Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. 08 Apr '11 16:56
    With the sky rocketing cost of fuel and food, I think that biofuel should be one of the main discussions for the Western world.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/science/earth/07cassava.html?_r=2&hp

    Biofuels development in wealthier nations has already proved to have a powerful effect on the prices and the cultivation of crops. Encouraged by national biofuel subsidies, nearly 40 percent of the corn grown in the United States now goes to make fuel, with prices of corn on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rising 73 percent from June to December 2010.

    Such price rises also have distant ripple effects, food security experts say. “How much does the price of corn in Chicago influence the price of corn in Rwanda? It turns out there is a correlation,” said Marie Brill, senior policy analyst at ActionAid, an international development group. The price of corn in Rwanda rose 19 percent last year.

    “For Americans it may mean a few extra cents for a box of cereal,” she said. “But that kind of increase puts corn out of the range of impoverished people.”

    Higher prices also mean that groups like the World Food Program can buy less food to feed the world’s hungry.
  2. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 19:27 / 1 edit
    Oh wow, so they're actually making significant amounts of ethanol from corn? I thought they gave up on that.

    So this should mean cheaper fuel right?
  3. 08 Apr '11 21:20
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Oh wow, so they're actually making significant amounts of ethanol from corn? I thought they gave up on that.

    So this should mean cheaper fuel right?
    No, because the process isn't cheap.

    The problem with biofuel is that is takes up room which could be used for food production, so it increases food prices.
  4. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 21:27
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    No, because the process isn't cheap.

    The problem with biofuel is that is takes up room which could be used for food production, so it increases food prices.
    Regardless, there is more fuel than before. What is being done with it?
  5. 08 Apr '11 22:02
    There isn't a problem with fuel supply. The problem is with future fears.

    I don't know about other places, but in the US we actually subsidize the process that takes food that could be eaten by people and converts it to fuel to be consumed by machines.

    I guess certain people are more concerned about farmers making and buck than actually feeding the hungry.
  6. 08 Apr '11 22:04
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Regardless, there is more fuel than before. What is being done with it?
    It's being used as fuel. What did you think was being done with it?
  7. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 22:04
    Originally posted by Eladar
    There isn't a problem with fuel supply. The problem is with future fears.

    I don't know about other places, but in the US we actually subsidize the process that takes food that could be eaten by people and converts it to fuel to be consumed by machines.

    I guess certain people are more concerned about farmers making and buck than actually feeding the hungry.
    We subsidize the creation of that food period. If we're not going to make fuel out of it, it likely won't be grown.
  8. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 22:05
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    It's being used as fuel. What did you think was being done with it?
    For who? Where?
  9. 08 Apr '11 22:19
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    We subsidize the creation of that food period. If we're not going to make fuel out of it, it likely won't be grown.
    I guess they didn't grow corn before they started converting corn to ethanol.

    I guess they did subsidize farmers before ethanol.

    Biofuels are the result of two different groups coming together for a common cause: Farmers because they want to find ways to raise the price and corn and sell more of it (a real win win for farmers) and enviormentalists who hate the oil industry.

    Who cares about the social ramifications?
  10. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 22:21
    Originally posted by Eladar
    I guess they didn't grow corn before they started converting corn to ethanol.

    I guess they did subsidize farmers before ethanol.

    Biofuels are the result of two different groups coming together for a common cause: Farmers because they want to find ways to raise the price and corn and sell more of it (a real win win for farmers) and enviormentalists who hate the oil industry.

    Who cares about the social ramifications?
    Farmers in the US have been subsidized forever. Distributing it to the starving masses is the hard part.
  11. 08 Apr '11 22:29
    Putting the corn out on the open market and driving down the price of that corn is not difficult.

    From what I've read, economists have estimated that the price of corn has been increased by 33% due to the pressure from ethanol.

    Increase the price on corn and you've just increased the price for beef.

    Then to think that the government is then spending additional money to subidize the actual ethanol is just frustrating. Stop the foolish spending and the foolish programs.
  12. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    08 Apr '11 22:44
    I said in another thread that an important material cause of the unrest in the middle east was the recent spike in food prices, but underlying a specific spike has been a steep general rise in food prices over recent years, fuelled to a huge part by biofuels. It's not just that grain is diverted away from food to fuel (which is bad enough for the hungry) - the measure leads to speculation in grain in a way it was not previously, putting the question of whether the hungry eat or starve in the hands of speculators.

    Perverse, unexpected feedback like this is probably one of two things: we may have encountered some sort of intractable problem, or the technological fixes we are able to create for one problem are now creating problems of their own. (Both of those things must be possible for finite humans: anything else is religion.) If things like global warming are a product of the growth of knowledge what makes us think knowledge will solve it?
  13. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    08 Apr '11 22:48 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Eladar
    Putting the corn out on the open market and driving down the price of that corn is not difficult.

    From what I've read, economists have estimated that the price of corn has been increased by 33% due to the pressure from ethanol.

    Increase the price on corn and you've just increased the price for beef.

    Then to think that the government is then spending ...[text shortened]... the actual ethanol is just frustrating. Stop the foolish spending and the foolish programs.
    Hey, I'm all for ending farm subsidies.

    Not only do they subsidize the food, they then destroy the surplus to keep prices high. I think I heard that somewhere. It could be false.

    Is it the duty of the US government to drive down world food prices with taxpayer funds though?
  14. 09 Apr '11 03:05
    Currency wars are what primarily drives up the price of food. The USA devalues the US dollar and other nations follow by devaluing their currency hoping to export to the leading consumer country.
  15. Standard member bill718
    Enigma
    09 Apr '11 07:42
    Originally posted by Eladar
    With the sky rocketing cost of fuel and food, I think that biofuel should be one of the main discussions for the Western world.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/07/science/earth/07cassava.html?_r=2&hp

    [b]Biofuels development in wealthier nations has already proved to have a powerful effect on the prices and the cultivation of crops. Encouraged by nation ...[text shortened]... mean that groups like the World Food Program can buy less food to feed the world’s hungry.
    [/b]
    Tell this to the oil companies, and the Conservative groups that worship them above God. They have only one agenda on energy. "Drill Baby Drill"!