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 Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy

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PostSubject: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Mon May 05, 2008 10:19 pm

I vividly remember being shocked when Trevor Sargent turned up at a Food Security debate and last year’s Electric Picnic with a commercial biofuel Producer in tow, who shared the stage (a bale of hay) with him for the whole event and was joint speaker. I was not the only one there who could not get their head around the relevance of biofuel production to food security except as a negative. Sargent at no stage conceded there was a problem in relation to food production and biofuels.

The Green’s position on biofuels is beginning to be more than exasperating and to beg questions as to why they are fixed on biofuel promotion in the face of all reason.

People are rioting in Somalia today as they can’t afford to buy basic staple foods (CNN). Only last week Jean Ziegler (U N expert on the right to food) delivered a speech at a food security meeting saying that more than two billion people in the developing countries are on the verge of starvation due to the food supply crisis. He called for a moratorium on production of bio-fuels from foodstuff. He said the rise in global food prices was due to a combination of factors of which huge investments in the production of bio fuels in developed countries, speculative trading in cereals by multinational companies, and high transport costs occasioned by high fuel prices were key.

Apart from pushing up food prices it has been well established that bioethanol fuels result in little or no reduction in carbon emissions and also that horrifying destruction of rainforest is going on for mass production of palm oil for biofuels. It takes a year’s food supply for a person to fill one SUV tank with grain ethanol.

The EU and UK have both announced reviews of proposed biofuel measures.

The Irish Greens have chosen this week to announce that Government is going to ignore the above and push on with plans for a quota of biofuel amounting to 2 % of all transport fuels by the end of this year and 5.75% by the end of 2010 (IT page 5). In spite of Eamon Ryan’s claim that imports will be monitored, the WTO rules prevent differentiation and there is no evidence that there can be a ready, identifiable supply to meet the quota.

The Green Party have stood by a doctrinaire policy of promoting biofuels even though they know that food price rises i.e. starvation will result and there will be serious environmental impacts. Trevor Sargent admitted in an interview with the Farmers Journal in 2007 that biofuels would increase world food prices. His proposal is that we “grow more tillage”. There is no evidence of any study having been undertaken of the feasibility and impacts of this in Ireland and for some reason Marie Antoinette comes to mind. The Greens propose to use imported biofuels with no identified source: they would almost certainly include oils grown on former rainforest lands.

Harry McGee in today’s Irish Times points out that the Greens are putting fuel security above the environment and above food security.

Why???

UN Radio Link to Speech
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PostSubject: Re: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Mon May 05, 2008 10:39 pm

This is getting better and better. The crop they choose for fuel was corn or what is called maize there. It takes 70% of the output energy to produce. If the wanted biofuel they would have used suger grain like in Brazil which takes 30% and relatively speaking is a roaring success. I read yesterday that 50 billion of subsidies have been given. This sounds like a lot of money but it can be looked up. If this figure is correct then they could have put 10000 dollars worth of solar panels on 500000 homes in the Sunbelt. Does anybody think that Al Gore is so stupid that he can not figure this out.
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PostSubject: Re: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Mon May 05, 2008 10:52 pm

Why on earth did they close the Irish sugar beet industry down?? We could have "grown our own" without affecting anyone's food security. This whole issue needs sorting out. We shouldn't be filling anyone's SUV at the expense of food. We need to cut through the planning red tape, go gung ho on all sorts of renewable electricity generation schemes, and move on to a new generation of vehicles that will do the first 30 miles on an electric battery, before the petrol engine kicks in. People sing the praises of the economic "free market", but the free market only cares about who can pay more, not who suffers as a result. Food items need exemption from WTO rules, nations need to guard their food security, especially as importing food from Brazil/New Zealand/Kenya may not be viable for much longer. I gather the free trade malarkey has been the ruin of many a third world country as they've been forced to accept cheap subsidised imports... and it won't suit us to abolish the CAP, so if free trade in food doesn't help them and it doesn't help us, why, oh why is bl**dy Mandelson being given a free reign in the negotiations?? It may have solved problems in the 90s but things have changed and I have a horrible feeling folks like Mandy haven't joined the dots on just how scarce fuel may soon become
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PostSubject: Re: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Mon May 05, 2008 11:14 pm

Has anyone gotten an update on what I heard on the bbc about the President of Senegal blaming the FAO for the food problem and calling for it to be disbanded. When the likes of the world bank and the IMF start meddlingin these countries they are there to loot them. The best selling book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man tells it like it is. Expat Girl, I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that countries need to guard their food security. Countries need to look after themselves and get rid of WTO and all the rest. Get rid of the politicians who are notlooking after their citizens as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Tue May 06, 2008 2:44 am

The Greens were slow to cop on about biofuels, but I think they're getting the hang of it now. This video clip of their recent convention shows a lot of awareness on their part.

Palm oil is a mighty scandal, especially in relation to the rainforests. It's ridiculous how much palm oil is being consumed in Europe, I mean in food products. Try finding biscuits that are made without palm oil. And it tastes awful. The only really tasty biscuits are the ones made with butter.

expat girl wrote:
Why on earth did they close the Irish sugar beet industry down?? We could have "grown our own" without affecting anyone's food security.
While I agree with your other points, I have to point out that shutting down the Irish sugar industry was the right way to go. If we need sugar (and we should be eating much less of it), we can always get it from southern countries, where it is produced easily, cheaply, and without chemicals. Sugar beet was the most chemical-intensive crop grown in Ireland, and it did a lot of harm to the soil, as well as to our health. And of course the CAP subsidies were ridiculous, even if we Irish weren't paying for them. The sugar industry is a byword for corruption and injustice.
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PostSubject: Re: Green Party Biofuel / Starvation Policy   Tue May 06, 2008 2:49 am

soubresauts wrote:
The Greens were slow to cop on about biofuels, but I think they're getting the hang of it now. This video clip of their recent convention shows a lot of awareness on their part.

Palm oil is a mighty scandal, especially in relation to the rainforests. It's ridiculous how much palm oil is being consumed in Europe, I mean in food products. Try finding biscuits that are made without palm oil. And it tastes awful. The only really tasty biscuits are the ones made with butter.

expat girl wrote:
Why on earth did they close the Irish sugar beet industry down?? We could have "grown our own" without affecting anyone's food security.
While I agree with your other points, I have to point out that shutting down the Irish sugar industry was the right way to go. If we need sugar (and we should be eating much less of it), we can always get it from southern countries, where it is produced easily, cheaply, and without chemicals. Sugar beet was the most chemical-intensive crop grown in Ireland, and it did a lot of harm to the soil, as well as to our health. And of course the CAP subsidies were ridiculous, even if we Irish weren't paying for them. The sugar industry is a byword for corruption and injustice.

I heard that when the convention was on and thought they had seen the light. Unfortunately not, given today's news. Sargeant bringing the guy along to a Food Security event to promote his biofuels business I thought was not appropriate.


Last edited by cactus flower on Tue May 06, 2008 3:00 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : mind wandering - lateness)
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