Monday, January 28, 2013

Starving The Poor To Feed Green Illusions

Starving The Poor To Feed Green Illusions

 
Decades of activism haven’t taught greens much about policy. The latest horror out of the sequential failure machine known as the green movement is the biofuels disaster now afflicting the Guatemalan poor. The New York Times reports:
Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel.
In a globalized world, the expansion of the biofuels industry has contributed to spikes in food prices and a shortage of land for food-based agriculture in poor corners of Asia, Africa and Latin America because the raw material is grown wherever it is cheapest.
Now that the United States is using 40 percent of its [corn] crop to make biofuel, it is not surprising that tortilla prices have doubled in Guatemala, which imports nearly half of its corn…Roughly 50 percent of the nation’s children are chronically malnourished, the fourth-highest rate in the world, according to the United Nations.
To make things worse: evidence suggests that the corn ethanol program, for the sake of which callous greens condemned the world’s poor to higher food prices, is a failure even on environmental terms and fails to reduce greenhouse gasses.
We’re betting that this news won’t dent greens’ self-confidence. They will still insist that unless they are put in charge of the entire world economy we face disaster. The sad truth is that the more power they get, the more damage they do.
The world needs a smart green movement. Barring that, a green movement that bothered to think through consequences and make a serious cost benefit analysis on its proposals would be an immense improvement over the shambles we have now.
And congrats to NYT reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal. In the past we’ve criticized some of her work as failing to look at or acknowledge green follies. In reporting this piece, she and the Grey Lady are getting it right.

http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/01/07/clueless-greens-starving-the-worlds-poor/

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