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Thread: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

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    NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/sc...ref=world&_r=0

    Recent laws in the United States and Europe that mandate the increasing use of biofuel in cars have had far-flung ripple effects, economists say, as land once devoted to growing food for humans is now sometimes more profitably used for churning out vehicle fuel.

    In a globalized world, the expansion of the biofuels industry has contributed to spikes in food prices and a shortage of land for food-based agriculture in poor corners of Asia, Africa and Latin America because the raw material is grown wherever it is cheapest.
    We are taking food out of the mouths of the poor and burning it in our cars. This is unbelievable, unconscionable, unthinkable, and shameful.

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    The link isn't resolving for this and I'm sensitive to the issue, I've heard something similar to this may happen, but I don't see how this would work against third world countries. The plant stock for biofuel isn't the same as that for food. If the acreage is being used for a crop that is a product instead of for food, then they have a farming business and folks can afford food and thus some more land will be cultivated to supply that food.

    In fact, it moves them out of the cycle of subsistence farming (having barely enough to feed just the family each season), and into the cultivation of a saleable product.

    Even IF the company just buys the land and sets up shop instead of local ownership, that still brings jobs (that however low paying are more than before), greens the area (irrigation baby) and does not prevent folks from growing their own food as they always have.

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Look at the damage our own brilliant American ethanol program works out to be. Then look who supports this and won't let this idiotic ad expensive program go away.

    Since we can afford this, we can afford anything. Right?

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    What makes it even worse is that ethanol isn't even energy-positive. You expend more energy creating it than you get from burning it.

    Ethanol is a giant, taxpayer-funded handout to the corn industry. And why? Because Iowa has a lot of electoral votes.
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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Quote Originally Posted by clownboy View Post
    The link isn't resolving for this and I'm sensitive to the issue, I've heard something similar to this may happen, but I don't see how this would work against third world countries. The plant stock for biofuel isn't the same as that for food. If the acreage is being used for a crop that is a product instead of for food, then they have a farming business and folks can afford food and thus some more land will be cultivated to supply that food.

    In fact, it moves them out of the cycle of subsistence farming (having barely enough to feed just the family each season), and into the cultivation of a saleable product.

    Even IF the company just buys the land and sets up shop instead of local ownership, that still brings jobs (that however low paying are more than before), greens the area (irrigation baby) and does not prevent folks from growing their own food as they always have.
    I think the article explains it well enough--it isn't what they are planting but what we are not planting to export to them at cheap prices---Corn. We are planting 40% less corn allegedly so supply and demand have driven up the price of the corn they import. America is the breadbasket of the world.

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Look at Federal Farm Subsidies.. They pay people NOT to plant corn.. Billions of dollars. Michele Bachman is a recipient.

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Corn as a biofuel is stupid. Thank you midwest congressman (mostly Republicans btw) for constantly maintaining those giant farming subsidies for corn farmers to do this.

    The future of Bio-fuel is algae. Not corn. Not soybean. Not food.
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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    What makes it even worse is that ethanol isn't even energy-positive. You expend more energy creating it than you get from burning it.

    Ethanol is a giant, taxpayer-funded handout to the corn industry. And why? Because Iowa has a lot of electoral votes.
    Ethanol as the major component in fuel [in the US] does not make a lot of sense. Ethanol as an additive does make a lot more sense, especially given the downsides to the perviously used alternatives (MTBE and before it tetraethyl lead).

    EDIT: The issue of corn subsidies for ethanol production, competing against foreign ethanol sources, is another facet of it of course.
    Last edited by Dwight; 01-09-13 at 10:26 AM.

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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    E85 is terrible idea. Instead of investing billions in an alternative fuel that will never met the world energy needs, how about we spend those billions on making hydrogen and electric cars more viable?
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    Re: NYT: As Biofuel Demand Grows, So Do Guatemala’s Hunger Pangs

    Quote Originally Posted by Juiposa View Post
    E85 is terrible idea. Instead of investing billions in an alternative fuel that will never met the world energy needs, how about we spend those billions on making hydrogen and electric cars more viable?
    Yeah, I've always thought those tax dollars would be better directed at research and a start on infrastructure, rather than at subsidies for existing (inadequate) electric vehicles and a wasteful "energy source."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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