The crisis is global and the culprit is the stupid energy policy among other factors



The international media are at it again. A light of a world wide famine beaconing, which is a favorite topic for any media professional. You will see picture galleries full of hungry people fighting for food, skinny children waiting for help makes any journalistic work easy. ABC News terms the recent food riots around the world as an apocalyptic warning predicting hundreds of thousands of starving people in Asia and Africa. The World Bank announces “the world is moving towards a food crisis that may lead to wars and riots”.

What I fail to understand is why it took so long to raise the alarm? Many are trying to find out the cause of the recent crisis.

I recently wrote on the recent price rise of rice in Bangladesh and its impacts. Shortage in production and increasing demands have been sighted as the problems. There are also a list of problems and solutions that looks so complex and harder to achieve in a short time.

And some are terming it as subprime food crisis as surging oil prices made US dollar got weak leading to the subprime loan crisis making worldwide imports (in US Dollars) costlier.

According to a recent report of the World Bank names Western investment in biofuels as the cause of the drastic rise in prices for corn, rice, and other staples.

Concerns over oil prices, energy security and climate change have prompted governments to take a more proactive stance towards encouraging production and use of bio-fuels. This has led to increased demand for bio-fuel raw materials, such as wheat, soy, maize and palm oil, and increased competition for cropland.

Outside The Beltway comments:

It has long struck me as wrongheaded, if not immoral, to take cheap, efficient sources of nutrition to turn them into expensive, inefficient fuels. A gallon of ethanol produces roughly two-thirds the energy of a gallon of gasoline and is far more expensive. And, while farmers and, especially, processors make more money by the increased demand for biofuels, it means that food is now out of reach for millions.

Ronald Bailey tells about this stupid energy policy:

Politicians in both the United States and the European Union are mandating that vast quantities of food be turned into fuel as they chase the chimera of “energy independence.”…The result of these mandates is that about 100 million tons of grain will be transformed this year into fuel, drawing down global grain stocks to their lowest levels in decades. Keep in mind that 100 million tons of grain is enough to feed nearly 450 million people for a year.

Dennis Avery from the Hudson Institute says “Biofuels are purely and simply the biggest Green mistake we’ve ever made and we’re still making it.” So Bio fuel mandates must go.

5 Responses to “The crisis is global and the culprit is the stupid energy policy among other factors”

  1. Author Image

    Engr. Khondkar Abdus Saleque

    There is more than that. US agression in Iraq is also equally responsible. The pretext for US led adventure to experiment its man killing sophisticated weapons was dubbed as ” War on Terror”. But in several years no WMD( Weapons for Mass Destruction) could be established, neither any link of Saddam with Al-Qaeda could be firmed up. US adventure cost its sickening economy trillions of doalrs . Weak US economy made dollar weak, dollar indexed oil price sky rocketed. Moreover, to protect us oil based industries agricultural land in many countries were made to produce crop for bio diesel. The world is now bearing the burnt. The civilized world must now rise to bring the US war mongers Bush, Cheney , Codoleeza and Britis Balir for trial in international court for creating global food and enrgy crisis.

  2. Author Image

    Boka Manush


    A different sort of emergency
    Apr 17th 2008 | DHAKA
    From The Economist print edition

    A food crisis further complicates the army’s exit strategy


    Bags to fill before they eat“OUR politicians were corrupt, but we had enough money to buy food,” says Shah Alam, a day labourer in Rangpur, one of Bangladesh’s poorest districts, nostalgic for the days before the state of emergency imposed in January last year. He has been queuing all day for government-subsidised rice. Two floods and a devastating cyclone last year, combined with a sharp rise in global rice prices, have left some 60m of Bangladesh’s poor, who spend about 40% of their skimpy income on rice, struggling to feed themselves.

    In the capital, Dhaka, a debate is raging about whether this is a famine or “hidden hunger”. The crisis is not of the army-backed interim government’s own making. But it is struggling to convince people that the politicians it locked up as part of an anti-corruption drive would have been equally helpless. They include the feuding leaders of the two big political parties, the former prime ministers Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Sheikh Hasina Wajed of the Awami League.

    The state of emergency, imposed to silence riotous politicians and repair corrupted institutions, can barely contain the growing discontent. This week thousands of garment workers went on strike for higher pay to cope with soaring food prices. The crisis has emboldened the political parties, which have been calling more loudly for the release of their leaders.

    The army’s main headache is Sheikh Hasina, whose party is widely expected to win the election. Her detention on corruption charges has made her more popular than ever. Senior leaders of the League say it will boycott the election if the courts convict her. The threat might be empty. But it is a risk the army cannot afford to take. The patience of Western governments, which backed the state of emergency, is wearing thin. Human-rights abuses continue unabated. And they fear the political vacuum might be filled by an Islamist fringe, whose members this week went on a rampage to protest against a draft law giving equal inheritance rights to men and women.

    The election will almost certainly take place. And, unlike in the past, rigging it will be hard. Bangladesh has its first proper voters’ list. Criminals will be banned from running. But to hold truly free and fair elections, the army will need to reach an accommodation with the parties. There is talk of a face-saving deal allowing Sheikh Hasina to go abroad for medical treatment, in return for a promise that the League will not boycott the election. Hardliners in the army will not like it. But they have largely been sidelined. With food prices likely to remain high and rice yields half those of India, Bangladesh desperately needs to secure food aid, investment and trade.

    It also badly needs to sustain the rising flow of billions of dollars in remittances, which have lifted millions of Bangladeshis out of poverty. This complicates the government’s stated plan of considering prosecution of those who assisted the Pakistani army in a campaign that left 3m Bengalis dead in the country’s liberation war in 1971. Saudi Arabia, which accounts for 40% of total remittances, objects to an international war-crimes tribunal. If the two big political parties had their way, a large number of leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party, would stand trial.

    It appears unlikely that the army will walk off the pitch and let the politicians run the country without altering the rules of the game. The interim government has already approved, in principle, the creation of a National Security Council, which would institutionalise the army’s role in politics. Last month the army chief, General Moeen U Ahmed, extended his term by one year in the “public interest”. His term now runs out in June 2009. But many Bangladeshis still doubt that he will go down in history as that rare general who gave up power voluntarily.

  3. Author Image

    Kotha Shunen

    Why Isn’t The Stupid Advisers Allowing The Rickshaw’s To Go Anywhere, The Stupid Advisers Are Calling Some Roads VIP, What Does VIP Mean Tarek Zia,Najmul Huda? We Do Not Need That Much Energy = 1 man 1 car (A Bad Man)

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