Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blood of The Amazon Fuels

The United Nations have released a report on the dangers of destroying the world's eco-systems which presently remove carbon from the atmosphere. As a result of increases in the demand for Food Bio-Fuels the prices of food, land and agricultural commodities could increase creating hardship and suffering in poorer countries. The destruction of virgin forests to create Bio-Fuel plantations will also lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions (obviously).

The report, concerned that large scale mono-crops plantations lead to biodiversity loss, soil erosion and soil nutrient loss, also states concerns for fresh water supplies at a time when the growing world populations are rapidly increasing their consumption of meat and dairy products, putting an even greater strain on dwindling water supplies.

The increasing demand for Bio-Fuels is accelerate the illegal clearing of forests for the planting of palm plantations. This destruction is being financed and is being fired by the demand of rich industrialised countries for Bio-Fuel, while no care is being taken as to the effects it is having on the poorest people on this planet.

We are all perfectly aware of the damage this destruction is doing to the earth, the damage it is doing to the eco-system, to our lives and the disaster it will create for future generations. People today are destroying their grandchldren's future. Knowing this and seeing this, why are political and corporate institutions pushing ahead?

Holding Down The Price of Oil
It is a really perverted twist of self deception to call food for fuel a Bio-Fuel. Destroying prime forest to plant mono-culture palm oil plantations has nothing to do with ecology nor has it to do with Bio, unless it is Bio-Destruction. The sad reality is that the Bio-Fuel the Europeans will put into their tanks is more aptly to be labled "Orangutan Extinction Fuel" or "Amazon Destruction Fuel."

The focus and growth of Bio-Fuels has nothing to do with the conservation of the earth's bio-systems, it has nothing to do with counteracting Climate Change or Global Warming and it has nothing to do with preserving the ecology of the planet... It has to do with money. The drive to increase the production and consumption of Bio-Fuels has to do with keeping down the price of oil, maintaining current market economic policies, maintaining a control on oil prices, the fuel of the corporate economy. Why do humans have to control the price of oil in this way? To maintain the Global Economy. There is another more efficient way to control the price of oil, and that is a decrease in demand.

The Global Economy creates wealth by shipping products all over the planet. You have Europe selling goods to China and China selling goods to Europe. A return to local production of food and service goods would in itself make a dramatic impact on the demand for oil, because it is Globalisation that is driving the increase in the demand for oil. If petrolium does not stay below a certain price, there is no global economy, there can be no global market, there will be no global corporate profits. With high oil prices it wont be worth it to export and import all these foods and products between countries. The price will be too high, forcing countries to operate locally. With high oil prices it will be cheaper to consume local food and local goods and services. It will also be better for the planet.

Take all the import-export shipping off the high seas and already the production of CO2 will be drastically reduced. Reduce the import-export air traffic and road traffic and the production of CO2 wil be drastically reduced. If you want Bio-Fuels then have backyard operators producing local Bio-Fuels from waste and leave them to do it tax-free. Leave people to produce their own fuels and you don't need to transport it all the way from Brazil. You don't have to cut down forests to convert local waste into fuel. Give small companies tax free incentives and grants to create more efficient systems. Allow people all over the country to plant Industrial Hemp, the most wonderful Bio-Fuel plant on the planet.

The problem is that governments are addicted to taxation, and they are heavily addicted to the taxation of petrolium. If local backyard producers start meeting local fuel demands with innovative waste transformation technologies, Governments lose taxes. However, when you cut unemployment through the local production of goods and the production of tax-free Bio-Fuels then the creation of employment offsets the loss in taxes. A local waste Bio-Fuel industry could create sustained local employment oppertunities rather than create employment oppertunities for those destroying the Amazon.

Rather than finance the destruction of the Amazon and the extinction of the Urangutan, why not invest the money into local waste transformation schemes that would reduce European dependance on petrolium? Why not create local fuel production that would reduce the demand for oil as well as reduce the price of oil, and at the same time local production will increase tax free benefits to the local economy? That way you don't need import taxes, and fuel taxes, and sales taxes, and company taxes, because you are doing the right thing to save the planet.

Food energy crops bring food shortages and increase poverty
Winners and losers in huge biofuel industry
Oil price will stabilise but small farmers at risk

Global production of energy crops is doubling every few years, and 17 countries have so far committed themselves to growing the crops on a large scale. Last year more than a third of the entire US maize crop went to ethanol for fuel, a 48% increase on 2005, and Brazil and China grew the crops on nearly 50m acres of land. The EU has said that 10% of all fuel must come from biofuels by 2020. Biofuels can be used in place of petrol and diesel and can play a part in reducing emissions from transport.

On the positive side, the UN says that the crops have the potential to reduce and stabilise the price of oil, which could be very beneficial to poor countries. But it acknowledges that forests are already being felled to provide the land to grow vast plantations of palm oil trees. Environment groups argue strongly that this is catastrophic for the climate, and potentially devastating for forest animals like orangutans in Indonesia. Guardian Unlimited