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UN rapporteur calls for biofuel moratorium

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posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 06:58 PM
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UN rapporteur calls for biofuel moratorium


www.swissinfo.ch

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food is demanding an international five-year ban on producing biofuels to combat soaring food prices.
Switzerland's Jean Ziegler said the conversion of arable land for plants used for green fuel had led to an explosion of agricultural prices which was punishing poor countries forced to import their food at a greater cost.
"232kg of corn is needed to make 50 litres of bioethanol," Ziegler said on Thursday. "A child could live a year on that
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
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www.swissi nfo.ch




posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 06:58 PM
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First of all, what is a Rapporteur?

Eventual widespread food shortages (think all of Africa instead of just Darfur) have been a concern of mine since the biofuel craze began. Looks like we are starting to see the effect now. It is only going to get worse, imo, unless we find an alternative to alternative fuels like ethanol.

Hardcore CTer's (like me) will say it is all part of the plan of the global fascist elite to eliminate the middle class and bring us all into servitude.

Passive solar, geothermal, wave-action, thermo-cline pumps, etc., need more research funding, imo. Anybody out there know how to generate free energy?

We have to break the stranglehold on energy production of Big Oil (over $92 a barrel today), and Big Coal, and Big Nuclear, Big Any-Fossil-Fuel for that matter, before it breaks us. Ethanol is counter-productive to that.

www.swissinfo.ch
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 08:45 PM
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Well, if they'd quit using food crops for biofuel and let people use hemp, this wouldn't be as much of a problem. Industrial hemp can grow in soils and conditions that food crops can't, plus it uses less water than cotton and is a highly efficient oil source.

Read up on hemp oil biodiesel here

But with the propaganda machine what it is, hemp won't be allowed until we actually run out of petrochemicals, IMO.


MBF

posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 11:03 PM
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First of all, one of the by products of ethanol production is distillers grain which can be used as food for livestock. All this talk of people going hungry and starving to death is just nothing but crap. All the food price increases are nothing but price gouging. If the price of a box of Corn Flakes increases more than $.02-$.03 it is price gouging because that reflects the increase in the price of the corn at the maximum.



posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 11:07 PM
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I'm not so sure if I buy into all the hype about biofuels, but if they are to be continued they should be unsubsidized, IMHO. Let the market decide what balance of biofuels and food grains we should have. It's grossly unethical for the government to be cramming these purchasing decisions down people's throats.



posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 11:22 PM
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Bio-fuel is a non-starter, unless you are using waste (like composting).
Growing crops for fuel production consumes more oil than just using the oil! We're not talking a little bit... we're talking a rate of 2000 calories of oil to produce 1 calorie of crop thanks to oil based fertilizers, pesticides, and mechanized production.

The bio-fuel craze is a cash grab, pure and simple.



posted on Oct, 26 2007 @ 11:23 PM
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reply to post by BitRaiser
 


A cash grab and also a really underhanded way for politicians to snag the rural vote.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 12:07 AM
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reply to post by MBF
 


I consider this opinion shortsighted, at best. What happens as we continue to deplete oil supplies and increase our reliance on biofuels? Also, the UN obviously isn't talking about boxes of cornflakes in developed countries at this point. Most assuredly, the short term effect will be felt first in developing countries that are having difficulty feeding their exploding populations already. Maybe that doesn't concern you.

I agree that biofuel from waste products is a viable stop-gap measure, but I doubt it will replace our dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon. One of the related links I posted looks at wood chips, though I don't think they produce ethanol.

Hemp is a viable option as well, probably one of the best, but I don't think we will find an oil and opiate controlled world turning to hemp anytime soon either, unless some major changes are made at the very top.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 01:02 AM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
reply to post by MBF
 


I consider this opinion shortsighted, at best. What happens as we continue to deplete oil supplies and increase our reliance on biofuels? Also, the UN obviously isn't talking about boxes of cornflakes in developed countries at this point. Most assuredly, the short term effect will be felt first in developing countries that are having difficulty feeding their exploding populations already. Maybe that doesn't concern you.

The major issue is that farmers are forgoing food crops in order to cash in on the biofuel crop craze which are giving them better returns due to the hype. As they produce less food, the price of food increases. If allowed to continue, this could get ugly.


I agree that biofuel from waste products is a viable stop-gap measure, but I doubt it will replace our dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon. One of the related links I posted looks at wood chips, though I don't think they produce ethanol.

The thing to remember is that all organics store energy that they used to grow. It is possible to extract that energy through various means. When you burn wood, the energy released is what it stored during it's life cycle and is returned as heat. Burning is the most efficient way to extract energy from most substances. Woodchips can be used to produce alcohol, but it's much more efficient to simply burn them.


Hemp is a viable option as well, probably one of the best, but I don't think we will find an oil and opiate controlled world turning to hemp anytime soon either, unless some major changes are made at the very top.

The problem is there's nothing magic about any crop production. You will only get out of it what you put in. Hemp is a good crop because it's very hardy and can extract what it needs to grow from soil that wouldn't support many other plants. The problem is, if you harvest it, it doesn't return anything to the soil and thus the soil becomes depleted... unless you fertilize it. Then you're either stuck with useless soil that can't be used for growing anything or you expend resources to revitalize it.
While there are "green" production methods for farming, it's a rather poor energy production scheme and there's not much that can be done about it.
The Law of Conservation of Energy always prevails and dictates that you will never get quite the same energy out as what you put in (because inefficiencies always occur).

Oil is no different, by the way.
What we are burning as oil is hundreds of thousands (if not indeed billions) of years of solar energy that has been captured, processed, and stored by organics. Understanding this is a good way to come to grips with the fact of oil depletion. We're ripping though oil at a rate that far exceeds the plant's organic energy capture system. Each time you drive to work, you've burned the energy that it's taken the planet decades to store.

Kinda makes ya feel a little guilty, doesn't it?

Edit to add:


Rapporteur (derived from French) is used in international and European legal and political contexts to refer to a person appointed by a deliberative body to investigate an issue or a situation, and report back to that body.

Wiki

[edit on 27-10-2007 by BitRaiser]



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 01:21 AM
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Great post. Thanks for the concise and informative response.

Maximizing efficiency in an inefficient, wasteful global society is going to be a big challenge. Convincing folks they need to give up a lot of perks in exchange for sustainability in an instant gratification expectation awareness environment will be no easy task.

Feeling guilty operating in an inherited system is a waste of time, imo. Guilt is demonic, anyway. I do feel convicted to do whatever I can personally to limit my own waste and consumption, however, and to encourage others to do the same.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 02:37 AM
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I do have spirituel beliefs, but is in no way a religious person.

Nonetheless it seems to me, ever since this craze came up, that the first intention of this, to burn food for profit instead of sustaining man, was nothing more than a capital desecration, far beyond that of a deadly sin.

I admit it could be administered very well if it was done in respect to maintain and sustain the earth, a global ecology. However it is not so, politics of agriculture is dictated by subsides.

Further more you now have the holy trinity of the corporate parnassus, a triple symboism, where one breath to make the heart of the other beat. Big Oil and Big Chemistry, the latter a spin-off of the former, and Big Food united to control close to 100 % of our lives.

Just think about it next time you tank the SUV.

What you burn in a few day or a week's time could have fed a 3rd world family one year.

Unless your agenda is to rather see that family die off of course.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 03:12 PM
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If all the farmland of the world would be used for ethanol it will cover only 10% of our current consumption.
www.harpers.org...
Farmers plant ethanol crops for bigger profit, that means less food crops, higher prices, the poor people will have problems
articles.moneycentral.msn.com...


New research by a University of California petroleum engineering professor suggests that worldwide crude oil supplies will start to run so low over the next nine years that resource-blessed countries like Saudi Arabia will begin to hoard them for domestic use instead of exporting -- and states with large reservoirs of natural gas, like Montana, will seek ways to avoid sharing with less-advantaged neighbors like Oregon.

Attempts to forestall the political and economic damage by turning aggressively to agriculture for "renewable" transportation fuel in the form of ethanol will prove futile, according to professor Tad W. Patzek, as new calculations show that the entire surface of the Earth cannot create enough additional biomass to replace more than 10% of current fossil fuel use.


[edit on 27-10-2007 by pai mei]


MBF

posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 10:33 PM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising
reply to post by MBF
 


I consider this opinion shortsighted, at best. What happens as we continue to deplete oil supplies and increase our reliance on biofuels? Also, the UN obviously isn't talking about boxes of cornflakes in developed countries at this point. Most assuredly, the short term effect will be felt first in developing countries that are having difficulty feeding their exploding populations already. Maybe that doesn't concern you.


It's reality. I live with it every day of my life because I am a farmer. I never said that ethanol from corn is the solution to all problems because it's not. There are other crops that have a higher ethanol yield /acre than corn. Besides, you don't even have to use food crops to produce ethanol. The example I used with the Corn Flakes was to show that just because the price of corn doubles, does not mean that the price of food should double. Right now there is about $.06 worth of corn in a box of Corn Flakes. The price of wheat has went way up and right now there is about $.15 worth of wheat in a loaf of bread. All my life, I have had to deal with being told you farmers are over producing so we can't pay very much for your crops. We have sold our crops for less than production costs for decades and a lot of farmers have gone just about as far as they can even with the subsidies that everybody complains about us getting. This price increase for now is just a glitch because if there is a large increase in ethanol production, the corporations will find some excuse to get the corn from us farmers as cheap as they can. And as for the starving people in the developing countries, they don't buy our food anyway do they? I always wished that the government would just give them the food just to get it out of inventory so there could be no claims of huge carry over stocks to use as an excuse to keep prices low.



I agree that biofuel from waste products is a viable stop-gap measure, but I doubt it will replace our dependence on fossil fuels anytime soon. One of the related links I posted looks at wood chips, though I don't think they produce ethanol.


I feel that there is a huge amount of waste products that could be used for energy. I have felt for years that waste wood could he a huge source of energy. When trees are harvested, there is a huge amount of limbs and tops left to rot. These could be used to produce methanol(I may be just a farmer, but chemistry is one of the fields that I have a degree in). I made a rough calculation about a year ago concerning wheat straw. Most wheat fields after they are gathered are burned. The energy content is equal, if I remember right, to about 8,000,000,000 gal of gasoline. That's energy just thrown away every year.



Hemp is a viable option as well, probably one of the best, but I don't think we will find an oil and opiate controlled world turning to hemp anytime soon either, unless some major changes are made at the very top.


I don't know enough about hemp to comment, but I see a lot of people talking about it.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:29 PM
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Originally posted by Icarus Rising

It is only going to get worse, imo, unless we find an alternative to alternative fuels like ethanol.



Or we're going to have to drive less. Given that 40,000 Americans die in car accidents annually, I really don't understand why effective mass transit isn't a national security priority.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:36 PM
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Originally posted by MajorMalfunction
Well, if they'd quit using food crops for biofuel and let people use hemp, this wouldn't be as much of a problem.



Or maybe Americans could eat more modestly and share our surplus food production with other nations. Americans throw away over 1/4 of all the food we produce.

"5 percent of American's leftovers could feed 4 million people for 1 day."

www.cnn.com...



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:42 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
Let the market decide what balance of biofuels and food grains we should have.


If you think we have a free market in the United States, maybe you missed the airline bailout after 911, or the recent bank bailout, or the periodic interest rate manipulations by the Federal Reserve, or the FCC forcing television broadcasters to switch from analog to digital in order to free up more spectrum to auction off, or that foreign war we're fighting in part to control oil prices, or domestic farming subsidies, etc.




[edit on 27-10-2007 by America Jones]

[edit on 27-10-2007 by America Jones]



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:46 PM
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reply to post by America Jones
 


Non sequitor! How can my plea that biofuels be subjected to the free market be interpreted as meaning that I believe America, at present, is an example of perfect free market economics?



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:52 PM
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Conventional internal combustion engines are as big a scam as anything else the energy industry has come up with. The best internal combusion engines are only about 30% efficient. That means, at best, 70% of the energy you buy as gasoline is lost as ambient heat.



posted on Oct, 27 2007 @ 11:53 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
reply to post by America Jones
 


Non sequitor! How can my plea that biofuels be subjected to the free market be interpreted as meaning that I believe America, at present, is an example of perfect free market economics?


There is no free market available to decide anything.

It's difficult to comprehend the extent to which social engineering programs influence our economy. Take government-backed home lending, for example. During the Cold War, the US federal government decided that urban populations represented a risk to national security because they could be readily targeted by Soviet nuclear weapons. The government decided to spread out the population, so it created government-backed mortgages as incentive for people to move out of cities and built the Interstate highway to enable the realization of its goal. This is not an isolated example.

[edit on 28-10-2007 by America Jones]



posted on Oct, 28 2007 @ 12:40 AM
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reply to post by MBF
 


It is great to have a knowledgeable farmer commenting on this thread. Your perspective is especially valuable to this discussion. You came on a little strong there in your first post, and I misinterpreted your tone as callous. I apologize for the initial tone of my response. I now realize that these issues must be near and dear to you and that is probably why you responded the way you did. You have every right to be vested in this topic to the hilt. To me, there is no such thing as "just a farmer." I grew up on a ranch, and I am close to the earth in that way as well. Probably not as close as you, though.

Thanks again for your contribution, not just to this thread, but to keeping us all fed. Please add any other relevant thoughts or pertinent information you may have. I'm curious about the wheat straw. Is it burned to help fertilize the soil for the next round of crops, or just to get it out of the way?




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