US Ag Secretary to Defend Biofuels at G20 Meeting

Cindy Zimmerman

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says he intends to defend biofuels at the G-20 Summit of Agricultural Ministers in Paris this week, stressing their importance to the economy and the environment.

“America is working on developing new feedstocks that don’t pit food versus fuel but that create new rural economic opportunities and allow us to continue to expand on our efforts to build a much more renewable energy source,” said Vilsack, who is attending the Paris Air Show prior to the G20 meeting to discuss biofuels for aircraft that can be made from dedicated energy crops.

The focus of the summit is on international efforts to ensure global food security and some groups are insisting that necessitates a change in biofuels policies. Oxfam is calling on Vilsack and the agriculture ministers of the other G20 countries to “urgently remove the types of biofuels subsidies and mandates that are leading to increased price volatility.”

Global RFAThe biofuels industry meanwhile is urging the ministers to examine the impact of crude oil price on food price volatility.

“It is imperative that the G20’s Agriculture Ministers use this first meeting to recognize that there is a direct and strong correlation between the price of crude oil and the price of food,” stated Bliss Baker, spokesperson for the Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA).

This will be the first meeting of all agricultural ministers in the Group of Twenty (G-20), which includes the United States, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudia Arabia, South Africa, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

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