Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Environmental Insanity?

The law of unintended consequences strikes again. This time its the headlong rush to grow and process crops to produce bio fuels. Professor Robert Watson, the Government's leading environmental scientist has warned that the Government's policy is potentially 'insane'. Blimey. Don't be afraid to say what you think, Professor Watson.

For a long time now, I've been warning that the diversion of crops from feeding people to fueling power stations and motor cars will drive prices up to a level that will cause millions to go hungry and drive environmental considerations out of the window. People forget the environment when their bellies are empty. I talked about this at an RSPB fringe meeting at our recent Welsh Conference at Llandudno. It was something that Julian Salmon of the CLA said at the 2006 Winter Fair at Llanelwedd that started me thinking about this. Now we are told that the clearance of forests and the ploughing up of grassland and peat-lands is going to pump more carbon into the atmosphere than the switch to bio fuels will save. Now that is insane.

So what is to be done in the face of this authoritative opinion. From next week, 2.5% of all fuel sold at British pumps must be derived from bio fuels. By 2010, it is proposed that the figure will be 5%. This has the makings of being a serious environmental disaster, created by a desire to do environmental good, by a government which has announced a policy without carrying out the necessary research first. It seems that our Government policy will starve people, undermine agri-environment policies and damage the environment. I'm starting to cry. Please find me anothere scientist who will tell me this is not an insane triple whammy.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Glyn, I couldn't agree more with you on this. But what ever government is in power, be it nuuu labour or Tory, they seem to make policies that look good on paper, but lack any credibility, because all they really are interested in, is votes. Look at us (the government) - we are so green , we stick wind turbines all over the countryside, despite all the research that shows it's a sham, and now we want biofuels, so lets plant hundreds of acres of crops - not to feed people or livestock - but to burn as fuel - what a good idea! I despair.

Did you see the programme on 'What would happen after people'? The earth and the seas would flourish, and after 10,000 years - there would be no trace left of the human race - what a blissful thought!

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

U, me and anonymous are one on this issue - it is insane to divert food crops to fuel production. Isn't the often quoted supply-demand-price curve (so I guess it's a 3D x, y, z plane curve) is in most economic textbooks? Higher demand for a finite resource is reconciled through price increases - I guess that is the meaning of this curve? As a non-economist if it is that obvious, y didn't the overlords in government work it out????

eric said...

Glyn, have you seen the stuff in the Stern report about rainforest destruction?
I need to do some more research but I'm looking into this at the mo, but apparently in one year we remove rainforest that could absorb enough c02 as emitted by all airflights since aviation began, not to mention the co2 burning releases and th fact that once gone it cannot absorb anymore. see
http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/08/biofuels_menace_rainforests.html

makes you wonder whther all our resources should in the first instnace be put into stopping rainforest destruction rather than 5p on plastic bags??????

Glyn Davies said...

anon - In part, there is blame on us all as voters as well. Its the gimmicky announcements that hit the headlines and seem to impress - look at all this stuff about ending the sale of Mars bars and crisps yesterday. Solid, well-researched Government activity goes by unnoticed.

Christopher - but there were some easy positive headlines available, and it 'looked' as if the Government was doing something.

eric - and it causes such destruction to the natural world. The way the human race is treating our world is devoid of responsibility or regard for future generations. I was with Cameron when he was talking about General Well Being (GWB) being more important than GDP or GVA.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> I wonder if the essential problem here is that too many people are engineered by circumstances to run faster to pay bills but never quite able to get ahead of the wave (bill front) and in the process so many of us become conditioned to ignore the reality, a world that will stop giving if we don't slow down the treadmill.

… and on that note, a message from W&E …

Let Wood & Eisenberg, PLLC open your door to the HUGE USA market: mechanical, chemical processes, biotech, software control patents and trademarks on the doorstep of the United States Patent and Trademark Office!

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PS I have some $50k or so to pay back for law school costs.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn> PS ... very thoughtful analysis on your part too; how the political machinery ("PM") wants to look like its doing something so does something that, for a time, looks like they are doing something when in fact the PM is just "bidding for time".

… and on that note, a message from W&E …

Let Wood & Eisenberg, PLLC open your door to the HUGE USA market: mechanical, chemical processes, biotech, software control patents and trademarks on the doorstep of the United States Patent and Trademark Office!

Yours,
Dr. Christopher Wood, PhD, JD

http://www.premierpatents.com/
http://www.woodeisenberg.com/

Billy King said...

At least one of the commnets is spam glyn.
Can you not control this rubbish from appearing on your site?

Anonymous said...

Billy has a fair point, as do you Glyn about us readers using the scroll option.
But at the end of the day this endless posting and self promotion from this man Wood can only detract from your post.
That is not the point of us reading the comments.

Anonymous said...

Glyn has stated that he doesn't mind! This is HIS blog. The anonymous posters offer nothing but anal complaints. Go boil an egg.

Ian said...

Growing biofuel crops in developed countries is indeed insane. However, irrigation of borderline desert areas (not forested areas felled for the purpose) in delevoping countries for biofuels, may be appropriate.

However, I do not share the comments about wind energy. There are issues about planning and allowing local concnerns not to be ignored, but to claim that their potential contribution is a sham is simply untrue. I look forward to the day when we can have objective information on renewable energy, as wind energy firms are also not helping by quoting maximum energy potential instead of the mean figures that are relevant.

Glyn Davies, no relation! said...

Let glyn post and allow what he wants.
It shows the rest of us the sort of following he has.
I think cornock should have kept quiet.
Reading Glyn is like watching the elephant head towards the pit.
He is going to come a cropper.
It's a shame for the Conservatives have a real chance of making headway here, yet we have glyn and his council and assembly mentality attempting to punch way above his weight.
His intentions are good.
Ego is the problem here.

Glyn Davies said...

Its fortunate that I'm not upset by unfriendly comments. I do wonder what it is that inspires people to want to be so antagonistic though. Thanks for the warning about the elephant pit Glyn - but I'm up to 970 posts now and I'm semi-retiring from my English Language blog when I reach 1000. I wonder if I'll attract any readers, and whether they will comment in the same tone.

Ian - I like both aspects of your comment. Irrigation and dam constuction could play a bigger part in producing renewable energy - but only after proper research into what the total carbon footprint is. And you are right about wind energy. Because the claims of Government and the energy companies are so incredible, no-one believes anything they say.

Dr. Christopher Wood said...

Glyn: I wouldn't be bothered in the slightest about the negative comments from some folks, especially the anonymous ones. Also, I wouldn't be bothered at all if you didn't post all my posts. I type like a road runner on heat. (Yes, "road runners" do exist over here... I ran one over and was sick as a dog that ate a skunk).

There was a yes v. no play off in C&EN (Chemical & Engineering News) - two scientists giving opposite arguments. Perhaps I can find it for you! Will send you to sleep though - lots of technical stuff.

Anonymous said...

glyn the no relation is talking total rubbish. I like this blog because its down to earth and honest which will be a breath of fresh air when glyns an MP. if you dont like what he writes why not go and read blogs you do like or start your own and lets see what you can do instead of just making snide comments from the sidelines. i dont know why you allow this rubbish on your blog glyn.