The rush for biofuels could harm the world’s poorest people, Oxfam has said.
In a new report, the UK aid charity appears to be joining a growing chorus of concern about the side-effects of Europe’s drive to get fuel from plants.
BBC News website: ‘Biofuel rush harmful, Oxfam warns’
Perhaps Oxfam should stop pushing climate change propaganda via ‘film parties’ etc.
Yes, it’s that science fiction film ‘AIT’ again.
Is it possible to advocate for action on climate change without advocating for use of biofuels? I get the impression from most of the smears on this site that all ‘greenies’ are tarred with the same biofuel brush.
Just about everyone I know that knows anything about energy and cares anything about climate change agree that biofuels from anything other than waste crop is a waste of time.
Aaron Edmonds says
Second generation biofuels are the only option moving forward unless you want 50% of your disposable income going on food. Cellulosic ethanol and biogas – both utilise crop waste. Not good for soils of the world as classic showdown between cars and microbes to emerge. It’ll be a rivetting battle.
And as the technology emerges to allow utilisation of crop wastes watch demand for fertilizers reach a tipping point. In fact we are already there. Likely to see shortages in potash, DAP and nitrogen this year.
Australia is import dependent for all except for a major proportion of our DAP. Lets hope the globalized trade model can handle an insecure oil supply in the future. Personally I doubt it …
Why we are not developing our own fertilizer deposits at this point of time is beyond me. Neither side of politics has a policy on fertilizer which is strange when you consider fertilizer is integral to food security. Just ask India where they can’t source the fertilizer they need to remain relatively food secure.
Aaron, how about biogas from municipal waste – you can recover fertiliser while producing biogas and you’re just avoiding landfilling a valuable product. I have to admit biogas is a pet favourite of mine. Can’t believe we are not going hard at it.
Interesting comments here. They highlight the unsustainability of our way of living, which depends on fossil fuel to power industry and agriculture. On the latter, the constant export of trace elements and minerals from farm land and rising oil prices mean that food, fertilizer and bio-fuel won’t get cheaper. Perhaps the expontential rise in the human population is appraoching a critical point? Even in Australia there is only 12 hectares of non-arid land available per head of population.
how about some good news for renewables Paul?
Anthony – “Just about everyone I know that knows anything about energy and cares anything about climate change agree that biofuels from anything other than waste crop is a waste of time.”
Completely agree. If anything biofuels are desperate attempt to keep the status quo intact rather than making the necessary changes.
The only real solution is to make cities more liveable, expand public transport and change to a clean fuel, electricity, with all the advantages that it brings.
Paul Biggs says
Seems both The likes of Oxfam and the RSPB moan about alternative energy designed to help ‘tackle’ the alarmist climate change propaganda they promote – the RSPB don’t like wind turbines (white elephants surrounded by dead birds).
Oxfam, RSPB and WWF should remove any link to ‘man-made global warming/climate change’ from their websites and get on with what they were supposedly set up to do in the first place. Trying to control the climate by attempting to manipulate atmospheric CO2 holds no hope or solution for their respective causes.
*no one* has ever said we *control* the climate.
The rise of CO2 is just a result of the law of unintended consequences. All we are trying to do is get it back to where it was before we started burning fossil fuels that had locked up carbon underground for millions of years.
In some respects we do wish to control our local climate – we use air-conditioners, plant leafy parks, make swimming pools, install central heating, and wish droughts and hurricanes would go away. Pity our climate control has a feedback mechanism to rachet up the extremes.
Schiller Thurkettle says
Oxfam are idiots.
First, they say that farm subsidies in developing nations drive *down* the price of commodities, making it hard for farmers in developing nations to compete.
Along come biofuels, which drive prices *up* for commodities. Wouldn’t that help farmers in developing nations?
Nope–turns out Oxfam opposes any changes, and opposes… hmph. Well, it opposes everything other than itself.
I’d say Oxfam doesn’t understand economics, but it does. It exists to make money for itself, in a way that avoids taxation.
Grow your own bio-fuel neo-con scumoid – don’t rape the 3rd world’s resources for your selfish needs.
Schiller Thurkettle says
Please tell me how to “rape the 3rd world’s resources.”
Should I do it by raising prices for commodities, or by lowering them?
Someone, such as yourself, who is willing to call me a “neo-con scumoid”, obviously will have the final answer.
Or at least, an answer credible enough to justify your use of pre-teen trash words.
Doubtless, your education is so comprehensive that you can render a reasoned opinion, but your verbiage suggests that you dropped out of kindergarten and were recently released from the penitentiary.
Hi everybody !!! China had a go at forcing down soy oil prices.Apparently it didn’t work.
That job is still waiting for you Kuke…I mean Luke…tilling the soil! Can be satisfying but the pay can be lousy if you hedge wrong!
Helen Mahar says
Shiller, there are a number of ways for the first world to “rape” the third world’s resources.
I will list some that are exacerbated by Government intervention, usually as a result of pressure from advocacy groups – eg conservation or business.
We have a couple of neat ones in Australia. They involve sequestering our own resources and using someone else’s.
We are progressively locking up our coastline into marine parks. Then in the name of sustainability, severely limiting the catch from the areas still left open for fishing. We now import more than half the fish we consume. From countries with both much less coastline than ours, and much more heavily populated coastlines than ours. I won’t go into product quality controls – or lack of. Another subject.
Similar with our timber industries. Our timber industry in serious decline as it’s resource base – the national estate – is progressively being locked up in conservation reserves. We now import a lot of timber – much of it from, to put it politely, poorly controlled logging operations to our north.
Want to increase the use of biofuels? Just mandate say a 20% domestic use by year dot. What local producers cannot supply has to be imported. Third world operators are getting into this supply chain with disastrous environmental, social, (and food cost) results. But the money is good.
I haven’t touched on agricultural subsidies, which, unlike the EU and the USA, Australian farmers do not have. but they send impossible-to-ignore price signals too.
And wjp – an interesting link. Thank you.