Food riots. People eating mud to ward off hunger pangs. Starvation going up. And meanwhile, there’s collusion in starvation, and then there’s collusion in starvation:
Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% – far more than previously estimated – according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.
The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.
The figure emphatically contradicts the US government’s claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil…
“Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate,” says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February. The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.
A report that would add pressure to governments? Why, no mucky muck wants that!
Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.
“It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House,” said one yesterday…
Isn’t that thoughty of them? Gives the Bushster a chance to engage in his usual MO — lying his tail off.
President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: “Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases.”
At least the report has been leaked in a timely fashion in this respect:
The news comes at a critical point in the world’s negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.
What You Can Do: ONE.org has a simple petition to the G8 leaders here. You will sign it, right?