‘Converting foods into bio-fuels leading to poverty’

July 8th, 2008 - 6:51 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 8 (IANS) Echoing Indian concerns that conversion of food grains into bio-fuels is worsening the food price situation, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Tuesday asked “some developed countries” to rethink their policies. “Some developed countries are under a lot of pressure to revise their food-to-fuel policy. They must rethink about it,” IPCC chairman R.K. Pachauri here said.

Indirectly hitting out at the US for producing huge amounts of bio-fuels from food grains, Pachauri said: “Countries need to look at interconnected challenges.”

“They need to give a second thought to the bio-fuel policies,” he said adding that the policies “give rise to deforestation” for the sake of producing bio-fuel-efficient grains. He, however, said bio-fuel from jatropha is a good option.

He further warned that the food-to-fuel policy would “force millions into poverty”.

Quoting World Bank president Robert Zoellick, Pachauri said: “The US and Europe also need to take action to reduce mandates, subsidies and tariffs benefiting grain and oil seed bio-fuels that take food off the table for millions”.

He said instead of going for bio-fuels it is better to explore renewable energy like solar and wind.

“It’s the solar age and let’s tap it for our development,” said Pachauri, under whose leadership IPCC bagged the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

About the threat of climate change, he said: “It’s a global threat and India can not escape it.”

Pachauri, who partnered the Indian government to come up with the latest action plan on climate change, said all the stake holders - individuals, government agencies, NGOs and academia - must work together to counteract the effects of global warming.

The US has recently blamed improved food consumption pattern of the Indian and Chinese middle class as the cause of global food price rise. In return, India has slammed the US for dragging India into the global food crisis at a time when it is itself producing bio-fuels from food grains.

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