The pressure on world grain production — crop failures, diversion of biofuel production — has created huge price increases and I have a hard time imagining how millions of the world’s poorest people will manage to eat when they get priced out of the cheapest food available.
Point one: Cyclone and storm damage leaves Bangladesh’s 150 million people with a rice deficit. Sea water intrusion threatens coastal cropland.
Point three: From Lester Brown via the Earth Policy Institute:
In agricultural terms, the world appetite for automotive fuel is insatiable. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year. The grain it takes to fill the tank every two weeks over a year will feed 26 people.
But this is the future? Seems like there’s more pressure than ever to reduce grain demand by avoiding most meat, dairy products and farmed fish — ironically, actually eating the grain itself — and using less transportation fuel. I think affordable and available food for human beings (wherever they may be) is irreducibly more important than food for livestock or automobiles.
Yet I rather doubt United States public policy and the market will follow.