The battle for resources between food and energy is decades old. Yet the latest iteration of the food-versus-fuel debate has taken a new twist in Japan as the country’s attempts to clean up its aviation are colliding with a parallel need both to feed its livestock and lower their associated emissions.
What’s even more uncanny: The material agonized over in this moral dilemma was considered trash just a decade ago. Now, producers of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and makers of animal feed claim used cooking oil (UCO) is essential to their decarbonization strategies and want their supply protected.
The complex relationships between food materials and energy are coming to light in a new way since the start of the war in Ukraine, which is one of the world’s top grain exporters. A myriad of industries across the globe are in flux, with major players clashing and scrambling to secure resources amidst ever-tightening supplies of just about everything.
This new economics of deficit is leading to a fundamental restructuring of the global economy that will be felt for years if not decades to come.