The Triple A Issue: Agriculture, Alimentation Needs, Agrofuels

Chapter
Part of the Integrated Science & Technology Program book series (ISTP, volume 2)

Abstract

The triple A issue is discussed with, as its starting point, the analysis of present agricultural output and its projection on to 2050, so as to place it in the context of the major evolutions required between now and 2050 with growing populations, energy needs, alimentation needs, and agricultural production, the unprecedented growth of carbon-free energy needs in a context where emerging countries enjoy strong economic growth, thus increasing the need for energy by a factor of two at the world level. The environmental impact of large-scale farming and its capacity to produce energy are reviewed quantitatively on a world scale. A rational appreciation of the uncertainties and of the risks concerning our future ability to satisfy human alimentation needs is put forward. From this analysis, we conclude that the concerns expressed by some are not entirely unfounded but that the problem of human alimentation today is not due to insufficient foodstuff output on a world scale. Moreover, it appears that there is the potential for significantly increased output from large-scale farming. The risk of competition between foodstuff production and that of agrofuels is not as imminent as has been said, for simple economical reasons and also because of the location of production. The impact of large-scale farming on greenhouse gas emissions or on the world energy supply is evaluated and appears small, or very small relative to overall needs and emissions. Still, the principal cause for concern about alimentation needs, could well be that states or world governance bodies abandon their obligation to ensure that populations’ alimentation needs are covered decently, a mandatory ethical priority.

Keywords

Agrofuels Agriculture Alimentation Greenhouse gas Prices 

List of Acronyms

AAA

Agriculture, alimentation needs, agrofuels

ADEME

Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (France), French Environment and Energy Management Agency

A-F

Agrofuel

CNRS

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), National Center for Scientific Research

d.m.

Dry matter

DDGS

Distiller’s dried grain soluble

DIREM

Direction des resources énergétiques et minérales (France), French Direction for the Energetic and Mineral Resources

EC-DDGS

Energy content of DDGS

EC-ethanol

Energy content of ethanol

EC-straw

Energy content of straw

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations)

G$

Gigadollar = 109 dollars

G20

The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors

GDP

Gross domestic product

GHG

Greenhouse gas

GT3A

Groupe de Travail sur les AAA (CNRS), Working Group on AAA

GteC; 1 GteC = 109 teqC

Gigaton of Carbon equivalent

Gtoe

Gigaton of oil equivalent; 1 Gtoe = 109 toe = 1 billion toe

INRA

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (France), (French National Institute for Agronomic Research)

J

Joule (SI unit of Energy)

Mha

Million of hectare = 106 ha

MJ

MegaJoule = 109 J

Mtoe

Megaton of oil equivalent1; Mtoe = 106 toe = 1 million toe

SI

International System of Units

teqC

Ton of carbon equivalent

teqCO2

Ton of CO2 equivalent; 1teqCO2 = 0,273 teqC

toe

Ton of oil equivalent

toe-etha

Quantity of ethanol equivalent to 1 toe

UEC

Usable energy coefficient

UEC(byprod.)

UEC for by-products

UEC(etha)

UEC for ethanol

Notes

Acknowledgments

 This chapter is largely inspired by the work done in the GT3A working group whose members were M. Bruschi, Y. Faure Miller, J. M. Most, H. Peerhossaini, J. B. Saulnier, and myself. Many thanks for their contributions.

Many thanks also to E. Huffer for her help in writing the English version of this paper.

References

  1. ADEME DIREM (2002) Report: Bilans énergétiques et gaz à effet de serre des filières de production des biocarburants en France (Energy balances and greenhouse gas emissions from biofuels production in France), Sept 2002Google Scholar
  2. Ballerini D (2006) Les Bio-carburants” edited by IFP Institut Français du Pétrole: Etat des lieux, perspectives, et enjeux du développement (Biofuels, current situation, prospects and development issues). IFP Publications, 92852, Rueil Malmaison, ParisGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouneau S, David S, Loiseaux JM, Meplan O (2009) Construction d’un monde énergétique en 2050 (Elaborating a worldwide energy mix for 2050). Annales de Physique 34(1), 1–101Google Scholar
  4. Büchner G (1834) Le Messager des campagnes hessoises (The Hessian campaign Messenger), with Friedrich Ludwig Weidig. Der Hessische Landbote, in Georg Büchner (éd. Bernard Lortholary), Œuvres complètes, inédits et lettres, Seuil, coll. « Le don des langues », Paris, 1988 (ISBN 9782020100281)Google Scholar
  5. Cereals International Council (2008) Data of 2008. FAO, Geneva. Retrieved July 2009 from http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/ak349e/ak349e00.pdf
  6. Dronne Y, Forslund A (2009) INRA Rennes, Marchés internationaux des produits agricoles et biocarburants (International markets for agricultural products and biofuels). Paper presented at 9th Ini-FCA meeting. Centre Inra de Rennes Domaine de la Motte, BP, France, 2 Apr 2009Google Scholar
  7. FAO World Food Program 2009 Site Web. Retrieved July 2010 from http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/communications/wfp229437.pdf
  8. Jancovici JM (2010) Web Site Manicore URL. Retrieved Nov 2010 from http://www.manicore.com/documentation/serre/index.html#Gaz_a_effet_de_serre
  9. Mazoyer M (2008) Réorganiser les échanges agricoles mondiaux (Rethinking world agricultural trade). La Jaune et la Rouge N° 639 Novembre 2008, pp 12–15Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire de Physique Subatomique et de CosmologieUniversité Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1Grenoble, Cedex 1France
  2. 2.PIE – CNRSParisFrance

Personalised recommendations