Monday, January 07, 2008

mammals biking through the dying days of the petro-dinosaurs

We need a solution to the global warming caused by cars, but biofuel isn’t it. If the production of biofuels is big enough to affect climate change, it will be big enough to cause global starvation.

The market responds to money, not need. People who own cars have more money than people at risk of starvation. In a contest between their demand for fuel and poor people’s demand for food, the car-owners win every time. Something very much like this is happening already. Though 800 million people are permanently malnourished, the global increase in crop production is being used to feed animals: the number of livestock on earth has quintupled since 1950. The reason is that those who buy meat and dairy products have more purchasing power than those who buy only subsistence crops.


1 comment:

chic cyclist said...

Biofuels don't necessarily have to come from food stuffs. While we have more experience making ethanol from sugar (humans have done it for thousands of years), it is possible (and desirable) to make it from cellulose instead.

As a vegetarian who rides her bike I'll be sure to say that a many-pronged approach is essential to dealing with our energy issues, and cellulosic ethanol is a reasonable component of that holistic approach.