Grains: food or fuel
Legitimate questions are being asked regarding biofuel production from agricultural products - namely, whether the production of biofuels will result in higher food prices. And as any first year economics student can tell you, of course it will - increased demand will lead to higher prices. And this is where ecological issues come into play - higher prices will lead to greater supply. And if history is any guide, forest and other natural ecosystems will be displaced by agriculture. In working to address decreasing oil reserves, climate change and national security, we must not replace one set of ecological and social problems with another. The cheapest source of energy is conservation. Remaining demand must be met by a basket of renewable technologies that are as Earth friendly as feasible.
More and more, crops like corn and soybeans -- now primarily used as animal feed and ingredients in hundreds of food products -- will be used to make ethanol and biodiesel in coming years, in what could have a ripple effect in the form of higher food prices, some economists say.