Attacks on Biofuels Poorly Conceived
It is important to understand that all of these factors--in varying degrees--impact upon food prices. Other unlisted factors are even more important to particular regions, such as food being used as a weapon against the people by vindictive governments and officials, civil wars, and other local political factors. Food prices--like all global commodity prices--are subject to multi-factorial fluctuations. When an analyst selects one factor out of many to blame, he is engaging in irrational scapegoating. (This mis-attribution of causes is common among financial analyst commentators in the media. In an attempt to appear omniscient, they instead come across as clueless.)
_source_[editorial reassortment by order of importance AF]
- High energy prices (which affects production and shipping costs).
- Increase in demand from developing countries: “going from 1 meal a day to 2 meals a day” leads to an increase in the amount of food needed.
- More meat in diets in developing countries.
- Droughts in important growing regions, including Australia and Europe.
- Reduced food stocks.
- Commodities trading/futures trading: food being used as a financial instrument.
- Increased production of biofuels.
The use of food crops to make fuel will not last beyond the next few years--so even this minor effect on food prices will be removed.
Now Choren wants to mark the dawn of a new age. The plant in Freiberg uses non-food biomass instead of traditional crops and is the first of its kind to cross the threshold from theoretical research into industrial production. This advanced refinery was designed to furnish proof that the new fuels are feasible - and can be produced on a much larger scale.It appears that the inordinate focus on biofuels--the scapegoating of biofuels--is a terrible distraction and waste of time, when the real problems are crying out for attention.
Instead of sugar beets and rapeseed, the new plant processes wood as its raw material. In a pinch, it can also use straw. Using these materials significantly increases the yields from cultivated areas. According to estimates provided by the German Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR), the annual energy yields using the Choren process, based on a Central European climate, are 4,000 liters of fuel per hectare (1,057 US gallons), which is up to three times as much as previous biofuel production methods. What’s more, in contrast to production methods using rapeseed oil and ethanol, this technique does not produce fuel of inferior quality. Choren manufactures extremely pure diesel with virtually no sulfur. Moreover, these second generation biofuels do not harm particle filters or engines and meet top emissions standards. __Spiegel__viaCheckBiotech
Intelligent people look for local and regional solutions to both energy scarcity and food scarcity. The misguided tendency to fixate on global solutions to all problems--even if they are local and regional problems--is at the root of many of the disasters caused when the developed world tries to help the undeveloped world. We need a more intelligent approach than most bureaucrats, academics, and journalists are capable of conceiving.
PDF document of images showing available land for crops globally via NewEnergyandFuel