Wednesday, July 25, 2007

No Such Thing As A Free Lunch: Part 2.

Nothing in the universe comes without a cost. The solutions to today's perceived problems will create problems of their own. Take, for example, America's so-called addiction to foreign oil. Environmentalists don't want to open up America's oil fields off-shore or in the Arctic wasteland because oil is a dirty technology. Green technologies are favored instead. But even green technologies have damaging consequences.

Food prices will increase if we shift from oil to biofuels, according to a study by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. In the United States alone,
"Quantities of maize [what we Americans call "corn"] grown for fuel have already doubled since 2003. Where is it all being planted? In 2006, maize for fuel accounted for one-fifth of maize production in the United States. By the end of 2016, the period under review for the report, it will have increased to 32 percent of maize production. ... The report confirms that grain prices are expected to remain higher than they have been in the past decade." (Here.)
You might think making food more expensive in order to fuel automobiles would be a good reason to get our fuels from things we wouldn't otherwise eat. But that would mean you aren't thinking like your typical environmentalist. The goals of environmentalists are much grander than protecting the environment. Their goals are to change the way we live our lives at every level. So, instead of keeping fuel and food production separate, we can change our diets and eat mostly
"...lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and other dried legumes ... Variety of flavor is added with vegetable like potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, onions and garlic. Serve them with rice ... and you have a cheap, nutritious and filling meal."
Sorry, my ancestors didn't crawl their way to the top of the food chain so I could live on vegetables and beans.

Biofuels are likely to affect more than just food prices and diet. They could also harm the environment they are supposed to save. Leading environmental groups in the United Kingdom warn
"that without proper management, cultivation of crops for fuel, electricity and heat could cause further declines of farmland wildlife, damage the character of landscapes, harm historic and archaeological sites and damage soil and water quality." (Here.)
There's that phrase, "without proper management." And who gets to do the proper managing? In the words of one of the environmental leaders in the UK,
"'We're particularly concerned about potential environmental damage from intensively grown biofuel crops used for transport fuels. This report is a timely reminder that government has a key role to play to ensure that the growth of bioenergy in the UK is sustainable, working in partnership with conservation organisations, farmers and land managers.'"
O, what a surprise, the government. Is it any wonder governments all over the world are rushing to embrace apocalyptic environmentalism? It's a compelling rationale for more and more state power.


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