Sachs calls on U.S., EU to reconsider biofuel goals

Sachs calls on U.S., EU to reconsider biofuel goals

Economist Jeffrey Sachs said the U.S. and European Union should reconsider their emphasis on biofuels made from crops grown on land that had previously been used to produce food. Speaking to reporters before an address to EU lawmakers, Sachs said targets to produce more such fuels “do not make sense now in a global food scarcity condition.

“In the United States, as much as one-third of the maize crop this year will go to the gas tank and this is a huge blow to the world food supply, so these programs should be cut back significantly,” said Sachs, the director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a special adviser to the United Nations.

Riots have broken out in a number of countries in recent weeks as global food prices have soared. Last month, top international food scientists called for an end to food-based biofuels such as ethanol.

Meanwhile in Washington, 24 Republican senators, including presidential candidate Sen. John McCain of Arizona, sent a letter Friday asking the Environmental Protection Agency to waive or restructure rules requiring a fivefold increase in ethanol production over the next 15 years.

“This subsidized (ethanol) program — paid for by taxpayer dollars — has contributed to pain at the cash register, at the dining room table, and a devastating food crisis throughout the world,” McCain said in a statement.

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