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.