Chapter 18: Food for fuels? Examining the issue of trade-offs between energy and food
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This chapter outlines and assesses an important debate that has seized momentum over the last decade, namely whether there are trade-offs between energy and food. The analysis of the energy-food nexus is built around the issue of prices, and is loosely framed through the application of the concept of ‘trilemma’, specifically between issues of efficiency, security and equity. The focus of the analysis is on one of the most discussed potential causes of food price rises, namely the energy-food nexus present in the production and use of biofuels, i.e. the use of crops to create liquid fuels for transportation. In conclusion, the chapter demonstrates through a review of the empirical and policy literature that the relationship between energy and food is highly complicated and contingent, thus solutions require multi-faceted efforts.

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