biofuels, environmental degradation and world hunger
We now know that the very thing we hoped would become a multifaceted solution has, like Frankenstein, become a multifaceted nightmare. The real-world experience of biofuels has shown us that biofuels: ratchet up prices for basic food staples which they are displacing or diverting exacerbating world-wide hunger; they are driving increased destruction of virgin rainforests to create yet more farmland so more folks can capitalize on this windfall (an area the size of Rhode Island was cleared in the Amazon in the second half of 2007 for this very purpose!!); the US continues to subsidize the growing of these biofuel crops thereby artificially deflating the cost of this "fuel" when compared to alternative, renewable and clean fuels, thus delaying and suppressing investments in renewable energy research and installations. CBS reports that there have been food riots in Bangladesh, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal. And most recently Haiti where a UN soldier was shot and killed trying to deliver food! (check out New Era of Hunger on www.cbsnews.com).
When all is accounted for, including the loss of world forests, the increased use of fertilizer, the run up in food prices, the civil violence and unrest around the world spurred on by long lines and short supplies, the social injustice (the poor around the world now spend 75% of their income on food alone), the diversion from areas of real energy advancement, biofuels become a culprit, not a savior.
We must limit their development and use and devote our land and our financial resources to those areas that can provide real solutions.