By Anna Bermeo Turchi
"Biodiesel: it will mitigate the effects of climate change", "it will improve environmental conditions" or "with the use of biofuels it would be contributing to a sustainable development of the environment, to gradually reduce dependence on fossil fuels ...
The media have been reporting for months on hunger riots in different countries. Food prices go up and up, and those who don't have money can't buy them. There are 854 million seriously undernourished human beings, maimed by permanent hunger. Today the words of the Swiss Sociologist become more evident and gain strength JEAN ZIEGLER 72 years old; former UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food, who gave the cry of alarm in the International Community, before the Heads of State who were impassive and insensitive to the “horror of hunger”, in the framework of the 5th session of the Human Rights Council that took place from June 11 to 18, 2007 in Geneva.
Jean Ziegler stated:
“One billion people die of hunger or its immediate consequences. A child under 10 years old dies every seven seconds and every four minutes another goes blind due to lack of vitamin A. The World Order is not only murderous, but absurd, because it kills unnecessarily. Today there are no more fatalities. A child who dies of hunger today dies assassinated "
The FAO Summit was a scandal and an absolute failure, the quest to solve the gruesome daily massacre of hunger worsens in the world, instead of fighting it. Ziegler was not wrong and, we have the imminent enemy that is growing rapidly in the countries of Latin America, by introducing the "Biofuel fad" by large investors supported by our governments who misinform the population about the advantages and disadvantages of this aggressive advertising campaign; It is the responsibility of civil society to find out and express an opinion on this process, which will have negative social and environmental consequences that must be prevented.
What was not fulfilled at the Summit?- The total prohibition of burning food to make biofuel (potatoes, cassava, barley, corn, rice, rye, soybeans, sugar cane, etc.). Withdraw from the Stock Market the fixing of prices for basic foods, and establish a system in which the producing country negotiates directly with the consuming country to exclude speculative profit. And thirdly, that the Bretton Woods institutions, especially the International Monetary Fund, give absolute priority in the poorest countries to investments in food, family and subsistence agriculture.
Incredibly in September 2000, Kofi Annan, then Secretary General of the United Nations, brought together the member countries of the United Nations in New York and set new goals to cut the number of deaths from hunger in half by 2015. But between 2000 and 2008, hunger did not recede, but has grown massively :… “Developing countries must learn to use their resources at the right time. The Third World State as an engine of development? Unthinkable!! And Annan continues: "They (Third World countries) should not devote their public resources to activities where the private sector is best placed to develop them."
It also adds: It is convenient to offer “an environment conducive to business…. to take full advantage of the immense benefits and possibilities that globalization offers ”. (Kofi Annan)
In this century 1,500 million human beings survive on an income of less than a dollar a day. The Earth is overflowing with riches, but even so, 828 million men permanently suffer from malnutrition, leading to disability. Another 31 million people have died last year from famines that were predictable. The price of cereals, especially wheat, has increased by 130 percent; that of rice (the most consumed food on the planet) 74 percent, that of soybeans 87 percent and that of corn 53 percent on biofuels
Since 2005, cars in Switzerland have been running on agricultural waste "beet and potato". The procedure is simple: you simply add 5% bioethanol or ethanol obtained through a fermentation process of various agricultural products to gasoline (95 octane). The new 'green' benzine produced in this way, 'BENZIN5', will make it possible to reduce the consumption of fossil energy and greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the ‘etha +’ project is to replace, by 2010, all of the gasoline sold in Switzerland. "The sale price will be similar to what the supply stations currently set and maybe a few cents more." (Schaller)
The UN report warns that the "biofuel fad" - as the world body calls it - can do as much damage to the environment as fossil fuels. Another risk is that the rapid growth in biofuel production will substantially increase the demand for fertile land and water in the world, at a time when the demand for food and forest products has also increased. Added to this is the fact that the expansion of large-scale monocultures can lead to significant loss of biodiversity, soil erosion and loss of nutrients.
By sowing all that is left in the US and Europe they will never satisfy their consumption. Professors C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer, from McKnight University in Minnesota, USA, almost immediately circulated their criticisms on a long trip around the world. Stating:
• Filling a 25 gallon vehicle tank with pure ethanol requires more than 450 pounds of corn; that amount can feed a person calories for a year. Where will the very intense amount that is needed come from?
• This situation has caused the clearing and burning of huge areas of tropical forest in Southeast Asia (oil palms and producing biogasoil and other inputs for so-called biofuels)
• The prices of corn and other pro-ethanol vegetables have raised the cost of food. The livestock and poultry industries fell their income. Many producers will not be able to compete with ethanol plants and will go out of business.
• If for any reason, for example: in the recession in the world economy, oil prices fall, ethanol prices will go to the ground with the consequent imbalance of their productive sources.
• The production of ethanol from cassava, a staple food for the population of sub-Saharan Africa, which has over 200 million poor inhabitants, has been considered. It will cause social consequences.
• Corn and soybeans are row crops that contribute to soil erosion and water pollution. They require large amounts of fertilizers, pesticides and for planting, harvesting and drying. They are the root cause of nitrogen spillage - dangerous nitrogen leakage into fields - when it rains.
The exploitation of agriculture for energy is disrupting the crops on which many countries' diet is based and causing an increase in their prices, which causes supply problems. The industrialized agricultural model is not profitable from an energy and ecological point of view. The energy problem worsens and threatens hundreds of millions of human beings with great famines. From the ecological angle: it is not true that biofuels do not pollute. Ethanol produces fewer carbon emissions, but the process of obtaining it pollutes the soil and water with nitrates, herbicides, pesticides and waste and the air with aldehydes and alcohols that are carcinogenic.
Everyone knows that water is one of the great problems we face. The expansion of biofuels will exponentially increase the use of water, which will greatly aggravate the situation. Also by increasing the use of pesticides, you will increase your level of contamination. Corn requires large amounts of chemical nitrogen as a fertilizer and that is one of the biggest culprits in water and soil pollution.
From the business and political angle: the great beneficiaries of this expansion of biofuels will be the large grain multinationals: Cargill, ADM, Burges; the oil companies: BP, Shell, Chevron; automobile companies: General Motors, Ford, Wolkwagen, Toyota; biotech multinationals: Monsanto, DuPont.
In Spain, Dr. Ángel Rodríguez Álvarez He stated in his report: “Ethanol: Clean Fuel? That a ton of corn can produce 413 liters of ethanol, equivalent to about 109 gallons of that fuel. To make the result more comprehensive and understandable, add that with that amount a modern North American car can travel around 2,800 kilometers. The equation then couldn't be simpler: a ton of corn turns into a 2,800-kilometer drive, which conservative estimates can establish as a monthly average of the nearly 150 million cars in the United States.
Hedelberto López Blanch focuses, relating the problem to: "The large-scale production of ethanol will give the coup de grace to the United Nations Millennium Goals", which aim to reduce by half the number of hungry people in the world by the year 2015.
The World Forest Movement (WRM) added that if the project is taken globally, most of the arable land on the planet, plus enormous consumption of drinking water and electricity generation, will be dedicated to producing food for cars and not for people. At the same time, it will also be guilty of starvation of millions of beings in the developing world.
For George Monbiot, an English journalist says that the solution is lethal. Only in theory can fuels produced from plants reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by cars and trucks (http://www.globalizate.org/monbiot210307.html).
He cites a report by the Dutch consultancy Delfi Hydraulics which shows that for every ton of fuel obtained from oil palm there are 33 tons of C02 emissions, or what is the same, ten times more than those produced by oil
The UN have published a report that says:
Biofuel produced from oil palm contributes TEN TIMES MORE to global warming than ordinary diesel; By the year 2022 98% of the forests of Indonesia (where forests are destroyed to plant that) will have been degraded or completely disappeared. Five years ago the same agencies predicted that this would not happen until 2032.
The BBC News:Britain's most important media outlet, BBC News, comments to a team of scientists from Stanford University, California, who published the journal Environmental Science and Technology. According to scientists, if all vehicles traveling in the United States used this biofuel, the number of respiratory diseases would increase.
The Dr. Héctor García Lozada, expert in Environmental Engineering and Public Health from the National University of Colombia. “In Bogotá, since the use of fuel alcohol (or ethanol) in gasoline began a year ago, ozone levels in the air have increased dramatically, with very high oxidizing power the reactions with the nasal mucosa and the respiratory tract and causes inflammation and reinforced with the presence of toxic particles in the air the problem is substantially aggravated ”; He also adds that when alcohol is burned with gasoline, aldehydes can be produced and in these there are acetaldehydes, which are compounds recognized as carcinogens ”.
For Edmundo Fayanás School the case is more of a problem than a solution. From the United Nations environmental angle: according to this report: “The rush to produce huge amounts of energy from corn, sugar cane, soybeans or palm will accelerate global deforestation, cause famines, drive small farmers off their land and make regions of the planet that already are poorer "
Vegetable fuels are not going to increase the immense tragedy of malnutrition, deaths from hunger, social misery, population displacement, deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, and water shortages. , etc. It was in Iowa (Goldfield and Nevada). The Goldfield factory annually transforms 450 thousand tons of corn to produce 90 million liters of ethanol but to achieve this it burns 300 tons daily. of coal (which comes in trucks from far away) and therefore spews CO2 into the atmosphere, making environmentalists cough. To produce a liter of ethanol it is necessary to transform 2.37 kilos of corn, burn 500 gr. of coal and use 4 liters of water. The author mentions a hidden bill, which will have to be paid: Biofuels are going to accelerate the destruction of ecosystems by spreading even more insecticides and pesticides on the soil, in the atmosphere and in the water.
A liter of ethanol generates an erosion of between 15 and 25 kg of soil: meaning, it is well understood, its pure and simple disappearance. What happen with the water? Depending on the region, between 500 and 1500 liters of water are needed to produce one kilo of corn, which means that one liter of ethanol extracted from corn requires the use of between 1200 and 360 liters of water.
FAO, at World Water Day 2007, launched its cry of alert: Let us also remember that agriculture consumes 90% of the world's fresh water. In Asia the price of green oil turns towards catastrophe. According to Friends of the Earth “In Indonesia, for example, the government plans to destroy 16.5 million hectares of rainforest in order to plant oil palms. In Malaysia it will be 6 million hectares. In Sumatra and Borneo, some 4 million hectares have already been converted into oil palm plantations. Even the famous Tanjung Puting National Park in Kalimantan is in the sights of these growers. Thousands of inhabitants of the region have already been evicted from their lands and 500 Indonesians have been tortured for trying to resist. The entire region is on the way to being transformed into an immense field of vegetable “oil”. In other words, “vegetable diesel” for the European market (CYEMH, 30-V-07 and Ecoportal)
If consumerism stops, environmental problems stop and the irrational demand for energy disappears. At the same time, global warming, deforestation and countless other ecological problems such as floods that damage agriculture and economies decrease.
Environmental consequences of the imposition will be:
• Wear and tear such as land uselessness due to negative reactions caused by the intensive and massive cultivation of corn, sugar cane, rapeseed, oil palms, etc., etc. To the above effects will be added the harmful and poisonous action of fertilizers, insecticides and other chemical products. They will desertify vast surfaces of soils.
• The greatest reduction in the use of water and conflicts over its tenure.
• The increase in deforestation and the further weakening of the conditions exhibited by the protective ozone layer with the acceleration of storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods and droughts.
• The socio-economic conditions that will occur in poor countries, caused by the rarefied environment. They will see social conflicts and possible violent changes in the system.
• Industrialized countries: the serious thinning of their air and consequences on their health, life and economy, as a result of the alcohol released into the atmosphere.
Global warming, polar melting, deforestation, desertification, pollution of seas, lakes and rivers, the horrific destruction of fauna, destruction of flora, reduction of drinking water, rarefied air, proliferation of new diseases, the nuclear energy danger, and the thousand other destructive causes imposed by the dominant system, are producing the planetary terrestrial reactions and responses. Everything points towards the end of life.
Anna Bermeo Turchi, Registration 3504 - June 2008
View the videos:
* The uncomfortable truth of hunger:
* Gustavo Gandiotti - Bolivia- "Crime against the planet and the stomach of the Poor"
The criminal order of the world I: http://www.rtve.es/?go=e5911a8f3a24…
The criminal order of the world II: http://www.rtve.es/?go=e5911a8f3a24…
The criminal order of the world III: http://www.rtve.es/?go=e5911a8f3a24…