Thu Jun 28th, 2007 at 09:26:58 AM EST
The Great Bio-Fuel Hoax by Eric Holt-Gimenez
Myths of abundance divert attention from powerful economic interests that benefit from this biofuels transition, avoiding discussion of the growing price that citizens of the global South are beginning to pay to maintain the consumptive oil-based lifestyle of the North. Biofuel mania obscures the profound consequences of the industrial transformation of our food and fuel systems [...]
Industrialized countries have unleashed an "agro-fuels boom" by mandating ambitious renewable fuel targets. Renewable fuels are to provide 5.75 percent of Europe's transport fuel by 2010, and 10 percent by 2020. The U.S. goal is 35 billion gallons a year. These targets far exceed the agricultural capacities of the industrial North. Europe would need to use 70 percent of its farmland for fuel.
(quote continues below)
from the diaries ~ whataboutbob
The United States' entire corn and soy harvest would need to be processed as ethanol and biodiesel. Northern countries expect the global South to meet their fuel needs, and southern governments appear eager to oblige. Indonesia and Malaysia are rapidly cutting down forests to expand oil-palm plantations targeted to supply up to 20 percent of the European Union biodiesel market. In Brazil -- where fuel crops already occupy an area the size of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg and Great Britain combined -- the government is planning a fivefold increase in sugar cane acreage with a goal of replacing 10 percent of the world's gasoline by 2025.
Because photosynthesis from fuel crops removes greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and can reduce fossil fuel consumption, we are told fuel crops are green. But when the full "life cycle" of agro-fuels is considered -- from land clearing to automotive consumption -- the moderate emission savings are undone by far greater emissions from deforestation, burning, peat drainage, cultivation and soil carbon losses. Every ton of palm oil produced results in 33 tons of carbon dioxide emissions -- 10 times more than petroleum. Clearing tropical forests for sugarcane ethanol emits 50 percent more greenhouse gases than the production and use of the same amount of gasoline.
how many times do we have to say it? TANSTAAFL.
what it comes down to: the North plans to steal food from the South to feed the North's cars, lawn mowers, ATVs, jetskis, snowmobiles, speedboats, gokarts etc. the various euphemisms of "comparative advantage" and the definition of food, soil and water as fungible commodities dispersed in the corrosive solution of transnational money camouflage this bottomline reality: a car eats more than a human being.
Cars, not people, will claim most of the increase in world grain consumption this year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects that world grain use will grow by 20 million tons in 2006.
Simply put, the stage is being set for a head-on collision between the world's 800 million affluent automobile owners and food consumers.
Of this, 14 million tons will be used to produce fuel for cars in the United States, leaving only 6 million tons to satisfy the world's growing food needs.
In agricultural terms, the world appetite for automotive fuel is insatiable. The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol will feed one person for a year. The grain needed to fill that same tank every two weeks over a year will feed 26 people.
there in bald numbers is the price of our energy slaves: 26 people could be fed a subsistence diet for the energy cost of running an FUV. now, perhaps it becomes clearer why some people's heads (mine for example) start to explode when I hear FUV-owning Americans preaching about how Those People in the third world have too many kids... and perhaps it becomes clearer why I (and some others) call 'em FUVs... it ain't just because of the way they drive.