As Food Riots Continue, Finance Ministers Criticize Ethanol Subsidies

Ethanol and biofuels have been wrongly depicted by politicians like Al Gore as a solution to global warming.  But in reality, subsidized ethanol production gravely harms the environment, and also causes starvation, high food prices, and rioting. 

“The diversion of food crops to biofuel production was a significant factor contributing to global food prices rocketing by 83% in the last year, and causing violent conflicts in Haiti and other parts of the world,” reports African Energy News.  “Food riots have also taken place in Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mauritania, Madagascar and the Philippines in the past month” (and in Pakistan and Mexico, too).

Unable to afford food, hungry Haitians are now eating “cookies made of dirt, vegetable oil, and salt.” 

“International Monetary Fund (IMF) President Dominique Strauss-Kahn has warned that hundreds of thousands of people will face starvation if food prices keep rising.”

Millions of poor people in the Third World now risk being evicted from their homes and becoming homeless as vast tracts of land are converted to produce ethanol and other biofuels.

Finance ministers and central bankers are now calling for an end to ethanol subsidies and other “biofuel policies adopted recently in the West.” South African finance minister Trevor Manuel called such subsidies “criminal.”  Earlier, the Indian Finance Minister Chidambaram noted that “in a world where there is hunger and poverty, there is no policy justification for diverting food crops towards bio-fuels. Converting food into fuel is neither good policy for the poor nor for the environment.”

Ethanol subsidies do not result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions, but they do result in soil erosion, deforestation, and other environmental damage.