Wednesday, May 21

To Feed Empty Stomachs Or To Feed Empty Fuel Tanks?

The entire world is waiting with abated breath for the fuel to touch the record price of $200 a barrel. Elsewhere a growing emphasis is being laid on growing fuel crops to combat the fuel demand. Environmentalists have jumped into the bandwagon pointing out the advantages of using alternative fuels and reducing the guilt of humanity.

Riots from people belonging to the lower economic strata in most of the nations have started to grab headlines. The cause: unable to afford a square meal due to the rising food prices. Reason: growing fuel crops is a lucrative business.

To be caught between the “Devil” and the “Deep Blue Sea” comes to mind portraying the situation in which most of the nations are in. What is their priority? To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks?

The farmers are being offered incentives to grow fuel crops. Corn which serves both as a food crop and a fuel crop has put the American Government in a quandary as to which purpose it has to serve. White House and the United Nations have acknowledged that the rising food prices is due to the diversion of corn into ethanol.

The rising fuel cost has resulted in a heavy emphasis being laid on increasing ethanol production. But at what cost? Empty stomachs? How does one justify offering farm subsidies for fuel crops at a time when the nation is facing acute food shortage.

The ethanol industry has responded to the impending crisis by squarely laying the onus on biotechnology to come up with the goods. Some of them have chosen to dismiss the entire brouhaha saying that the current ethanol industry is too small a portion of the global oil market to have a meaningful impact or offset higher food prices.

To feed empty stomachs or to feed empty fuel tanks? Is there a choice?

At the time of publishing this article, fuel prices had breached $130 dollar bracket. Meanwhile rising food prices has lead to unrest and violence in the third world countries.

For more in depth analysis, please check out the article by Joshua Boak


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