This blog mainly has focussed on biofuel sustainability, or lack thereof, particularly when land use is considered. (Which surely will be addressed upon EPA review of comment recently solicited on raising the standard from E10 to E15, eh?)
While previously acknowledging the negative impact that climate change could have upon world food supplies, there was a failure to factor economics into the risk assessment of more food shortages. Well, other than the rather obvious observation that eventually destroying life on the planet as we know it is bad for business.
Now there are indications that such a concern is far greater in scope than previously acknowledged. For the first time G8 (the world’s richest countries) ministers of agriculture are meeting because starvation is threatening to “spiral out of control.”
Hopefully, those advising the decision makers at Treviso will have consulted with, or at least read, people like Lester Brown, Vinod Khosla and David Pimentel, rather than simply bowing to corporate interests and listening to the advice of Herr Doktor Fischer-Tropsch.
Harvests threaten to slump at a time when record numbers of people are already hungry. Crops are being hit by a combination of bad weather, falling food prices and farmers’ being refused credit to buy seeds and fertilisers.
It is the first time that the agriculture ministers of the G8 leading economies have held such a meeting, and they have invited their counterparts from China, India, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, Argentina and Egypt to join them in Treviso [Italy] “to work out a common route to lead us out of the crisis and respond to the world food emergency”.
There has been a dearth of 3E analysis, i.e. “Designing for the Triple Top Line” when the issue is agronomy. Indeed, the concern about a lack of credit to buy fertilizer is an indication of the lack of awareness about the economic and environmental impact of agricultural practices. There needs to be greater attention to the interdependency of food, energy, water, land, and other resources available to the increasing number of people who inhabit “this Good Earth.” Maybe, they need to be hit over the head with a very, very large club.
Food, Energy and Society ASIN: 1420046675