Friday, March 30, 2007

Castro ends 8-month silence to slam US ethanol plans

Uh oh, I agree with Castro?

From M&C News:
Ending eight months of silence, ailing Cuban President Fidel Castro published an article in Cuban state media Thursday criticizing US environmental policies, and in particular plans to boost the use of ethanol.

'The sinister idea of converting food into fuel has definitely been established as an economic lineament in US foreign policy,' the Cuban leader wrote, arguing that US President George W Bush's support for using crops to produce ethanol for automobiles in rich nations could deplete food stocks in developing countries.[snip]
'More than 3 billion people in the world condemned to premature death by hunger and thirst,' read the headline of Castro's article.[snip]
In the article, Castro warned that the plans to convert products like corn, sugar cane or soy into ethanol for use as fuel additives could cause serious ecological damage and would adversely affect the third world population.[snip]
According to the Cuban leader, even if the US dedicated its entire corn production to the production of ethanol, there still would not be enough ethanol for its fuel needs.

'If you apply this recipe in Third World countries, you'll see how many people of the hungry masses of our planet will stop eating corn. Or even worse: finance poor countries to produce ethanol from corn and there won't even be one tree to defend humanity of the climate change,' Castro wrote.

The Cuban president said instead of these policies, countries should concentrate on other ways of saving energy, as Cuba does.

'All the countries in the world, poor and rich, could save millions and millions of dollars just by changing all incandescent light bulbs into fluorescent ones, something Cuba has been doing in all homes. That would give climate change a break without starving the poor masses of the world,' said Castro, who in the past few years has made ecology one of his major interests.
I said it before I think turning food into combustible fuel is a profoundly bad idea. We have already seen protests in Mexico over the increase in the price of corn tortillas, the staple of the Mexican poor. There is only so much land available for growing crops and it should go to feed humans, not cars.

This is what I mean about not thinking through ideas thoroughly, before accepting them. It sounds good to turn corn and sugar into combustible fuel, but people cannot eat crude oil, engines can.

You don't think this will affect you? Well, think again, because everything we feed corn to will go up in price, including meat, corn, sugar, milk and baked goods.

Congratulations, for turning a theoretical problem of global warming into a very real problem of world hunger.