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Environmental Policies that Kill

Green fuel is a panacea of green activists. They can’t get enough of the shit regardless of the consequences of using it. For them, it’s all about protecting the earth, but in reality supporting it with government subsidy kills people. Unfortunately for Guatemalans, ethanol cannot be competitive in the marketplace without a subsidy. Investors.com:

At what point does environmental zeal descend into inhumane policy? Try the ethanol mandate, which is now creating a wave of state-sponsored hunger in poor countries like Guatemala as food is diverted to fuel.

In a buried item in Saturday’s New York Times, Elisabeth Rosenthal reported that growing demand for biofuels in the U.S. is having a catastrophic impact on the small poor nations south of our border, such as Guatemala.

The problem is not the usual suspect of the past — local socialist policies — but the socialism going on up north called the ethanol mandate, which has resulted in 44% of U.S. corn crops getting burned as fuel.

That may sound good to a U.S. environmentalist, given that ethanol has been marketed as a “green” energy, but to a tiny nation like Guatemala, it’s a disaster.

There’s nothing wrong with importing food, of course, so long as a nation moves on to more productive competitive advantages. But there was never any time for that to happen. The imposition of the Renewable Fuel Act of 2007 came right after the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement. Cheap, subsidized corn rolled in from the U.S., displacing local farmers, and then prices shot up with the ethanol mandate. That law requires one-tenth of all U.S. gasoline to contain corn-based ethanol, offering distorted incentives to U.S. farmers to sell their corn at subsidized prices, leaving less for food.

The mandate has diverted so much corn to fuel, it’s cut into the amount of corn available for exports. Corn exports have fallen nearly 50% since 2007, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.

As a result, corn prices have soared as much as 100% for Guatemalans, making corn not just expensive but out of reach for the impoverished population, which spends two-thirds of its money to buy food. The Times reported that half of Guatemalan children are malnourished.

When you support paying farmers to grow corn specifically for the purpose of putting it in fuel so that you can feel better about your energy choices, and the end result is poor people dying of starvation and suffering with severe malnutrition, you are fucked up.

2013-01-09  ::  madlibertarianguy

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