No link between biofuels and food prices, leading biofuel industry figure claims

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Biofuel production has almost no impact on food supplies and Government must stop hiding behind the tabloid "food or fuel" debate, says Graham Hilton, leading figure in the biofuels industry.

Graham Hilton, chair of the Renewable Transport Fuels Working Group and managing director of The Energy Crops Company, accused the Government of panicking in the face of public criticism of biofuels.

It is obvious, surely, that Mr, Hilton has absolutely no vested interests here in stating such clap-trap.

Reacting to the publication of the Gallagher Review, he said the report contradicted Defra's own conclusions about the impact on the food production industry.

"Defra have confirmed that biofuels have virtually no impact on the cost of food," he said.

"The real reasons behind the rise in the cost of food are lack of investment, an increase in the fuel costs of agriculture and severe weather impacts such as drought and floods."

He said the biofuels industry is working hard to ensure it is responsible and sustainable - claiming other industries are lagging far behind their efforts.

"Government should stop hiding behind tabloids and have the courage to encourage an industry that has done more than anybody to put the safeguards in place and to make a real contribution," Mr Hilton added.

Mr Hilton has an axe to grind for sure and he would claim that the biofuels industry has no impact on food prices seeing as he is – one – the very chairperson of the Renewable Transport Fuels Working Group and – two – and this is much more important probably – the managing director of The Energy Crops Company. Therefore, I am sure that no one could accuse him of having a vested interest now and being biased towards the biofuels industry, could they. Hell, they could.

The problem appears to be that the biofuels industry is going to be the next oil industry with the same kind of attitudes. It is they – like Mr. Hilton, who hide behind “green” credentials while all they are really interested in is in the bottom line and how much profit they can make out of it, regardless whether it drives the cost of food through the roof and whether people suffer. Not their concern. The environment is, so they say.

But studies have also now found that the use of most biofuels, if not indeed all, rather than reducing any harmful emissions, including the CO2 so tauted as being the responsible agent for Climate Change – remember not so long ago freons were held responsible for the hole in the Ozone layer – will even increase them, and still they all want to go “full steam ahead” with biofuels. Whoa! Someone pull in the reins and stop this runaway ream of horses.

We now have another industry with vested interest that claims to be green and all that even but will be as damaging, if not controlled, as the oil and petroleum industry was and still is, as far as the environment and people are concerned. Let's not even talk about extracting oil from tar sands of Canada, for instance, or coal by removing mountaintops in the Appalachians.

Time for a change... a real change...

© M Smith (Veshengro), July 2008