The Triple A Issue: Agriculture, Alimentation Needs, Agrofuels

  • Jean-Marie Loiseaux
Part of the Integrated Science & Technology Program book series (ISTP, volume 2)


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.


Agrofuels Agriculture Alimentation Greenhouse gas Prices 

List of Acronyms


Agriculture, alimentation needs, agrofuels


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




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


Dry matter


Distiller’s dried grain soluble


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


Energy content of DDGS


Energy content of ethanol


Energy content of straw


Food and Agriculture Organization (United Nations)


Gigadollar = 109 dollars


The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors


Gross domestic product


Greenhouse gas


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

GteC; 1 GteC = 109 teqC

Gigaton of Carbon equivalent


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


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


Joule (SI unit of Energy)


Million of hectare = 106 ha


MegaJoule = 109 J


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


International System of Units


Ton of carbon equivalent


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


Ton of oil equivalent


Quantity of ethanol equivalent to 1 toe


Usable energy coefficient


UEC for by-products


UEC for ethanol



 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.


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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

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