Saturday, March 08, 2008

Biofuels Kill Children

Last November I wrote about Congress's bill which pushed new mandates for biofuel production. I called it an "Environmental Kneejerk Disaster". Why did I call it that? Because politicians and activists, in a "we've got to do something!" response to global warming's dire predictions, decided that biofuels was the way to go. But back in October 2007 Jean Ziegler called for a 5 year ban on biofuel production, stating that diverting corn, wheat, and sugar crops to the biofuel industry would cause huge price increases in foods that are staples in the world diet. He said,
“It is a crime against humanity to convert agricultural productive soil into soil which produces food stuff that will be burned into biofuel.”
What did the US do in the face of these warnings? Why, they mandated huge increases in biofuels of course.

We can already see the consequences of that action. Josette Sheeran, executive director of the World Food Program was reported to have said recently that there are "newly hungry people" in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and that there have been food riots in Burkino Faso, Cameroon, Senegal and Morocco. And why are they hungry and rioting? Because food prices are skyrocketing. According to Iowa State University's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development,
"Although we are coming off a record corn harvest, the 2008 new-crop corn harvest is more than $5.00 per bushel. The new-crop soybean futures price is more than $12.50 per bushel. In contrast to the 1995/96 high price period, the markets today are not indicating that these record prices are temporary. Farmers can sell their 2009 and 2010 crops for about the same price...

Crop prices at these levels dramatically increase the cost of raising hogs, finishing cattle, and producing milk and eggs. These costs will have to be passed on to consumers through higher retail prices for meat, eggs, and dairy products to keep livestock producers in business. Competition for land between specialty crops, oilseeds, and food and feed grains will also increase the prices of other products such as hops, malting barley, beans, and vegetables. Consequently, we should expect to see increased food prices over the next year or two as these cost increases are passed on to consumers."
These higher prices especially affect the poor, both here and abroad. They already spend a significant portion of their income on food, and have less flexibility to respond to higher costs. People are starving, and will continue to starve, largely because this country's politicians and environmental activists ignored reality, ignored economics, and pushed for this "solution" to global warming.


Reach Upward said...

This is exactly what many of these people wanted. They are part of the zero population growth agenda. They believe the 70s secular gospel that each child born is an environmental liability. If people die -- or better yet, aren't born -- due to these policies, it only helps achieve this twisted agenda.

Jesse Harris said...

It takes 20% of the nation's corn crop to replace 1% of the oil we use. That should make it obvious that our current methods of making biofuels are nowhere near making the slightest dent in our oil consumption.

UtahTeacher said...

I am much more in line with Jesse's comments than Reach. While I'm sure some some twisted people harbor such extreme beliefs, I think a mix of reactionary altruism and unbridled political opportunism is more at fault. Some people just don't or can't evaluate knee-jerk support for a seemingly good thing (renewable fuels seems like a kind, environmentally friendly thing at first blush), and most politicians don't look past the next poll or election.

It's a lot like this silly stimulus plan and the $42 million being spent just to mail out the informational letter before the expense of cutting the checks. All sound bites and appearance rather than sound policy or long-term planning.

Cameron said...

There are people like those that Reach describes. There are "green" women that sterilize themselves for fear of accidentally having a child and harming the earth. Unfortunately, this seems to be the natural endpoint of much of the environmentalist theories. There are still those that cling to the overpopulation fears of yesteryear, despite evidence to the contrary.

But I don't think that's necessarily everyone's reason for pushing biofuels. I think it's stupidity, unthinking rashness, business seeing a cash cow, and politicians seeing Iowa's votes.

UtahTeacher said...,5143,695261724,00.html

I'm assuming this is you. Nice letter! There's an another article today about the increase in wheat prices.,5143,695261817,00.html

We've definitely felt the hit on our grocery bill. I know your post is on even more serious aspects of biofuel mania, but the effects of dumb macro-economic decisions by the government are rarely so clearly and easily seen in our everyday lives.

Sister Sassy said...

You sis Ashlee, my BBFF referred me to this link since I wrote about corn being the devil.

My nephew thinks prarie grass is the way to go with bio fuel, not corn.