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December 09, 2010

Green idiocy, Green racism, Green genocide [Fritzworth]

The 'biofuels' scam is one of the great idiocies of our generation. As with most recycling efforts, it is one of those 'green' initiatives that seems worthwhile but just doesn't make economic sense (as even the grand Green Poobah, Al Gore, acknowledged recently). Yet the West pushes ahead, out of the feel-good/redistributionist leftism that wastes money and costs lives.

Laura Sullivan over at the European Voice [*] points this out at length, discussing the European Union's continued push to shift to 'renewable fuels' (emphasis mine):

Studies by ActionAid and our partners show that biofuels are often more damaging than the fossil fuels they are replacing. The EU's targets require mass land clearance and existing production to be moved. Once this change in land use is taken into account, the projected level of the EU's demand for biofuel in 2020 will result in the release of an extra 27-56 million tonnes of greenhouse gases per year into the atmosphere – equivalent to an extra 12m-26m cars on our roads by 2020.

But the production of biofuel also has huge social impacts that the Commission has chosen to ignore completely in its sustainability criteria. More than five million hectares of land – an area bigger than Denmark – is needed to grow the amount of biofuel that Europe projects it will need annually in 2020 and beyond. The national action plans clearly show that most member states do not have enough land available to meet this increase in demand. They are therefore looking to plug the gap through imports – the UK, for example, expects to import almost 90% of its biofuel by 2020.

To provide the biofuel needed to meet the EU's targets, EU companies are busy buying up land. But in doing so, they could cause another food crisis in Africa.

The land that is being bought by EU companies is not standing idle. Small-scale farmers – producers of half the world's food – are having their land taken away, often under duress, to make way for the crops needed to meet EU targets. At a time of already high food prices, they are losing their land and, with it, their ability to grow their own food.

The food security of poor communities – and nearly one billion people around the world currently go hungry – is being put at risk.

EU leaders are keen to emphasise the trickle-down effects of biofuel production for local communities. Even at the theoretical level, the trickle down will not happen quickly enough to provide new livelihoods for the farmers who sell their land to biofuel producers and for their communities. But biofuel production is generally on an industrial scale and creates few jobs. And profits, rather than trickling down, are shipped back to Europe along with the fuel.

For some African farmers, biofuel amounts to a one-time cash inflow from the sale of their land. For their communities, though, it produces few jobs, little biofuel and a greater risk of hunger. For European consumers, biofuel does not amount to the green alternative that it is sold as. Both the Commission and the member states have got the policy wrong – opting for industrial biofuel as an easy solution ahead of the more difficult option of increasing energy efficiency and reducing consumption.

So, in effect, the EU is impoverishing and starving Africans and other third-world peoples in order to feel good about the fuel they put in their tiny little cars, even though it does not help the environment. Looks as though colonialism is alive and well on the Continent.

UPDATED: Which is not to say that we don't have idiocies of our own right here in River City, and amongst the Pubs no less:

On Wednesday, Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator from Iowa, said in no uncertain terms that the new tax deal will include an extension of those ethanol subsidies. Grassley, who is a ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, made the announcement despite the fact that there is strong opposition to the subsidies from Democrats, Republicans, environmentalists, and trade groups.

Last week on the Senate floor, he defended the subsidies that flow mostly to his state, and lashed out at his fellow Republicans for pushing the Senate leadership to let them expire at the end of the year.

“Earlier this week, a number of my colleagues here in the Senate, including a few of my fellow Republicans, sent a letter to the majority and minority leaders expressing their opposition to extending the tax incentives for home-grown ethanol,” said Grassley.

“Home-grown means that we’re less dependent upon people like Dictator Chavez and the oil sheiks,” continued Grassley. “It’s important to remember that the incentive exists to help the producers of ethanol compete with the big oil industry, and remember the big oil industry has been well supported by the federal treasury for more than a whole century.”

Yet in spite of his impassioned defense, it is clear the only people benefiting from the government program are the corn farmers themselves, and not many others. And even less people actually want them.

Fools and buffoons. Fools and buffoons. ..fritz..

[*] I can read the article just fine from my iPad, which is how I got the text. However, trying to get to it from my laptop didn't work, even after I registered. Your mileage may vary.


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