Sunday, July 06, 2008

G8 Will Turn Blind Eye To World Poverty

The world's G8 leaders may be gathering in Japan for a summit and protesters gathering, but nothing will be done about one of the main causes of world food poverty, biofuels. The green gold leaves a bitter aftertaste.

Two Latin American leaders, not part of the powerful G8 elite, have already issued warnings about the effects of biofuel production on food supplies.

Speaking at the UN, Bolivian President Evo Morales said growing crops for biofuels harmed the world's most impoverished people. And President Alan Garcia of Peru said using land for biofuels was putting food out of reach for the poor.

Since April, all petrol and diesel in the UK has had to contain 2.5% of biofuels, with a 2010 target of 5%. Oxfam is calling for this target to be scrapped.

Our cars are being driven by greed and the big business of biofuels is forcing millions of people into poverty. Around the world, forests are being destroyed, cattle driven off the land and crops once grown for food now grown for corn, rapeseed, palm and soya.

Here in the UK and more notably in the US, fields of corn and rapeseed are being grown for biofuels. Everyone's a winner except the environment and the starving people.

The government's Gallagher report, backed up by a report from Oxfam, is expected to show the rush to develop biofuels has played a "significant" role in the dramatic rise in global food prices, which has left millions of people without enough to eat.

The reports should forced a review of British and EU targets for the use of biofuels in place of petrol and diesel but it won't.

Ethanol and biodiesel derived from vegetable oil were a central plank of Brown's 'green' strategy. And the biofuel plan is well in place.

The US, Brazil and the EU are the main players on the biofuel stage. The EU is contemplating a 10% target by 2020. About half of EU vegetable oils now go towards the production of biodiesel and plant-derived ethanol.

The G8 consists of leaders from the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia. What will they and our 'leader' Brown do about biofuels? Nothing.

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