Swedes Conclude Beef Bigger Eco-Burden Than Ethanol

Cows Bigger Burden Than Ethanol picture

photo chefranden @ flickr

Sales of ethanol cars rise every month in Sweden. And the debate on ethanol's effect on food prices and shortages is ever present. In a series of articles in daily Svenska Dagbladet (Svd), the paper argues that beef production is a bigger threat to world food prices than ethanol production.

Ethanol eats one percent of land

According to SvD and research from Gothenburg's Chalmers University, just one percent of the world's arable acreage is planted in crops for ethanol, compared to a third of global arable acreage (500 million hectares) used for milk and meat production - though milk and meat make up just 15 percent of our total food basket. The claims about ethanol's effect (percentage-wise) on food prices range extremely widely from three to 65%. The International Food Policy Institute says 30%. Hard to say who is more accurate, but it doesn't look as if Swedes are going to give up their ethanol (or beef for that matter) any time soon. But they will be first to sell so-called "sustainable" ethanol.Sweden, or rather Sweden's SEKAB, a biofuel and chemical company, will launch the world's first "sustainable ethanol" in early August, made from Brazilian sugar cane and to be blended in E85 and ED95 fuels. SEKAB says that the criteria for the "sustainable" designation include well-to-wheel reduction of CO2 of at least 85 percent compared to fossil fuels, and a "zero tolerance" for child labor, slave labor and the felling of rain forests for production. SEKAB says the criteria will also continue to evolve to be compatible with EU regulations expected on ethanol. Via ::Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish)

Related links:
Sweden's Green Car Explosion
Time To Ecolabel Biofuels?
Ethanol Eco-labeled Yet Losing Luster Fast

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