Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources
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Handbook of the International Political Economy of Energy and Natural Resources

Edited by Andreas Goldthau, Michael F. Keating and Caroline Kuzemko

This Handbook offers a comprehensive overview of the latest research from leading scholars on the international political economy of energy and resources. Highlighting the important conceptual and empirical themes, the chapters study all levels of governance, from global to local, and explore the wide range of issues emerging in a changing political and economic environment.
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Chapter 18: Food for fuels? Examining the issue of trade-offs between energy and food

Anil Hira


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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