Monday, July 16, 2007

Promotion Of Biofuels Yields Unintended Consequences

For Progressive types that want to see biofuels used more in place of carbon based, here is something you may want to consider in your reflections:

A surge in the production of biofuels derived from corn, wheat and soyabeans is helping to push up food prices so sharply that the World Food Programme, the United Nation’s agency in charge of fighting famine, is finding it difficult to feed as many hungry people as it has in the past.


This means that more people go hungry and the UN is already feeling the pinch, before this technology is even fully developed.

So to all of the members of the Global Warming Church I say, remember this, when famine becomes more widespread. Remember that it was you that put everyone on such a course.

It was you that scared people into believing that mankind is responsible for the ills of everything, to include warming. And the next time I hear a sob story about a village in a third world nation that is starving to death because the UN cannot provide relief, I will be reminded that it was all so Progressives could feel good about changing the world for the better.

Maybe some of them can go to that village and explain why it's more important to keep food out of their mouths, over some unproven theory.

10 comments:

C. Scott Miller said...

Two comments -

1 - Cellulosic ethanol can be made from specially cultivated energy and non-food crops, agricultural waste, forestry waste, and urban waste. As such, it could not only provide new income opportunities for developing and underdeveloped countries alike but would help mitigate some of the blights that plague our planet - pollution, landfills, and wildfires.

2 - What is the effect on food prices that result from an increase in oil, diesel, and gasoline prices? I submit that the impact is probably much greater on the full spectrum of food prices than the increase in the price of corn. At least with corn you have other choices of food.

As long as we limit our energy options to gasoline and other petroleum products, the price will go up. This is why I think building an alternative biofuel base is so important.

Greg said...

Biofuels is definitely not THE answer, but it may be a part of it. We need to explore a wide range of options, from solar to geothermal to hydrogen.... The combination of them working together could make a real difference in our dependence on oil.

At the very least, biofuel technology is real neat b/c the farmer can run his equipment on something he grew/created on-site. Imagine other industries doing the same....

LASunsett said...

Hi Mr. Miller,

Thanks for weighing in here at PYY.

I think your argument certainly has some merit to it. But there are two points I'd like to share.

1. The price of corn has more of an effect on food prices, than with the price of the corn in the produce department, of your favorite grocery store. It is a primary source of food for livestock as well. Therefore, one can certainly expect to pay more for pork and beef, as well as the corn, itself. As the food industry competes with the energy industry for corn, you know the price is only going to go up.

Yes, transportation costs due to rising gasoline prices are a factor in the rise of food prices, also. But when new technology does become available to allow us use of other sources of energy, I wonder how much it will be competitively priced. Somewhere the companies that have done the R&D to get this stuff out on the market, will have to recuperate the costs they have incurred while the products were being developed. And my fear is it will be priced so as to accomplish that objective, thus not making it much cheaper, as it is currently being touted. Engineers do not work cheap.

2. I am not opposed to any new development of any alternative energy sources. In fact I want to find anything that will reduce our dependency on a product that has much of its profits invested in jihadist organizations that want to destroy this country.

My only complaint is that if we sink too much into the biofuel industry and the UN (or other entities that try to resolve hunger) cannot feed the people they are able to feed now, I do not want to hear from the bleeding hearts how we are not doing enough to meet the needs of the people most affected.

Think about it. Too much corn being used for fuel not only drives the price up, but it also reduces the supply of food that can be made available to feed those people starving in these third world nations.

Anyway, thanks again for stopping by. Feel free to come back and throw your two-cents worth anytime. I welcome all opinions, pro or con.

LASunsett said...

Greg,.

//We need to explore a wide range of options, from solar to geothermal to hydrogen.... The combination of them working together could make a real difference in our dependence on oil.//

Hey, I am with you. I really hope we can have a car that runs on trash someday. We manufacture it at a very brisk pace around this house.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, transportation costs due to rising gasoline prices are a factor in the rise of food prices, also. "

It's not just transportation; it's also the use of petrochemical insecticides and fertilizers, as well as actual harvesting and refrigeration.

Furthermore, ethanol as a solution has been pushed more by the corn lobby than the GW crowd.

I would prefer to go the route of plug-in hybrids backed by renewable energy sources (wind, solar, tidal) with nuclear filling the gaps until we get higher efficiencies/lower costs on the renewable technologies.

LASunsett said...

Hi anonymous,

//ethanol as a solution has been pushed more by the corn lobby than the GW crowd.//

I don't know if I'd say more, but you can bet that the corn lobby has done their share of lobbying. And why wouldn't they? Prices are bound to go up.

The other drawback to this is, what would we do if there was a serious drought? Suddenly, our fuel wouldn't be so renewable, until the next growing season.

//I would prefer to go the route of plug-in hybrids backed by renewable energy sources (wind, solar, tidal) with nuclear filling the gaps until we get higher efficiencies/lower costs on the renewable technologies.//

Nuclear is going to be a hard sell right now, due to the earthquake in Japan causing a leak in one of their power plants. All things being equal, nuclear power is clean and efficient. But there's a risk involved when natural disasters like this occur and is a source of much anxiety for the people that live near the nuclear plants.

Anonymous said...

Corn ethanol is and always has been big farm/big business's answer to the fuel problem because they can control it, so governmnet gives them big incentives to promote & develop it. Cellulosic ethanol, as stated above is a far superior answer, as noted by the commentor above. So don't go blaming "Progressives" for diverting much needed food products to address the fuel problem. We already know this stuff...

LASunsett said...

Anonymous,

//So don't go blaming "Progressives" for diverting much needed food products to address the fuel problem.//

I think that if progressives wouldn't be trying to advance this theory that warming is caused by carbon emissions, the corn lobby would not have an audience right now. If they weren't scaring the hell out of kids in school, by giving them the idea that in ten years the planet is going to be destroyed, there would be no audience for the corn lobby.

So, I will blame progressives, thank you very much.

Anonim said...

This is not surprising. (I recall having this discussed here at PYY before, and this point was raised there.) Biofuels from food crops is a bad idea. Energy recovery from recycled biological waste is another matter (which probably has to be accepted as a means of making closed systems more efficient, not as a large-scale revolutionary solution).

Hey LA, what do you mean by not believing "mankind is responsible for the ills"? Who caused this particular ill you presented in this post? (Well, you know, I'm pulling your leg. Take it as a perverted hello.)

LASunsett said...

Good memory Anonim. Here is the earlier hashing out, of this subject. I like the the biowaste approach. Cow chips should be used for fuel and not tossing in a perverted contest. ;)