Food summit fails to agree on biofuels

World leaders on Thursday ended a summit on global food security without an agreement on biofuels. Despite warnings that fuel crops are being produced at the expense of the hungry, the United States and Brazil opposed any review of ethanol production.

The US agriculture secretary, Ed Schafer, told reporters that increasing the production of corn ethanol is "the right policy direction". The subject was only briefly mentioned in the declaration from the UN summit in Rome. "We are convinced that in-depth studies are necessary to ensure that production and use of biofuels is sustainable," the declaration said.

Environmentalists expressed alarm about the lack of agreement. The Global Forest Coalition, which includes green groups and indigenous peoples’ organisations, called Thursday "a black day for the environment".

"The rapid expansion of large-scale unsustainable agriculture that is being promoted at this summit will lead to massive deforestation, thus contributing significantly to climate change," said Miguel Lovera, chair of the Global Forest Coalition.