"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Guradian typos at work ... most of article is unreadable

The Guradian has a top of the fold story anout a World Bank report prepared by Don Mitchell, a senior economist at the Bank who has undertaken a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices.... screams the sensational headline .."Biofuels are prime cause of food crisis, says leaked report" ...ahem ... well up to a point Lord Copper.

Biofuels production distorts food markets in three ways they report that the report says ;

1. It diverts grain away from food for fuel, it claims ( and this is wrong - see graph right) over a third of US corn is now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU are used for biodiesel. e.g US corn plantings were down this year BEFORE the floods , but soya planting was increased in almost equivalent acreage as crops rotated.
2. Farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production.
3. It has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher - there was no speculation before biofuels ?

Curiously there appears to be no mention of whacking big Federal grants , local tax cuts for building refineries etc., etc.,

A panel of government experts, chaired by Professor Ed Gallagher, head of the Renewable Fuels Agency are due to report snippets were pre-released by the Guradian last week. THis news sory repeats the claim " Over a third of US corn is used to produce ethanol, while about half of EU vegetable oils go towards the production of biodiesel." which is simply not correct. See post 1st July US Corn / ethanol industry - a quick overview

Perhaps it will be better to wait for the reports to be published before forming any judgements. Evidently if you use food for fuel you reduce food supplies but there is more at work ...see Friday, May 30, 2008 Norwegian Yara International makes record sales/profits by selling fertilisers at record prices set by global fertiliser industry cartel
Saturday, May 10, 2008 US corn plantings down, futures prices at record levels Sunday, December 23, 2007 Wheat , corn, soya prices at record levels - demand exceeds world supply, fertiliser, farm and fuel costs rise - food costs jump and inflation follows
Friday, November 23, 2007 ABF / British Sugar's Wissington sugar beet / bioethanol plant on stream and opened by Lord Rooker
even earlier Sunday, September 16, 2007 Australian drought - poor spring rains - higher world wheat prices in prospect - low stocks and heavy demand
Saturday, July 14, 2007 Biofuels plc - all that is green is not golden

Dontcha just love it when the mainstream Liberal press really, really do their homework ?... but hey ... it's a headlineworthy of George Monbiot and his Calculus.

UPDATE : BBC4 PM program at 5.30(ish) pm BST had a discussion (which curiously extracted and highlighted the 3 points raised above in virtually the same words ) between a doughty lady and an eco frenzied Monbiotist whose names escaped us. The lady made most of the points above.... we wait for the full report, rather than highlighted leaks promoted by very partial publicists.

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