Tag Archives: ethanol

Feeding Cars While Billions Starve

One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars – not people, new figures show

New analysis of 2009 US Department of Agriculture figures suggests biofuel revolution is impacting on world food supplies.

One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies.

The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels.

“The grain grown to produce fuel in the US [in 2009] was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels,” said Lester Brown, the director of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington thinktank ithat conducted the analysis.

Last year 107m tonnes of grain, mostly corn, was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol. This was nearly twice as much as in 2007, when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500% by 2017 to save cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions.

More than 80 new ethanol plants have been built since then, with more expected by 2015, by which time the US will need to produce a further 5bn gallons of ethanol if it is to meet its renewable fuel standard.

According to Brown, the growing demand for US ethanol derived from grains helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008. In 2008, the Guardian revealed a secret World Bank report that concluded that the drive for biofuels by American and European governments had pushed up food prices by 75%, in stark contrast to US claims that prices had risen only 2-3% as a result.

Since then, the number of hungry people in the world has increased to over 1 billion people, according to the UN’s World Food programme. Full Story

Over One Billion Starving People – Who Are the Culprits?

U.N. warns of catastrophe as hungry people top one billion

hunger

High food prices have pushed another 105 million people into hunger in the first half of 2009, the head of the U.N. World Food Programme said on Friday, raising the total number of hungry people to over 1 billion.

Urging rich nations at a meeting of G8 development ministers not to cut back on aid, Josette Sheeran said the world faced a human catastrophe as more people struggle to eat a decent meal.

“This year we are clocking in on average four million new hungry people a week, urgently hungry,” Sheeran told Reuters.

“For the first six months of this year, 105 million people have been added,” she said, citing figures to be released by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization next week that will raise the total number of undernourished people to over 1 billion.

In 2008, FAO said the world’s hungry numbered 963 million.

The WFP needs $6.4 billion this year for food aid, but donors’ contributions have fallen way behind that level — it had around $1.5 billion at the end of last week.

The agency says it has had to cut food aid rations and shut some operations in eastern Africa and North Korea because of the credit crunch.

“I know it seems a big figure, but if you compare it with the global stimulus package, it means that for less than 1 percent of that we could help meet the urgent human crisis that is unfolding, and that is just as essential to the stability of the world,” Sheeran said.

She said despite a decline in most food prices from record peaks last year, they remained high in developing countries, while global food aid was at a 20-year low.

The financial crisis has made things worse, and in terms of staple food, people in poorer countries today can only afford about a third of what they could afford three years ago. Full Story

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HungerSite.com

HungerSite.com

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Experts: Obama biofuel policy boosts world hunger

The Obama administration’s policy of producing ethanol as a renewable fuel substitute for gasoline will add to the number of people in Third World countries who are chronically hungry, according to energy experts.

The administration’s mandates for the use of ethanol are “immoral,” asserts Robert Bryce, managing editor of the monthly industry magazine Energy Tribune.

“We are burning food to make motor fuel at a time when there’s a growing global shortage of food and no shortage of motor fuel,” Bryce told WND.

“The corn ethanol scam is not an energy program,” he continued. “It is a massive farm subsidy program masquerading as an energy program.”

The U.S. Department of Energy did not respond to a WND request for comment on this story.

A controversial report released earlier this month by the Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, said the increasing demand for corn to produce ethanol contributed between 10 to 15 percent of the overall 5.1 percent increase in the price of food from April 2007 to April 2008, as measured by the Consumer Price Index. Full Story

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How the World Bank, IMF and WTO destroyed African agriculture

Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains.

Whether in Latin America, Asia, or Africa, the story has been the same: the destabilization of peasant producers by a one-two punch of IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programs that gutted government investment in the countryside followed by the massive influx of subsidized U.S. and European Union agricultural imports after the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture pried open markets. .

African agriculture is a case study of how doctrinaire economics serving corporate interests can destroy a whole continent’s productive base. Full Story

Vilsack: A Poisonous Choice

Six Reasons Monsanto’s Buddy, Former Iowa Governor Vilsack, for USDA Head a Terrible Idea

* Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack’s support of genetically engineered pharmaceutical crops, especially pharmaceutical corn:
http://www.gene.ch/genet/2002/Oct/msg00057.html
http://www.organicconsumers.org/gefood/drugsincorn102302.cfm

* The biggest biotechnology industry group, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, named Vilsack Governor of the Year. He was also the founder and former chair of the Governor’s Biotechnology Partnership.
http://www.bio.org/news/pressreleases/newsitem.asp?id=2001_0920_01

* When Vilsack created the Iowa Values Fund, his first poster child of economic development potential was Trans Ova and their pursuit of cloning dairy cows.

* Vilsack was the origin of the seed pre-emption bill in 2005, which many people here in Iowa fought because it took away local government’s possibility of ever having a regulation on seeds- where GE would be grown, having GE-free buffers, banning pharma corn locally, etc. Representative Sandy Greiner, the Republican sponsor of the bill, bragged on the House Floor that Vilsack put her up to it right after his state of the state address.

* Vilsack has a glowing reputation as being a schill for agribusiness biotech giants like Monsanto. Sustainable ag advocated across the country were spreading the word of Vilsack’s history as he was attempting to appeal to voters in his presidential bid. An activist from the west coast even made this youtube animation about Vilsack
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hmoc4Qgcm4s
The airplane in this animation is a referral to the controversy that Vilsack often traveled in Monsanto’s jet.

*Vilsack is an ardent support of corn and soy based biofuels, which use as much or more fossil energy to produce them as they generate, while driving up world food prices and literally starving the poor.

To learn more about this vitally important issue:

Tom Vilsack’s Kind of Agriculture: Another Shill for Monsanto
You Said NO to Vilsack..
Obama Picks Pro-Ethanol, Agribusiness Ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack to Head Agricultural Dept.

And now, a little humor, steeped in Truth

So that’s my problem – I don’t have my “obama-goggles”…