The Impact Of Biofuels On Agroalimentary Market Biology Essay

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Amid the more accentuate increasing of the energy demand and of the insecurity in purveying with oil and natural gas, biofuels have started spark interest especially in countries that have agricultural areas that can be recovered in this way. Although the cultivation of energy plants acquired scale, a fundamental problem is looking for the answer. Are biofuels feasible in achieving energy independence for the State that promotes them so fiercely? Anticipating from the beginning our response, the production of biofuels on the basis of agricultural products is, at least for now, annoying and inappropriate to our economic environment, social and cultural.

Key words: energy crisis, renewable energy, biofuels, equivalence, agricultural policy

Minimizing vulnerability and economic dependence according with external sources of energy becomes a fundamental objective of any state policy. The high degree of dependency on imported oil, purveying insecurity, emphasized increase of the price of oil and especially this price volatility, strategic uncertainty of the areas of operation determine the orientation of new sources of energy.

The increasing of the energy consumption in the current pace can not be sustained solely on the basis of oil and natural gas, although they continue to remain dominant and traditional sources of energy. Regarding the evolution of domestic consumption of energy produced from renewable sources, in the period 2000-2005 in EU member states found a significant increase in their share. Not only the volume of energy production is important but how it is used and the source from which it comes.

Table 1. Energy dependency in some UE countries between 200-2005

(%)

Country/Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Bulgaria

46.5

46.2

46.7

46.9

48

47.1

Czech Republic

23.1

25.7

26.3

24.9

24.6

27.4

Denmark

-33.7

-26.6

-41

-31.6

-47.5

-51.6

Germany

59.8

60.9

60

60.7

61.2

61.6

Estonia

30.8

31

28.3

26

28.1

25.8

Greece

69.3

68.8

70.6

67.3

72.6

68.5

Spain

76.5

74.3

78.3

76.5

77.3

81.2

France

50.9

50.4

50.8

50.5

50.7

51.6

Italy

87.3

84

86.5

83.8

84.6

84.4

Table 1 (cont.)

Latvia

57

56.7

54.9

57.8

63.7

56

Lithuania

60.4

47.5

42.6

45

47.8

58.4

Luxembourg

99.8

97.9

99

98.7

98.2

98

Hungary

56

54.5

57

60.7

60.5

62.9

Austria

65.6

64.1

67.6

70

70.5

71.8

Poland

11.1

10.3

11.2

13

14.7

18

Romania

21.8

25.7

23.7

25.3

30.2

27.4

Slovenia

52.5

50.2

50.1

53.3

52.1

52.2

Slovakia

66.5

63.3

64.9

65.5

68.7

64.6

Sweden

39

36.3

37.8

43.6

37

37.2

United Kingdom

-16.7

-9.1

-12.2

-6.2

4.9

13.9

Croatia

53.3

52.2

60.1

56.3

57.4

58.6

EU (27 countries)

46.6

47.3

47.4

48.8

50.1

52.3

Source: Eurostat http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=0&language =en&pcode =tsdcc310

Energy dependence reflect the proportions in which a national economy can meet its domestic energy needs on imports and is calculated as the ratio between net imports and domestic consumption of energy, including domestic reserves of energy. The indicator sizes, the energy dependence, both confirm the accentuate and increasing subordination of the European economies, including Romania towards the energy imports for the period 2000-2005.

Only Denmark and Britain managed to cover energy needs from domestic production, although in the last two years of interval only Denmark had obvious growing energy independence. The increased energy dependency from the import resources was based on the relatively low price of oil and availability of massive imports of energy resources. "Under the assumption of a return to normal yields, and the incentive of currently higher prices, global cereal production is projected to recover from the shortfalls experienced in the past year. The unprecedented demand for maize coming from rapidly growing biofuel production in the United States is in the process of transforming the coarse grain market. The impact of these changes on cereal markets may gradually ease over the years, but that will much depend on the evolution of renewable fuel policies and further development of the biofuel industry, particularly from a technological perspective. Driven by current low stocks and high prices there will be a shift towards more area planted in cereals, either from reallocation of land from other crops in the main OECD producers (Australia, Canada and the US), from land taken out of set aside (EU) or out of CRP reserves (US) or from cultivation of new land in many developing countries, particularly in South and Latin America [1] ."

Table 2. Energy intensity of the economy - Gross inland consumption of energy divided by GDP (kilogram of oil equivalent per 1000 Euro) in some UE countries between 2000-2006

Country/ Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

Bulgaria

1940.04

1938.50

1817.96

1781.42

1622.04

1606.90

1554.01

Czech Republic

890.18

890.48

884.71

926.92

892.37

828.50

794.84

Denmark

121.91

125.04

122.10

127.81

121.23

115.58

118.05

Germany

160.10

163.70

160.32

161.93

161.01

158.33

154.75

Estonia

1215.39

1229.71

1112.30

1134.08

1081.66

967.42

848.28

Greece

236.47

233.08

230.46

222.72

216.24

212.18

204.66

Spain

221.51

219.99

220.13

220.86

223.63

220.57

211.33

France

188.32

190.14

188.31

189.28

187.40

184.88

179.06

Italy

182.80

180.28

180.04

189.57

188.65

189.62

185.00

Table 2 (cont.)

Latvia

758.63

766.97

707.99

704.42

665.96

613.81

563.22

Lithuania

1134.01

1223.53

1215.22

1145.53

1086.73

948.37

861.85

Luxembourg

170.83

172.98

175.61

181.40

189.92

184.49

173.80

Hungary

602.15

589.68

574.77

575.55

539.05

545.82

521.03

Austria

137.10

144.52

144.43

150.96

148.88

149.88

145.01

Poland

656.67

649.20

630.25

623.05

594.33

582.53

573.97

Portugal

235.87

230.99

240.32

236.74

239.97

243.44

225.14

Romania

1459.79

1371.41

1361.17

1352.20

1226.10

1167.35

1128.01

Slovenia

330.82

336.80

331.32

324.32

319.78

314.36

299.09

Slovakia

993.74

1054.71

1010.28

959.76

907.31

848.29

772.24

Finland

258.06

256.24

267.59

278.09

269.96

242.71

252.53

United Kingdom

226.86

222.42

212.43

210.64

205.21

202.18

193.25

EU (27 countries)

213.90

214.71

211.76

214.69

212.06

208.56

202.45

Source: Eurostat http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=0&language =en&pcode=tsien020

From Table 2 it results that the majority of EU member states has been reducing the consumption of raw energy necessary to obtain a GDP worth 100 euros, which is explained not so much by reducing the price of traditional sources of energy (oil and gas), but as through the upgrading of manufacturing, increased competitiveness and GDP.

Referring to Romania, the efficiency in energy consumption is at an extremely low level because it has been spent, for the analyzed period, more energy than the average EU-27, from 6.82 times in 2000 and 5.57 times 2006. The only consolation, if it can be a positive effect (indeed it is embedded in the logic the neighbor's goat is also dead "), this is the location of Bulgaria before us with 9.1 times (2000) and 7.7 times (2006).

The increasing demand for classic energy driven by increase consumption, particularly in emerging areas (China and India), but also the overreactions due to the way of life of some ethnic groups, associated with a decrease in production obtained in areas easily accessible and low costs, resulted in the concentrating efforts to develop renewable energy - biomass, geothermal, hydro, wind, solar. In this context, significant is the increased weight of the intern consumption of energy produced from renewable resources, illustrated in Table no.3.

Table 3. Renewables in gross inland energy consumption in some UE countries between 2000-2006

(%)

Country/ Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Belgium

1.3

1.5

1.5

1.9

2.1

3.5

Bulgaria

4.2

3.6

4.4

4.9

5.2

5.6

Czech Republic

1.5

1.7

2.1

3.5

4

4.1

Denmark

10.8

11.4

12.4

13.5

15.1

16.2

Germany

2.8

3.0

3.4

3.6

4.0

4.8

Estonia

10.8

10.4

10.3

9.5

10.6

11.2

Ireland

1.8

1.7

1.9

1.8

2.1

2.7

Greece

5

4.5

4.7

5.1

5.1

5.2

Spain

5.7

6.6

5.5

7

6.5

6.1

France

7

7.1

6.4

6.4

6.3

6

Italy

5.2

5.5

5.3

5.9

6.8

6.5

Latvia

34.3

34.1

34.5

33.1

36

36.3

Lithuania

9.2

8.4

8.1

7.9

8.1

8.8

Luxembourg

1.6

1.3

1.4

1.4

1.6

1.6

Table 3 (cont.)

Hungary

2.1

1.9

3.4

3.4

3.7

4.2

Austria

23.2

22.2

22.2

19.3

20.8

20.5

Poland

4.2

4.5

4.6

4.5

4.7

4.8

Portugal

15.4

15.7

14

17.1

14.9

13.4

Romania

10.9

9.3

9.8

10

11.7

12.8

Slovenia

12.3

11.5

10.9

10.3

11.6

10.6

Slovakia

2.8

3.9

3.7

3.3

3.9

4.3

Finland

23.9

22.4

21.9

20.9

23

23.2

Sweden

31.4

28.3

26.3

25.3

25.8

29.8

United Kingdom

1.1

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.5

1.7

EU (27 countries)

5.8

5.9

5.8

6

6.4

6.7

Source: Eurostat http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&init=1&plugin=0&language =en&pcode=tsdcc110

The table presented above shows that in most EU member states has been an increasing share of domestic consumption of renewable energy, fact that can be a source of confidence that the EU' goal "20-20 -20 (in 2020 it will decrease by 20% the greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 and cover 20% of energy consumption from renewable resources), will be achieved. Romania not only wants to achieve the quota imposed by the EU in the field of biofuels but also want to overcome by 4% in 2020, reaching a rate of 24%, in the conditions in which international agricultural production fails to meet the demand of agricultural food products." Tying to understand economical problems not consist only to uptake unthought-of numbers and facts more or less connected. Rather consists in a wisely examination and analysis of of the real conditions. Necessary and beyond anything are clarity of the logics and good-breeding. Going straight to the root it is the main rule. Do not let us to be treated with airily solutions and explanation. Let us use the power of thinking and legal competence [2] ."

Without going into details, share their high consumption of energy from renewable sources in some countries - Sweden, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Portugal and Romania - is explained mainly by the existence of potential obtaining favorable wind and hydro energy.

Amid recovery potential of renewable energy resources, Romania should not move to extend the production of biofuels in the detriment of agricultural areas intended for the population's alimentation, prior to revitalize, first, mass production of mining which, since 1988, virtually collapsed, as presented in the table below.

Table 4. Level and evolution of yearly miner mass production in Romania between 1950-2005

Year /

u.m

1950

1988

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Coal

Thousands t

2224

58753

29284

34783

31991

34430

32963

31633

Oil

5047

9388

6042

6011

5810

5651

5462

5215

Natural gass

2027

44817

14607

14090

13647

13174

13246

12637

Iron

616

23713

116

221

248

244

231

221

Salt

416

5352

2308

2225

2258

2417

2400

2443

Cement

125

14462

6058

5702

5680

5992

6239

7043

Source: Bilanţ Magazine, April 2007, p.46 si INSSE Romanian Statistical Yearbook 2006

Relaunching coal production, oil, natural gas and salt should not be achieved in any case, for export and has appropriate technical economic conditions. It is enough to think that, in most cases we confront ourselves with the reactivation of deposits. For this we should not give the deposits for exploitation to foreign trust, but we should capitalize the traditions and the performance of oil field equipment and mining, petrochemical industry, shale oil, etc..

Reducing Romania's energy dependence can be achieved, secondly, not so much through the production of biofuels, both by improving production's mix of energy, as is the case of electricity.

Table 5. Production mix of electricity by type of fuel used, in some in some UE countries in 2006

Country/ Energy type

Gass

%

Hidroenergy

%

Nuclear energy

%

Coal energy

%

Petroleum products %

Average cost for electricity production (euro/Mwh)

Sweden

1

48

28

3

13

9,72

Austria

17

68

0

11

1

10,00

Luxembourg

27

70

0

0

0

10,09

France

1

22

54

13

9

11,08

Denmark

18

0

37

14

3

11,53

Romania

15

34

9

39

3

15,27

Spain

15

17

24

31

8

15,96

Belgium

35

9

37

14

3

16,48

Finland

12

18

16

48

6

17,44

Germany

20

8

19

44

4

17,81

Portugal

21

40

0

17

20

18,44

Greece

13

26

0

40

18

19,79

United Kingdom

33

5

15

37

7

20,59

Italy

37

26

0

21

17

21,90

Ireland

49

10

0

21

17

24,50

Holand

75

0

2

20

0

24,59

Source: Bilanţ Magazine, April 2007, p.46

From the table presented it results that in Romania the production of electricity is conducted in a mix that is placed on the modern trends, but in relation to the potential it can be improved by increasing the share of energy from hydroelectric plants. Developing hydrogenation power, will create conditions for the relaunch of agricultural production by introducing a crucial factor, the irrigation. Do not forget that the low level of agricultural production is explained by the failure of decisive factors' simultaneity in agriculture, respectively man, variety, mechanization, chemistry and irrigation.

Thirdly, the agenda of economic priorities and social development of Romania, deemed responsible for national interest, must be dominated by the equilibrium of the foreign trade balance and by reducing the current account deficit share in GDP. Referring to the equilibrium of external trade balance, it is unprecedented in the history of the national economy, that there is a deficit of the balance of agricultural products. Therefore, stimulation of all the ways of agricultural production is necessary, including through the use of agricultural areas, agricultural land as an absolute priority to produce equivalent. The import of agricultural products can not be allowed in an environment where there are high pedoclimatic economic conditions higher than twice the average world and Europe. Significantly for the reducing of the average daily food consumption in Romania, both in level and in structure, are the data contained in the table below.

The decrease in the daily consumption of food resulted in the decrease of average daily consumption, a situation that has generated Romania's presence on the last place among the 9 (nine) members recently in the EU. As it results from the table below, in 2007, average daily consumption of calories in Romania represent only 70% of the EU average - 15 and 88% of the level recorded for the state just before our country - Latvia.

Table 6. Daily average food consumption, expressed in calories and nutrients, per inhabitant in Central and East Europe in 2007

Country

Daily average food consumption (calories and nutrients per inhabitant)

U E - 15

3539

Hungary

3520

Poland

3397

Lithuania

3384

Czech Republic

3097

Estonia

3048

Slovenia

2935

Slovakia

2894

Latvia

2809

Romania

2473

Source: INS, EUROSTAT

Despite good agricultural year, with positive influence on economic growth - at least 2 percent of the anticipated growth to 8% for 2008 - the trade deficit of agricultural balance (food, beverages and tobacco), will be maintained at a high level.

Table 7. Level and evolution of trade deficit (food, drinks, and tobacco) in Romania between 2002-2008

Year

Trade deficit (food, drinks, and tobacco) - million euros

2002

600

2003

1000

2004

1050

2005

1250

2006

1600

2007

2150

2008 (estimated)

1900

Source: INS, BCR research

Fourthly, we consider that the issue of biofuels is now at the center of debates on the place and role of renewable energy resources and its implications - economic, political, ethical and military - can not take immediate advantage of a firm and final verdicts. Do not forget that the inventor of DDT has apologized, refusing successful popularization of initials, because the balance was counter-productive. Accordingly, it may require a greater period of reflection, since by no chance the scientist Alvin Toffler referred to the existence of a "global revolution", of which he would appreciate: "Even when we combine all of these transformations that has represented the relationship of humanity with time, space, awareness - and other ultra fundamental principles - we only foresee truly impressive contours of the current global revolution. To see beyond them, we must analyze the extraordinary transformations which expect us, not only in the visible economy, but also in the "hidden half" of the whole system of emergent wealth. Without doing this explorer step, both as individuals and as societies will grope through the future, unable to grasp the enormous potential available to us. " [3] 

Fifth, we should not neglect the fact that Romania has a potential for renewable energy over the media world and Europe through its recovery can be achieved approximately 40% of the raw electricity of the year 2020. To properly exemplify the potential of national renewable sources we present in the table below the level, structure and usage field.

Table 8. Inland potential for renewables and wastes energies

Source

Yearly potential

Aplication

Solar energy

60 PJ*

1,2 TWh

Heating energy

Electricity Electricity

Wind energy (theoretical potential)

23 TWh

Electricity

Hidroenergy from which under 10 MW

36TWh

3,6 TWh

Electricity

Biomass and biogass

318 PJ

Heating energy

Electricity

Ggeothermal energy

7 PJ

Heating energy

Electricity

*1 PJ(petajoule)=1015 joule=equivalent to 31,6 mil. Cubic meter of natural gass

Source: Financiarul, 01.08.2008

As it results from the table presented above, a significant proportion of renewable energy sources are related to biomass biogas, and biofuels. Before the production of biomass can be accepted as an integral part of agricultural production, we should think if we have answers to significant risks and contradictions brought together in the following feedback: "Biofuels provide possibilities, but also present risks for the four dimensions of food safety, and namely availability, access, stability and use. Consequences of biofuels for the safety of food will depend on the extent and type of system under consideration, of markets' structure of the basic products and energy policies in the fields of agriculture, energy, environment and trade. Technological progress is rapid in the biofuels sector and plays an important role in the uncertainty about the prospects for the safety of food " [4] 

In conclusion, as we presented above, in our paper, results that the development of biofuels production implies not only the rise of agricultural areas allocated for energy plants production, but also it has a negative impact by decreasing the food production and sources for human alimentation. In this situation, obviously, the power structures appreciate that the lack of food products on market can be replaced with OMG`s. Finally we can not accept the fact that the population of any country, having the gift from nature to feed its own inhabitants with natural food products accepts to change the local and own type of food with OMG`s, and by consequence, to produce biofuels, using the agricultural products. In this case, at least for Romania, it is inopportunely and inadequate from any point of view (economical, cultural and social) to do so.

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