The headline above has proven to be true in the case of biofuels which only recently were hailed as the solution to global warming and the key to the planet’s survival.
Now, the mad rush to produce biofuels is being blamed for the worldwide food crisis.
Various nations have already spent billions of dollars in their bid to develop sugar- and grain-based ethanol and biodiesel to replace carbon-belching fossil fuels, the overwhelming source of man-made global warming.
But in their effort to mass-produce such biofuels, the nations of the world have taken away food crops from the hungry mouths of the world’s burgeoning poor to serve the rich by providing clean fuel to the vehicles of the well-to-do.
This has prompted prices of rice and other food to soar to astronomical heights and threaten the world with mass starvation.
On Friday, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said biofuels “posed a real moral problem” and called for a moratorium on using food crops to power cars, trucks and buses. The vital problem of global warming “has to be balanced with the fact that there are people who are going to starve to death,” said Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
“Producing biofuels is a crime against humanity,” the UN’s special rapporteur for the right to food, Jean Ziegler of Switzerland, said earlier.
But some are casting doubts on the link between biofuels and the world food crisis, saying this “is highly exaggerated.”
Defenders of biofuels say food shortages have multiple causes, including a growing appetite for meat among the burgeoning middle class in China and India.
I think instead of exchanging recriminations and engaging in endless debates on whether biofuels have something to do with the world food crisis, all concerned groups and individuals should zip up their big mouths and rack their brains instead on finding an alternative solution to global warming without endangering the world’s food supplies.
If the brainiacs of our world could come up with such miracles as the Internet and the microchips that power such modern-day wonders as cell phones, iPods and portable game consoles, it should not be that difficult to look for ways to produce wonder crops to feed millions of hungry people and wonder fuels that would not harm the environment.
But it seems the irony of our planet’s history is that the bigger the problems that afflict mankind, the more greedy Big Business becomes.
Such narrow-minded greediness could be the bane of mankind.
A campaigner protests over biofuel legislation in London last April 15. (AFP/Ben Stansall)