Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Fidel Castro: Biofuels and Global Hunger

In additional response to a comment by Rick on ethanol production I proudly post these observations by one of our favorite boogy men, Fidel!!!

I have to add, the days of unlimited, low cost, both economically and environmentally, fuel are numbered. Time to start riding a bike!

Fidel Castro: Biofuels and Global Hunger:

"The president urged Congress
to 'move expeditiously' on legislation the administration
recently proposed to require the use of 35 billion gallons of
alternative fuels by 2017 and seek higher fuel economy standards
for automobiles."

Today we know with accurate precision that one ton of corn can only render as an average 413 liters of ethanol (109 gallons), a figure that may vary according to the latter's density.

The average price of corn in US ports has reached 167 dollars per ton. The production of 35 billion gallons of ethanol requires 320 million tons of corn. According to FAO, US corn production in 2005 reached 280.2 million tons.

Even if the President is speaking about producing fuel out of switchgrass or wood chips, any person could understand that these phrases are far from realistic. Listen well: 35 billion gallons, 35 followed by nine zeros!

Let this formula be applied to the Third World countries, and the world will see how many hungry people on this planet will cease to consume corn. What is worse, let the poor countries receive some financing to produce ethanol from corn or any other foodstuff and very soon not a single tree will be left standing to protect humanity from climate change.

All countries of the world without exception, whether rich or poor, could save trillions of dollars in investments and fuel if they only replace all incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs, which is what Cuba has done in all the residential areas of the country. This would be a palliative that will enable us to cope with climate change without killing the poor people in this planet with hunger.

...Therefore, despite the excellent technology designed by Brazil to produce alcohol, its use in Cuba to produce alcohol from sugarcane juice is nothing but a dream, the ravings of those who entertain such ideas. In our country, the land which would otherwise be devoted solely to the production of alcohol could be better used to produce foodstuffs for the people and protect the environment.


Jack Mercer said...

Hi Mike-O!

Thrilled to hear from you over at the Snipet. It has been a while. I lost my favorites and links when I changed computers and redesigned my site. Lost touch with a lot of old blogger buds like yourself. Have managed to stay in touch with the guys over at Neo-libs, though.

Hope you are well, and glad to be jumping back into discussion with you.

Take care, friend!


Jack Mercer said...

Oh, Mike, are you aware of the environmental hazards of flourescent lights? The trend of countries going toward this may create an environmental catastrophe that may not be containable--releasing poison into our environment in quantities never before anticipated.

Do a little research on the topic and let me know what you think.


Mike of the North said...

jack, I took your advice and did research the health hazards of flourescent lights, even though I suspected that the benefits of their use far outweigh the problems.

Yes there is mercury in flourescent bulbs that does pose a risk if the bulbs are not properly disposed of. And yes because of the bush administration's castration of the EPA and their roll back of requirements that require producers of hazardous waste to follow hazardous waste disposal and notification procedures there is a greater risk than is neccessary.

In the end this statement from Worldwise’s site sums it up best

“Even though mercury in fluorescent lamps is a problem, the solution is not to stop using energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs. The largest man-made source of mercury in the atmosphere is fossil fuel combustion (58% of total).
When the mercury in a fossil fuel is heated in a combustor, it turns into a vapor and escapes into the atmosphere. When moisture vapor in the atmosphere turns to rain, mercury returns to the earth and is deposited in streams, lakes, and other waterways. On average, fossil-fueled power plants emit 0.04 milligrams of mercury per kilowatt-hour sold. So the energy-savings reduces more mercury in the environment than is added by the potential disposal problem of the bulb

. When fluorescent bulbs are properly recycled, there is a major reduction in environmental mercury from the energy savings, with little or no added mercury from the bulb.”


Jack Mercer said...

Hi Mike!

Sorry so long in coming back to the post...

The problem we are experiencing is that flourescent light bulbs aren't being properly recycled. Most of them are being dumped into landfills where they break and spew their poison.

Another thing I just noticed was that ethanol may be a huge culprit in depleting the ozone layer...

Just things that keep popping up.

Take care,


Mike of the North said...

The more I read about ethanol the less I like it. I still advocate leagalizing the production of industrial hemp... and of course the complete decriminalzation of the good stuff too.