Biofuels Are Famine Policy

Published on EIR online, by Marcia Merry Baker, June 8, 2007.

As of the end of Spring 2007 planting in the northern latitudes, the disastrous impact of the global bio-energy craze can be seen in the huge expansion of U.S. corn acreage, the plunge of world grain stocks, and price shocks all along the food chain internationally …

… Gulliver’s Travels, ‘Carbon Farming’: On top of this food supply vulnerability, comes the havoc in agriculture capacity caused by the lunatic proposals for “carbon farming,” and buying and selling carbon “allowances.” Even Gulliver, with all his Travels, would be amazed.

The whacko idea involved, is that farmers – especially in the U.S. – are to agree to have their arable lands and forest lots “monetized” in the form of licensed units that can be traded as an “anti-greenhouse gas” permits, on a carbon exchange. The scheme involves a pledge by the farmer to use “no-till” cropping methods – which have been around for 40 years, in the name of preventing the release of carbon dioxide from the ground, because the biomass will not be churned up by ploughing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture explains how the carbon trade works for farmers in its promotional brochure, “Growing Carbon: A New Crop That Helps Agricultural Producers and the Climate Too.” It states that credits can be given “to agricultural producers who increase their stores of carbon in the soil or in trees. Producers can then save the credits or sell them to others (for example, to electric power companies) that want them in order to offset their own greenhouse gas emissions.”

The pitch to (underpaid) farmers: Go for the green. The USDA brochure says outright of carbon trade, “It could also create opportunities for farmers to supplement their income”. (full text).

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