Cinnamon Stillwell

I’m the West Coast Representative for Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum that focuses on Middle East studies. I was a political columnist for SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online) from 2004-2008. I've written for the American Thinker, Frontpage Magazine, Family Security Matters, Accuracy In Media, Newsbusters, Israel National News, The Jewish Policy Center, J-The Jewish News Weekly of N. CA, Intellectual Conservative and many others. More info at CinnamonStillwell.com.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Hunger on the Rise Worldwide; Biofuels to Blame

As I noted in a recent column on the perils of ethanol and other biofuels, using food for fuel is wrought with difficulties. One of them is hunger, which is on the rise throughout the Third World, largely due to biofuel production. As a result, discontent is brewing, food riots and hoarding are becoming the norm, and governments are finding themselves facing an increasingly hostile and hungry populace.

An International Herald Tribune article (linked at Drudge) spells out the
looming disaster in startling detail (emphasis added):
"It's the worst crisis of its kind in more than 30 years," said Jeffrey Sachs, the economist and special adviser to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki Moon. "It's a big deal, and it's obviously threatening a lot of governments. There are a number of governments on the ropes and I think there's more political fallout to come."

Indeed, as it roils developing nations, the spike in commodity prices - the biggest since the administration of Richard Nixon - has pitted the globe's poorer south against the relatively wealthy north, adding to demands for reform of rich nations' farm and environmental policies.

But experts say there are few quick fixes to a crisis tied to so many factors, such as strong demand for food from emerging economies like China's; rising oil prices; and the diversion of food resources to makebiofuels.
Over at Investor's Business Daily Editorials, cartoonist Michael Ramirez captures the cruel consequences of the biofuel craze with today's (4/18) cartoon, as well as an earlier one for which he won a Pulitzer Prize.

But all of this comes too late, it seems, to stop the momentum. The environmentalists let the genie out of the bottle, and politicians and business interests have run with it. Chances are, when this is all said and done, the "climate crisis" will look like a picnic.

6 Comments:

Blogger Lutheran Lucciola said...

What I don't understand, is why everyone jumped on the Ethanol bandwagon for biofuel. If I understand the process correctly, biofuel can be made with either a Ethanol base, or a Methanol base. The Methanol is an oil product.

In the hyper effort to be completely "green", most of these producers skipped over the Methanol idea, which was a bad choice. Yes, it would mean biofuels would have a bit of oil in them, but who cares.

The Methanol base biofuel would be better for people in colder climates, too. Slightly easier to start your engine up when very cold. Ethanol is much harder.

And of course why we don't use the cleanest of all energies here in the US, like Europe does, is a total mystery. Nuclear. France has made (or is using) some amazingly new and safe plants. And we still use dirty, polluting coal.

New nuclear technology, our own clean slope drilling, biofuel with our own Methanol from said slope drilling, and throw some hydro electric, wind turbine and solar on top of that.....we would be all set. Maybe some day.

Friday, April 18, 2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger RexMundi said...

LL: The pols jumped onboard because of Archer Daniels Midland. The rubes, because it feels good. So much of liberalism is tied up in what makes us feel good, as opposed to what actually resolves the situation.

Yep, we use coal, thanks to the eco-nuts who have blocked the implementation of any new technology that would actually provide clean energy. Sweet irony.

Friday, April 18, 2008 1:01:00 PM  
Blogger Foobarista said...

It's all about the pork. Ethanol has been a porkfest since forever, and AGW fanatics gave agribusiness the shot in the arm it needed to massively increase ethanol production. Whether it works or not is irrelevant - the only thing that matters is that it's "green".

I've always maintained that if ethanol is so wonderful, we'd drop our silly tariffs on Brazilian ethanol, which is made from sugar and actually may "work" (ie, being a net surplus of energy after farming, shipping, refining, etc).

And nukes? They go boom! We can't have that now, can we? (Please note sarcasm: nuke power is the only non-CO2 producing option that makes sense for real baseload power...)

Sunday, April 20, 2008 1:32:00 AM  
Blogger RexMundi said...

The Brazilian model for ethanol looks very promising. Sugarcane is much more efficient for producing ethanol and it's not a major food crop. The majority of their vehicles already use it AND they export it as well.

Monday, April 21, 2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Lutheran Lucciola said...

That's interesting, I didn't know sugar cane could be used for an ethanol also.

The "no nukes" campaign in the 70's was a nightmare for our energy viability. What a shame. We could be so set now. Not to mention no dependency on Saudi Arabia.

Monday, April 21, 2008 7:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cinnamon said...

Unfortunately, sugar cane presents many of the same problems as it too requires increasing amounts of agricultural land. This leads to deforestation, which, in Brazil, means the Amazon. Any way you cut it, biofuels (of all types) cause more problems than they solve.

Nuclear energy, cleaner coal, being able to drill for oil in our own country and purchase the vast amounts of oil being found up in Canada (currently impeded by environmental regulations), as well as solar, wind, electrical cars, etc (for smaller scale production), are all more viable alternatives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 10:04:00 AM  

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