Last updated on: 9/5/2013 | Author: ProCon.org

Joachim von Braun, PhD Biography

Title:
Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn
Position:
Not Clearly Pro or Con to the question "Can Alternative Energy Effectively Replace Fossil Fuels?"
Reasoning:

“Alternative energy sources such as biofuels are a promising tool for securing energy supply, especially with the increasing volatility and uncertainty of fossil fuel markets. The competitiveness of biofuels depends heavily on the relative prices of fossil fuels and agricultural feedstock. Choice of feedstocks, cultivation practices, and technologies could minimize food-fuel competition and ensure environmental benefits. However, embarking on large-scale biofuel production with current technologies does not make sense at this time for many developing countries. It is more rational to wait for the emergence of second- and third-generation technologies, and ‘leapfrog’ onto these technologies later.

Expansion of biofuel production introduces new challenges and risks for poor people. Biofuels could unduly divert land, water, and capital, as well as political attention, away from the production of food and feed. The food-fuel tradeoff could lead to increased commodity prices and higher food price fluctuations. Further, distorting subsidy regimes for biofuels may also have adverse effects on the poor, because subsidized fuel––from which the poor benefit little––acts as an implicit tax on food. In the presence of appropriate economic, trade, science, and social policies, biofuels could contribute to energy security and lead to win-win outcomes without jeopardizing food security.”

Email to ProCon.org, Mar. 11, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, 2009-present
  • Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2002-2009
  • Member, Scientific Advisory Board of the Courant Research Centre of the University of Goettingen, 2007-present
  • Member, International Advisory Board of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, 2007-present
  • Member, Council on the Future of UNESCO, 1999-present
  • Co-Chair, Expert Group on Poverty and Hunger, World Economic Forum, 2004-2005
  • Director, Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn (Germany), 1997-2002
  • Professor, Institute for Agricultural Policy and Applied Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn, 1997-2002
  • Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Kiel (Germany), 1993-1997
  • Director, Institute for Food Economics and Consumer Analyses, University of Kiel, 1993-1997
  • Director, Food Consumption and Nutrition Division, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 1990-1993
  • Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute
    (IFPRI), 1984-1990
  • Associate Professor, Institute of Agricultural Economics, University of Göttingen (Germany), 1982-1983
  • Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute
    (IFPRI), 1981-1982
  • Visiting Fellow, Institute of National Planning (Cairo, Egypt), 1979-1980
  • Research Associate, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Göttingen, 1975-1980
Education:
  • PhD, Agricultural Economics, University of Göttingen, 1978
  • MSC, Agriculture, University of Bonn, 1975
Other:
  • None found
Quoted in:
  1. Is Biofuel Production a Major Cause of the World Food Crisis?