Let Them Eat (Low-Carbon) Cake!
Marie Okabe, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, mentioned food crisis issuesin her comments , including specific references to Haiti and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, others in the UN press office cranked out a news release on Ban Ki-moon's big food initiative.
4 April 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for both immediate and long-term measures to tackle the growing global food crisis, warning that it could not only push millions of people deeper into poverty but also have larger political and security implications.The release provides no statistical verification of the crisis, nor, for that matter, does it include any proof that all the billions we've spent on prior UN food crisis appeals have resulted in anything but short-term benefits.
“The rapidly escalating crisis of food availability around the world has reached emergency proportions,” he told a joint meeting in New York of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
("Short-term benefits" translates in part as "lives saved," so I'm all for them. But I'm also for the UN getting out of its "give us money for this crisis, and get ready to give us money for that crisis" mode of operating. If it would come out firmly and decisively for democracy and free markets, it would do more to increase food production than anything else it could do ... but as long as despots rule the General Assembly, that's not going to happen.)
But let's say there is a big new food crisis. If that's true, then it's undeniable that the push for less energy-efficient biofuels over good ol' petro-fuels is a big part of the problem. And it's equally true that the elitist snobs of the EU could care less if their feel-good Warmie attitudes result in hungry people in locales less fortunate than Europe.
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The EU Commission on Monday rejected claims that producing biofuels is a "crime against humanity" that threatens food supplies, and vowed to stick to its goals as part of a climate change package.You've got that right. On balance, the EU would rather have non-Europeans go hungry than have to open the debate on Europe's global warming package. Having to figure out whether to keep their goal of 10% biofuel reliance by 2020 is just too big a headache; let the Haitians, Africans and Afghans eat cake.
"There is no question for now of suspending the target fixed for biofuels," said Barbara Helfferich, spokeswoman for EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.
"You can't change a political objective without risking a debate on all the other objectives," which could see the EU landmark climate change and energy package disintegrate, an EU official said.
Their comments came amid growing unease over the planting of biofuel crops as food prices rocket and riots against poverty and hunger multiply worldwide.
It's not like the EU bureau-czars made their decision in a vacuum:
The European Environment Agency, advisors to the, on Friday recommended that the EU suspend its 10 percent biofuels target.
It argued that the target would require large amounts of additional imports of biofuels leading to the accelerated destruction of rain forests. The agency also questioned the environmental benefits of biofuels.
Also in a recent report thesaid bluntly "biofuel production has pushed up feedstock prices".
Meanhwile Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, head of Nestle, the world's biggest food and beverage company, last month argued that "to grant enormous subsidies for biofuel production is morally unacceptable and irresponsible".
"There will be nothing left to eat," he added.
Why listen to your advisors, leading financiers or captains of the food industry? The EU is predicated on the belief that bureaucrats are better suited to run the world than real people, and the bureaucrats have determined that they don't want to re-open the EU's global warming program for debate.
So be it. They can offset their stupidity by giving money to a number of stupid UN food programs, thereby making everything all better.