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Published February 16, 2008, 12:00 AM

France reviewing biofuels policy

The French government is reviewing its policy in support of first-generation biofuels. The French secretary of state for the environment has asked that agency to review its biofuels production technology. They want to change the focus to second-generation biofuels made from biomass instead of corn and vegetable oil. The secretary also indicated it is likely changes will be made in the French biofuels policy after the review is completed.

By: Mike Krueger, The Jamestown Sun

The French government is reviewing its policy in support of first-generation biofuels. The French secretary of state for the environment has asked that agency to review its biofuels production technology. They want to change the focus to second-generation biofuels made from biomass instead of corn and vegetable oil. The secretary also indicated it is likely changes will be made in the French biofuels policy after the review is completed.

This action is the first to officially start to ask questions about the movement to biofuels and question the impact of ethanol and biodiesel.

The review of the biofuels policy in France is being driven by increasing evidence that first-generation biofuels made from grains and vegetable oils may not significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and may be driving up food and feed prices.

There is also concern in France about the huge amount of water required to produce biofuels. Recently the CEO of Nestle indicated it takes about 2,000 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of biodiesel. The most important biofuel in France is biodiesel, mostly made from rapeseed or canola oil, because nearly all of the vehicles in Europe are diesel, not gas. France is unlikely to be the last European nation to reconsider its support of biofuels made from crops and vegetable oil.

Reports of environmental degradation and higher food prices being accelerated by ethanol and biodiesel made from grains and vegetable oil are certain to spook more than a few government officials. You just can’t argue that biofuels have not increased food prices around the world. Biofuels aren’t the only reason for higher prices, but they have certainly contributed to higher prices. So far, politicians in this country are still all on the biofuels bandwagon.

Krueger is the host of “The Money Farm,”

a syndicated radio and television program on grain marketing and is a licensed commodity

broker. He can be reached by e-mail

at mike@themoneyfarm.com.

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