Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Tuesday 9 October 2007

Framing bio-fuels as agro-fuels

After my shopping, I realize that my breakfast tomorrow will be more expensive than that of today. The reason is my cornflakes. The prices of corn have gone up because of the “go yellow” hype in the US. Rising oil prices, energy security, and global warming concerns have led to this hype over corn ethanol. The conservation community still labels it as bio-fuel.

But recent research shows that the expansion of the corn ethanol industry will lead to more water and air pollution and soil erosion of America's farm belt, while failing to significantly offset fossil fuel use or combat global warming. Rapeseed and maize bio-diesels are calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. By framing our energy problems as being about which source of fuel to use, we have landed in a trap that is hurting local farmers.

Fuel and food are already competing for land in the US. It will affect prices of meat and other agricultural products. This is just the beginning. The whole issue gets an ethical dimension if we calculate worldwide the space needed for fuel and food. Can we drive cars while others go hungry? So my question again to the conservation community: “why not start framing the issue as the energy scam of the agri-business? Or if this is too political, at least change the word bio-fuel into agro-fuel?”


Anonymous said...

here here brother writing a book right now with this vision already in mind,,,

Anonymous said...

Well written article.