Human Ecology

, 37:1

Food Versus Biofuels: Environmental and Economic Costs

  • David Pimentel
  • Alison Marklein
  • Megan A. Toth
  • Marissa N. Karpoff
  • Gillian S. Paul
  • Robert McCormack
  • Joanna Kyriazis
  • Tim Krueger
Article

Abstract

The rapidly growing world population and rising consumption of biofuels intensify demands for both food and biofuels. This exaggerates food and fuel shortages. The use of food crops such as corn grain to produce ethanol raises major nutritional and ethical concerns. Nearly 60% of humans in the world are currently malnourished, so the need for grains and other basic foods is critical. Growing crops for fuel squanders land, water and energy resources vital for the production of food for human consumption. Using corn for ethanol increases the price of US beef, chicken, pork, eggs, breads, cereals, and milk more than 10% to 30%. In addition, Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, reports that using food grains to produce biofuels is already causing food shortages for the poor of the world. Growing crops for biofuel not only ignores the need to reduce fossil energy and land use, but exacerbates the problem of malnourishment worldwide.

Keywords

Agriculture Biofuels Energy Food security Fossil fuels Natural resources Renewable energy 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Pimentel
    • 1
  • Alison Marklein
    • 1
  • Megan A. Toth
    • 1
  • Marissa N. Karpoff
    • 1
  • Gillian S. Paul
    • 1
  • Robert McCormack
    • 1
  • Joanna Kyriazis
    • 1
  • Tim Krueger
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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