If biofuels use food crops to generate energy, will food prices rise?
The majority of bioenergy products in Alberta are made from either waste or foresty biomass. While there have been grain shortages in other parts of the world, there are many factors that impact food prices and availability including: • energy prices; • costs to process, package, market and transport food; • agricultural costs (for fertilizer, fuel and pesticides); • increased demand in countries like China and India; and • climate and growing issues, for example droughts and major pest invasions. In Alberta, 1.2 per cent of locally produced grains and oilseeds (such as canola) are used to make renewable fuels. During the past five years (2003-2008), Alberta produced over 25 million tonnes of crops each year. Less than 200,000 tonnes of that is used each year for bioenergy products, such as renewable fuels. What are the environmental advantages to biofuels? The most significant advantage is that the feedstock is renewable and is part of the carbon cycle. The production of plant materia