Spending on pet food and energy R&D - not an apocryphal claim

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I had heard that the world spent less on energy R&D than on pet food, so I decided to check. Actually, it's worse than that.

   Photo © Sophielouise at Dreamstime

Worldwide energy R&D spending in 2007 was about $12 billion according to IEA statistics that we are reporting in the upcoming World Development Report.   I could not find what the world spends on pet food - so I looked up what happens in the US.  In 2005, Americans spent $34 billion on pet products, 41 percent (or $14 billion) of which was on food and treats.

So yes, what the world is investing in future energy is less than what Americans alone spend on feeding their pets. And it is equivalent to what my countrymen and women spend on cheese.

Don't get me wrong.  I am not advocating starving anybody's pet.  Or depriving the French of their cheese.  But these numbers do suggest that unless something changes, we'll continue to have the energy we deserve. 


Marianne Fay

Director for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, Latin America and Caribbean, World Bank

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