Europe's biofuel policy caused food prices to shoot up


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Sparta

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Jul 4, 2007
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Food should be consumed, not to burn. With 6b people on earth, diverting crops to biofuels is foolhardy. Europe's policy is misguided. Here in Singapore, we get suffocated as Indonesia burns forrest to plant palm oil, contributing enormously to global pollution.

Not only that, planting palm oil is no good for the land. The report, "Biofuel Crops and Non-Native Species: Mitigating the Risk of Invasion," points the finger in particular at the giant reed (Arundo donax), a native of West Asia that has become invasive in parts of North and Central America. Proposed as a biofuel crop, the reed is naturally flammable and thus increases the likelihood of wildfires. It is also very thirsty, sucking up 2,000 litres (500 gallons) of water for one metre (3.25 feet) of standing growth, which adds to stress in dry regions.

Another problem plant is the African oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacquin), which is grown for biodiesel. In parts of Brazil, it has turned areas of forest with mixed biodiversity in a homogenous layer of palm trees, the GISP said.

The GISP is a partnership gathering the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); CABI, formerly known as the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux; the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Nature Conservancy.

According to figures cited by a GISP press release, invasive species cost the world 1.4 trillion dollars annually, or five percent of the global economy.

The United States alone spends 120 billion dollars annually to tackle more than 800 kinds of invasive pests.
 

s598719

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Oct 27, 2006
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#2
Indonesia is burning their forests right now according to NEA. They have never seen so many hotspots before. They said this one will hit us hard if the wind move the smoke in our direction.
 

garou12

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May 15, 2007
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No you know what is the biggest cause of keeping the price of foods artifically high? The EU and US' FARMING SUBSIDIES.
 

richardg

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Sep 3, 2006
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No you know what is the biggest cause of keeping the price of foods artifically high? The EU and US' FARMING SUBSIDIES.
huh? how so?
AFAIK, these subsidies hurt 3rd country farmers as they keep prices LOW?
 

s598719

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Oct 27, 2006
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huh? how so?
AFAIK, these subsidies hurt 3rd country farmers as they keep prices LOW?
Corn, sugar, vegetable oils & palm oil are increasingly use to make fuels for cars. The emerging competition between the owners of the world’s 860 million automobiles and the 2 billion people is uncharted territory. Suddenly the world is facing a moral and political issue that has no precedent: Should we use grain to fuel cars or to feed people? The average income of the world’s automobile owners is roughly $30,000 a year; the
2 billion people earn on average less than $3,000 a year. The commodities market says, Let’s fuel the cars.
 

richardg

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Sep 3, 2006
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Corn, sugar, vegetable oils & palm oil are increasingly use to make fuels for cars. The emerging competition between the owners of the world’s 860 million automobiles and the 2 billion people is uncharted territory. Suddenly the world is facing a moral and political issue that has no precedent: Should we use grain to fuel cars or to feed people? The average income of the world’s automobile owners is roughly $30,000 a year; the
2 billion people earn on average less than $3,000 a year. The commodities market says, Let’s fuel the cars.
My question is how are farm subsidies keeping prices high?
Thot farm subsidies keep prices LOW?

According to NYT, BBC, main reaons for food price increases are
(not in any order)
1. Diversion of food for bio energy
2. Diversion of food(grains) for meat ( feed cows )
3. Poor harvest in Aussieland

I suspect also..

1. Developing countries are reluctant to invest in grain farming due to getting burnt from USA/EU farm subsidies previously. ie if they invest they might get screwed by US/EU again.
2. Developed countries are reluctant to invest in grain farming due to above and also consumption of grains costs relative to overall food expenditure is not that high for them so marginal incentive to invest in farming to increase production is not sufficiently compelling.

Well good news is that prices are dropping.

References
NYT- Against the grain http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/07/against-the-grain/
BBC - analysis http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7431126.stm
 

yanyewkay

Senior Member
Sep 22, 2004
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Cons digger.
#7
well we can't have the best of both (or 3) worlds. Energy for machines or energy for humans.
As we clear land for either machine or humans, the animals gets displaced and another group will come up to protest.

Like that how? :dunno:

Go solar...
 

Benign

Senior Member
Jan 30, 2004
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Melbourne
gallery127599.fotopic.net
#8
Improve Public Transport Services lor.

The Fact is not everyone need a car. Often, it is probably shopping for groceries, weekend away somewhere. Most of our lives is spent between work and home. But to an egoistic world, we must have not one car, but two or three more cars......the more/bigger cars we got, the better we are in term of status and pride.

Probably it is the wake up call for the human race, that life is better done in moderation. We can't keep on having best and better thing in life. And not knowing that there is an opportunity cost in everything we do.


"This world is burning in the fire of desire, in greed, arrogance and excessive ego.”



What the heck do I care, I don't own a car, nor I give a damn about the direction of this world. I am in fact praying for the worst of market and have a chance to get ahead of those who is going to fall behind........bargains mah.

C'est la vie!
 

Canonised

Senior Member
Aug 27, 2003
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#9
We should learn to eat less animals for food. :think:

A farm cow eats 10 times more earthfood than human and large farm area for animals instead of crop farming.
 

#10
We should learn to eat less animals for food. :think:

A farm cow eats 10 times more earthfood than human and large farm area for animals instead of crop farming.
True. However, eating meat is a far more efficient method of getting energy than eating plant materal. Humans can't even digest a large component of vegetable food (cellulose), which cows can.

As for the biofuels; I don't see why this is such a big issue. The world has always been divided into the have/have not populations. This is not because there isn't enough food on the planet. There is. By far. The biggest problem is the logistics of exporting food like this to countries that are unable to afford the import. No commercial oranisation is going to sit down and pay for the distribution of it's food goods off its own back! Capitalism dictates the need for profitable enterprise regardless of what the venture is. It is merely a sad biproduct of our modern world.

The fact of the matter is that biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce the industrial contribution to atmospheric CO2. Plants are part of the active carbon cycle and their use as a fuel source does not contribute to this cycle. Fossile fuels, on the other hand, represent a dormant carbon source that is suddenly placed back into play.

This is by no means a new issue. Plants used for oil and ethanol production as a fuel source have been in Europe for over twenty years, it is only now, with rising oil prices, that this issue has come to a head. In the end, not using biofuels is not going to magically feed the world's hungry, but it is a valuable aid in combating the far more serious environmental consequences of our fossil fuel addiction.
 

s598719

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Oct 27, 2006
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#11
....

The fact of the matter is that biofuels have the potential to significantly reduce the industrial contribution to atmospheric CO2. Plants are part of the active carbon cycle and their use as a fuel source does not contribute to this cycle. Fossile fuels, on the other hand, represent a dormant carbon source that is suddenly placed back into play.

This is by no means a new issue. Plants used for oil and ethanol production as a fuel source have been in Europe for over twenty years, it is only now, with rising oil prices, that this issue has come to a head. In the end, not using biofuels is not going to magically feed the world's hungry, but it is a valuable aid in combating the far more serious environmental consequences of our fossil fuel addiction.
Sounds good, doesn't it. But u forget that Indon is burning her forest to plant palm oil....this makes CO2 emission worst, not better. And we in Singapore suffocates when the wind blows the smoke over. But then, why would the plantation owners care about us? They just wanna get rich ....... the irony is that their companies are also listed in Singapore.
 

#12
Sounds good, doesn't it. But u forget that Indon is burning her forest to plant palm oil....this makes CO2 emission worst, not better. And we in Singapore suffocates when the wind blows the smoke over. But then, why would the plantation owners care about us? They just wanna get rich ....... the irony is that their companies are also listed in Singapore.
What you are saying is true. However, the matter is different in Europe. Goverment regulation of forestation is far more strict than in a country like Indonesia. In fact, many European countries have some of the highest forest per capita ratios anywhere on earth. It stands to reason that any manner of agricultural process needs to be carefully regulated in order to mitigate the effect on the environment since the vast majority of these plantations are homogenous. It is just unfortunate that some developing countries have such poor regulatory systems (not to mention rampant corruption) and that this causes problems for countries like Singapore. This isn't just the case for biofuel plantations, but for many other things. Heavy industry, water pollution, fishing even transportation. The actions of unscrupulous nations always have negative ramifications on their neighbours. This isn't a problem of biofuels, it is a problem of diplomacy.
 

sORe-EyEz

Senior Member
Jun 28, 2005
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#13
as a nation depandant of foreign food supply ain't we consuming more than we produce?

prices going up is a result of expanding population & economies (worldwide) from many-many decades ago. deforestation, overfishing are symtoms of a larger older problem. as with some problems, the effects take time to snowball till its presence is obvious enough to be felt.

if problems seem so far away, its not a problem isn't it?

dun forget virus like mad cow & bird flu has did lots of damage to food supply in the last few years. it's alittle myopic to put blame on specific source.
 

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