An ever larger portion of the world’s food crops, including corn, sugar and palm oil, is being diverted for use as biofuels, according to this article in the New York Times. But with food prices rising sharply in recent months, many experts are calling on countries to scale back their headlong rush into green fuel development, arguing that the combination of ambitious biofuel targets and mediocre harvests of some crucial crops is contributing to high prices, hunger and political instability.

According to the same New York Times article, this year the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that its index of food prices was the highest it has been in more than 20 years. Prices rose 15 percent from October to January alone, potentially “throwing an additional 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries into poverty,” the World Bank said.