Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Can't afford to feed the world?

UN warns it cannot afford to feed the world

Original report by Javier Blas and Jenny Wiggins in London, July 15 2007

"Rising prices for food have led the United Nations programme fighting famine in Africa and other regions to warn that it can no longer afford to feed the 90m people it has helped for each of the past five years on its budget.

The World Food Programme feeds people in countries including Chad, Uganda and Ethiopia, but reaches a fraction of the 850m people it estimates suffers from hunger. It spent about $600m buying food in 2006. So far, the WFP has not cut its reach because of high commodities prices, but now says it could be forced to do so unless donor countries provide extra funds.

Josette Sheeran, WFP executive director, said in an interview with the Financial Times: “In a world where our contributions are holding fairly steady, this [cost increase] means we are able to reach far less people.”

She said policymakers were becoming more concerned about the impact of
biofuel demand on food prices and how the world would continue to feed its expanding population.

The WFP said its purchasing costs had risen “almost 50 per cent in the last five years”. The UN organisation said the price it pays for maize had risen up to 120 per cent in the past sixth months in some countries."

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What some people had warned would happen has come to pass, the massive demand for biofuel is competing for grains normally used to feed people and livestock in 3rd world countries. It now looks like the UN will be hard pressed to feed people this year and in the future if our zeal for designer fuels continues or worse, increases.

Ms Sheeran added: “We are no longer in a surplus world.” Now that's comfort for starving people, especially since the move to biofuels has been driven by the UN's own IPCC scenarios of disaster. The fact is that we are still in a surplus world, if we turn off the biofuel tap at its source, but it is probably too late. Last week, tropical countries were told that they would get no carbon credit for maintaining rainforests. They would have to cut the forests and replant. Replanting will be oil seeds for biofuels, the planet loses again. Mexica's poor are feeling the effects of a corn shortage, corn is a staple food, not fuel.

The whole concept of using food to make so called "green" fuel is questionable at best and criminal at worst. We still have conventional fuels, use them until we can make cellulosic ethanol, or until we can find or invent a new energy source.

The biggest hurdle to feeding the world's poor is not the sourcing of food, its our need to calm our angst by using biofuels. Its not how do we choose, its what do we choose? Do we choose to stroke our egos and feel green or do we feed people? Do we suck up a little more CO2 or do we let people starve?

Or we could just agree with the great environmentalist Lamont Cole who said, "To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem."

Dual posted here and at Blue Marble Climate

2 comments:

Little Big Man said...

All of which is to say: "The UN's suppliers want more stolen money. Tax your people today."

Elaine said...

Didn't take the glowtardians long to kill two birds with one stone. They get their green energy, and their human cull at the same time. Not only are the left sneaky, their downright evil.