Wednesday, 30 April 2008

AGROFUEL MADNESS - by Larry Powell

WINNIPEG. Apr.29th - '08 - The awful consequences of the biofuel craze now sweeping the planet, were starkly brought to light at a public forum at the University of Winnipeg this evening.

(Car/Combine rendering courtesy of 
the Government of Manitoba।)

 Called "Crops, Cars and Climate Crisis," the forum featured four notable experts on the topic.


They all referred to the dramatic and disastrous food price increases that are devastating the world's poor and which are being aggravated by the diversion of so much food into vehicles.


One of the guest speakers was Javiera Rulli, of "Base Investigaciones" in Paraguay.
She told of an assault taking place on the environment, human health and human rights of citizens of that South American country।


It is all due to the transformation of the small nation to monoculture crops for the production of "biofuels" or "agrofuels" to power vehicles, rather than to feed people, she said.
Big landowners and farmers are clearing forests, displacing people, sometimes by force and treating the large, genetically-engineered fields with sprays that often inflict serious skin ailments on children living nearby, Rulli said।


(Rulli showed her large audience a slide of a young boy suffering from a serious rash covering his entire body।)


She added, this ruthless push to transform the country was being aided and encouraged by large chemical companies such as Syngenta.


People once used the disappearing forests to hunt, trap and log, she went on. Now, those opportunities are disappearing, too, along with natural places and the biodiversity of wildlife which lived there.


Another speaker, Pat Mooney of "ETC Group," Ottawa, said he has spoken directly with many of the "movers and shakers" in the biofuels industry.


Oddly enough, he says, many are, themselves renouncing this rush to divert food into fuel. Instead, he says, they are hinting at some, mysterious "second phase" of biofuels which will correct all the problems of the past. But, he adds, they won't come clean on the details. He notes that the players putting big money into researching this "second phase" are the same ones who've created the problems in the first place!


"Depending on biofuels to solve our problems," quipped Mooney, "is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine!"


The other speakers at the forum were Darrin Qualman of the National Farmers Union and Diddit Pelegrina of SEARICE, the Phillipines.

L.P.

(Also please read "Bursting the Ethanol Bubble.")