In his first important public speech since he was appointed, the Times reported professor John Beddington as describing the potential impacts of food shortages as the "elephant in the room" — and a problem which rivalled that of climate change.
"It’s very hard to imagine how we can see the world growing enough crops to produce renewable energy and at the same time meet the enormous demand for food," he said.
By 2030, he said, the world population would have increased to such an extent that a 50% increase in food production would be needed. By 2080 it would need to double. But the rush to biofuels meant that increasing amount of arable land had been given over to fuel rather than food.