The US Senate has introduced a bill to ban Russian oil while increasing the use of ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels following the Putin-led regime’s invasion of Ukraine, Biomass magazine reported.
Introduced by senators Joni Ernst and Amy Klobuchar, the Home Front Energy Independence Act combines elements of a number of senators’ previous bills aimed at supporting biofuel use, according to the 9 March report.
The bill would also place full restrictions on US purchases of Russian oil until President Joe Biden had determined that Russia recognised the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the report said.
“As gas prices hit record highs for Americans across the country, it’s never been clearer that energy security is national security,” Ernst said.
The legislation would help hold Putin accountable for Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine while investing in affordable, readily-available US-produced biofuels produced, Klobuchar added.
The bill would extend tax incentives for biodiesel and renewable diesel until the end of 2025 and provide grants to expand infrastructure for higher biofuel blends, the report said.
The legislation has now been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.
Meanwhile, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has presented new challenges for global food security, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).
Russia and Ukraine played a “substantial role” in the global food production and supply, the FAO said, with Russia being the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and Ukraine the fifth largest.
The FAO said the two countries combined provided 19% of the world’s barley supply, 14% of wheat, and 4% of maize, making up more than one-third of global cereal exports. They were also leading suppliers of rapeseed and accounted for 52% of the world’s sunflower oil export market.
The global fertiliser supply was also highly concentrated, the report said, with Russia the leading producer.
“Supply chain and logistical disruptions on Ukrainian and Russian grain and oilseed production and restrictions on Russia’s exports will have significant food security repercussions,” the 11 March FAO report said.
“This is especially true for some 50 countries that depend on Russia and Ukraine for 30% or more of their wheat supply. Many of them are least developed countries or low-income, food-deficit countries in Northern Africa, Asia and the Near East. Many European and Central Asian countries rely on Russia for over 50% of their fertilizer supply, and shortages there could extend to next year.”
With wheat being a staple food for over 35% of the world's population, the current conflict could result in a sudden and steep reduction in wheat exports from both Russia and Ukraine, according to the FAO.
However, export prospects for sunflower oil and other alternative oils also remained uncertain, the report said.
“Major sunflower oil importers, including India, the European Union, China, Iran, and Turkey, must find other suppliers or other vegetable oils, which could have a spill-over effect on palm, soya, and rapeseed oils, for example,” the report said.
To counter the problems facing global food supply, the FAO had put forward a number of policy recommendations, such as finding new and more diverse food suppliers, and providing support for vulnerable groups, including internally displaced people.