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Live from Naples . . . It’s Food vs. Fuel


“It’s insidious to use food for fuel”  . . . “It’s clear that ethanol in the U.S. and Europe is driving up food prices. The only question is how much.” These comments weren’t made in 2008. They were voiced just last month at the Global Financial Leadership Conference, presented by the CME Group in Naples, Florida. You can listen to them at 


The comments in this video might anger you or you might agree with the speakers. I’d really like to hear your feedback so if you watch this video, please drop me a line.


At least the Food vs. Fuel panel featured an agricultural perspective. Timothy Gallagher, executive vice president of Grains & Biofuels for Bunge North America, pointed out that 2010 is different from 2007-2008 when the food vs. fuel debate was raging.  Corn prices were high then, but Gallagher did raise the point of how this was affected in part by the price of oil. He also pointed out that seed technologies have improved yields since that time.  Bunge takes a cautious approach to biofuels, Gallagher said, adding that the company supports global biofuel development “as long as production and consumption are at a sustainable level.”  


John Hofmeister, the former president of Shell Oil Company and now CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy, the man who stated “It’s insidious to use food for fuel,” at least acknowledged that biomass has a role in the fuel supply system. But, he added only for “as long as we use the internal combustion system, which I hope is not forever.” Hofmeister also acknowledged good investment opportunities for algae and various kinds of grasses.


I’ll leave it to you to see what you think about comments made by Ian Goldin, former vice president of the World Bank and currently director of Oxford University’s Oxford Martin School.  In addition to the food vs. fuel issue, he voiced concerns about the environmental and economic aspects of ethanol, particularly subsidies.


Check out the video—I want to hear from you.  



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