December signalling that consumer spending is under strain; Producer/Wholesale prices rose 6.3% in 2007 - the highest since 1981
Citigroup reported Q4 2007 loss of $9.83 billion; Write-downs and increased credit costs were a massive $22.2 billion
Markets News Tuesday: Citi bad news awaited; Markets fall in Asia-Pacific and Europe; Dollar up from near record low against Euro; Gold price over $900
Hong Kong and Singapore again head Index of Economic Freedom; Ireland gets third ranking
Tuesday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
US Hedge Fund Index shows return of 11.15% in 2007 - More than double the S&P 500 performance
Markets News Afternoon: Stocks rally in US and Europe boosted by positive fourth quarter data from IBM and SAP
IBM reports strong fourth quarter preliminary earnings boosted by Asia, Europe and Emerging Countries
Markets News Monday: Start of US fourth quarter earnings season has investors worried about how banks and brokerages have performed
Monday Newspaper Review - Irish Business News and International Stories
US study says Environmental Factors shaping New Global Economy
Markets News Afternoon: Report say Merrill Lynch will announce $15bn loss next week; Stocks down in US and Europe - Dublin market up; Gold tops $900
US trade deficit increased to $63.1 billion in November
OECD Composite Leading Indicators signal a downswing in all major OECD economies