image courtesy pebblebedreactor.blogspot.com
If you had an idea that biofuels (like ethanol) made from corn, soy, or rapeseed were going to solve our energy problems, think again.
Er, well. Even if biofuels allieviate the energy headaches of the West, at the moment their cultivation has left populations around the globe starving. In case you missed last month's story: The Guardian got hold of a secret World Bank report that found the U.S. and the EU are directly responsible for the current critical shortage of rice and grains around the world, forcing food prices up by 75 percent by diverting grain away from food cultivation and into biofuels. The Bush administration had the WB report supressed. Read the whole hideous story here.
Just to recap. Food riots have broken out this year in Mexico, Indonesia, Morocco, Guinea, Mauritania, Senegal, Yeman, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, India, and Somalia. To put the problem in visual terms:
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And to put the food/fuel issue in perspective: It takes enough maize to feed the average African FOR A YEAR to make enough fuel to fill A SINGLE AUTOMOBILE TANK ONE TIME.
Here's an interesting interview with Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved, on the subject, from Democracy Now.