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Tom Philpott on The 'Secret' World Bank Biofuel Report

The "Republican war on science" has evidently opened a new front: economics, a discipline often fetishized by the right.

In a startling article published July 4, the Guardian reports that in a "secret" study, a World Bank senior economist concluded that the recent explosion in biofuels use has driven global food prices up by 75 percent -- a number much higher than estimates from other major sources. The USDA -- which has vigorously defended President Bush's seemingly bottomless support for crop-based fuels -- claims biofuels account for only 3 percent of recent food price hikes.

The World Bank study's author, Don Mitchell, finished his assessment in April, the Guardian reports. But it never saw light of day until the British newspaper got hold of a leaked copy.

Why was it suppressed? "Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush," the Guardian reports.

 I hope the Guardian piece inspires World Bank to release that report. It's been extremely difficult to find reliable analysis on how U.S. and European biofuel mandates and subsidies have been affecting food prices.

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