Monday, April 14, 2008

Canada's Ethanol Policy Contributing to Food Crisis

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, some dang chickens is comin' home to roost. All over the world, poor folks is strugglin' just to put one meal a day into their pitiful bodies. An' we're bitchin' about the price of gas when we hafta fgill up the chugmobile. There's close connection between the two things, too.

The bigass commodities boys sold their ethanol big lie to the top levels of government in the US, Canada, the UK and the EU. Just like the big nuke merchants, the big corn lobby didn't waste any time tryin' to figger out how they could fleece a public concerned about climate change and greenhouse gases. Ethanol and other dumbass biofuels are a big part of the reason people are riotin' an' dyin' in the Philippines, Haiti, Egypt, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Cameroon and Vietnam.

Food shortages ain't just a humanitarian issue. It's a security issue. Hungry folks who're starvin' to death got absolutely nuthin' to lose and they've got excellent motivation: life. The bigass G8's all over the problem at their big pow-wow down in Washington, DC.
Ministers representing 185 countries agreed on the weekend that soaring food prices threaten global calamity and pledged to co-operate on a solution to save the world's poorest people from starvation.
(Good Guardian article...)
Ethanol ain't the only reason folks is starvin' but it's one of the reasons. Nobody seems to be disputin' that except maybe the Brazilian cane growers and the big Iowa corn boys. In the 2006 budget, the Harper bunch gave away $2 billion fer ethanol and biofuel development. Most everyone knows by now that ethanol ain't a GHG reducer and ain't doin' a single thing to help ol' Mother Earth. It takes somethin' like 1 an' a third liters of petro to make one litre of ethanol and it gobbles up fresh water like nobody's business.

But it is somebody's business and that business got $2 billion from us while it contributed to the food crisis that's killin' poor folks all over the place.

Here's some numbers from the Guardian:

Food in figures

93,000,000 Acres of corn planted by US farmers last year, up 19 per cent on 2006.

76% Amount of US corn used for animal feed.

8kg Amount of grain it takes to produce 1kg of beef.

20% Portion of US corn used to produce five billion gallons of ethanol in 2006-07.

50kg Quantity of meat consumed annually by the average Chinese person, up from 20kg in 1985.

10% Anticipated share of biofuels used for transport in the EU by 2020.

$500m The UN World Food Programme's shortfall this year, in attempting to feed 89 million needy people.

9.2bn The world's predicted population by 2050. It's 6.6bn now.

130% The rise in the cost of wheat in 12 months.

16 times The overall food consumption of the world's richest 20 per cent compared with that of the poorest 20 per cent.

58% Jump in the price of pork in China in the past year.

$900 The cost of one tonne of Thai premier rice, up 30 per cent in a month.

Here's something that really gets under my skin. Little wee Canada gives away $2 billion to these ethanol guys and it would take only $500 million to top up the UN's food program so they could help 89 million hungry people survive. That's right. With just one-quarter of the money we spent on developing biofuels so we can drive the chugmobiles and tell ourselves we're saving the planet, we could feed the multitudes. And that's just Canada.

We need to get our gummint to quit subsidizin' these ethanol guys. I know it ain't gonna be too popular with the farmers. They ain't starvin' to death, though. Farmers ain't to blame. They do what they gotta do. They gotta buy seeds, fertilizers, tractors, combines, silos, and other stuff to grow that corn. The bigass seed and fertilizer outfits like Monsanto are the ones who engineered the lobbyin' to get all these gummints makin' laws sayin' we gotta have 10%-20% ethanol.

Us Canajuns gotta decide what's really important. Do we keep up with a corporate welfare feel-good program of promotin' ethanol? Or do we put a moratorium on biofuel until we quit starvin' people to death so's we can fill up the chugmobile an' drive three blocks to the Timmy's Drive-Thru window?



Anonymous said...

It's a pain shovin' the corn cobs into my gassy pipeline.

Stephen K said...

Agreed. Ethanol is doing much more harm than good. It's good to see that at least the politicians are talking about it, but the proof will be in the pudding.

Scott in Montreal said...

There was a Harper's article about three years back about the cost in oil of just about everything. It spelled it out really well. And this brings up my only serious beef with Obama - seems there is a lot of corn growing that goes on in his state of Illinois, and he has an established track record of fighting for ethanol. Maybe he's massaged his stance as a dude running nationally.

Another great article on this subject was written by one Mr. Gwynne Dyer - of whom I am admittedly a fan. It was from just last month and it's called The Coming Food Catastrophe