Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It Doesn't Say What You Think It Says

Fred has it wrong but only because his source got it wrong.
Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis

Internal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy

Sean got it wrong as well and I'm not sure why. He at least links to the source document so we can see where the fallacy is. On page 8 of the 58 page pdf we learn that...
In particular, rising corn-based ethanol production has accounted for about ¾ of the increase in global corn consumption in 2006-7. This has not only pushed up corn prices, but also prices of other food crops and, to a lesser extent, edible oils (through consumption and acreage substitution effects), and poultry and meats (feedstock costs).
Note the high lighted phrase.
75% of the increase in corn consumption is attributable to biofuels.

That's a far cry from Sean's hyperventilated World Bank:
Biofuels Pushed Food Prices Up 75%

I won't argue that ethanol production has had no influence on food prices. It's clear that they've had an influence and we can discuss what that influence is.

But to make the leap from 75% of that portion of corn consumption which is an increase to being the total driver for three quarters of the increase in the world's food prices is just sloppy reporting, sloppy reporting led by The Guardian.


nika said...

Many Many MANY thanks for finding that source document! I have been looking everywhere for it with no luck!

I am curious, how did you find it? If by googling, do you remember your google search terms?

grumps said...

Sean had a link to the IMF source doc. Give The American Mind all the credit.