Are biofuel policies to help Mother Earth killing her most vulnerable children instead?

Are biofuel policies to help Mother Earth killing her most vulnerable children instead?” Indur M. Goklany returns to Anthony Watts’ blog to tell us about his paper in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? reveals how “global warming policies may be helping kill more people than it saves.” OMG, stop everything! We’re killing poor people!

I always think it’s a bit dodgy when a scientific paper title is in the form of a question. Maybe because the author is ever so slightly overreaching? “Could” is about as close as Indur gets to any kind of supporting evidence. He calls his research an “exploratory analysis”. With, apparently, exploratory conclusions.

Who reviewed and published it? Oops, The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons is a “politically conservative non-profit organization“. They are anti-vaccination, anti-universal healthcare, pro-gun, don’t think HIV causes AIDS, try to link abortion to breast cancer and claim that illegal immigrants are bringing leprosy to America. Nice.

But is Indur Goklany right? Are biofuel production consequences the result of AGW policies? As I recall American ethanol production began as a response to the “energy crisis” in the Seventies. Nothing whatsoever to do with climate. Some current forms of biofuel production can reduce global food availability and increase global food prices. This says more about the enthusiasm of agribusiness for government subsidies than it does about attempts to reverse AGW. Biofuels are primarily an economic issue.

Indur Goklany illustrates a linear process as a circle, but leaves something out.

This is just another one of Indur’s right-wing think-tank revisionist efforts. Based on a fast-and-loose numbers, with an exaggerated connection to climate policy and used to infer imaginary negative future consequences. This time, instead of understating the consequences of AGW we get an overstatement of AGW’s alleged political power.

One thought on “Are biofuel policies to help Mother Earth killing her most vulnerable children instead?

  1. There are lots of problems with the “food” meme.

    High fructose corn syrup is not food, it is a food additive.

    Most corn is fed to animals. This is incredibly inefficient.

    When an ethanol plant was announced in Eastern Ontario, lots of marginal land was planted in corn. Some of it had produced hay, but most had been fallow for years.

    [Agribusiness practices are an excellent example of how “free markets” offload hidden costs. Marginal land is a great place for biofuels, but the trick is ensuring that it doesn’t displace food production! – Ben]

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