Tuesday, April 15, 2008

fuel vs food

I am struck at how quickly biofuel production's impact has been felt on FOOD supplies. I knew this was an issue, but it has bitten us in the collective ass (or for poor people in developing countries, in the stomach) much more quickly than I'd anticipated.

So let's review our biofuel policy, shall we? We encourage, nay even subsidize the production of biofuel crops, pouring billions of dollars into the pockets of massive agribusinesses. This takes food off the market, driving up grain prices for all of us - although the impact on the poor of course is much worse since they have less margin to absorb higher prices. This won't cause them to have to skip seeing a movie. This means they skip eating.

And the environmental result? Probably a net negative. Most biofuels like corn (the US variety) aren't terribly energy efficient. Some estimates conclude it takes MORE energy to grow and refine this corn into fuel than we get out of it! A positively Soviet economic policy. Not to mention the incentives this gives in places like Brazil to cut down MORE carbon-absorbing rain forests to plant crops for fuels.

Subsidies for big business. Starving poor people. Negative environmental outcomes. Net loss to the US economy. Another day in Republican America.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home