biofuels and the real credit crisis

The ‘global credit crunch’ is dominating our news stories, economy, spending and even making it into church sermons. People are worried about the drop in value of the property market – which well certainly in parts of East Belfast was artificially inflated by greedy property investors. Economic growth is slowing, the exchange rate with the euro is not good (for my cross border forays, good for those coming to the pound-zone). In this worry and obsession with the good times slowing, I am grateful for papers like the Independant who can remind us of the real crisis in the global economy. I’ve been reading snippets of this over the last months, but few news outlets are prepared to make it front page news. Maybe partly because it puts our issues in perspective and gives the Daily Mail less to be alarmist about – although I’m sure they’ll find a way to blame immigrants.

It seems we have got ourselves (globally) in trouble with environmental alternatives. Biofuels the great answer to rising fossil fuel transportation costs are causing a real crisis among the poorest countries in the world. Crops that are used for biofuels are also used by milions for food. So when the increasing demand for fuel drives prices up, that means the cost of basic staple foods rises too, and who does it affect the most? The poorest. Those with no voice. This isn’t a little problem. There have been protests in Haiti, the Philippines, Burkina Faso, Tortilla Riots in Mexico and protests in Italy. Western farmers are enjoying the bumper profits but at what cost? Newspapers have been reporting this and warning that we may be sleepwalking towards a food crisis. Ordinary punters like us can change the minds of the powerful, but with this one its so huge – where do we start – any suggestions?

[I’m off to suggest to Tearfund this may be a badger – who to badger is the question though..]

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6 thoughts on “biofuels and the real credit crisis”

  1. One of the problems with biofuels is that they are marketed as a ‘have your cake and eat it’ solution – we can drive as much as we want, with no worries about pollution, and as cheaply as ever. They’re popular because the feeling is that if we can introduce them, then we don’t need to change our lifestyles.

    I think the truth is that the Western lifestyle is simply not sustainable (even without adding China and India into the equation) – we need to change how we live, and stop relying on the poor to take the flak for that.

    Grrr…

  2. I think its a little unfair to say this hasnt made the news. I’ve seen a lot about it on C4 news, newsnight and i have a feeling it’s been on the main BBC news a few times. News programs find it hard to cover ‘slow burners’ its the nature of the medium i suppose

    i grant you it hasnt made it on to Question Monkey 😉

    Good post.

  3. Now I remember that article on the credit crunch I was going to write, but felt it would be a little risque, given my line of work. I may write it anyway.

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