Thursday, August 23, 2012
Victoria's Green Matters - 23rd Aug 2012
Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:We must all be aware of the famine that is imminent in west Africa. The lives of some 18 million people are being threatened by high food prices caused by poor harvests. The USA is suffering the worst drought in 50 years which will result in poor crop yields, leading to even greater price increases in the weeks to come.
Governments have been cautious in attributing the increasing frequency of drought to climate change but recent studies show that this is ever more likely. Unfortunately, in our quest to mitigate these effects, we have gone ahead with growing crops to use as biofuels. Here in the UK, in the European Union and in the USA, we have salved our consciences by filling our cars with fuel partly manufactured from crops. It is disastrous for small farmers in developing countries who are finding themselves dispossessed of their land by European companies anxious to grow so called ‘green fuels’ so that we can drive around.
Biofuels require land to be cleared and nitrogen fertilisers to be used and when these effects are taken into account, they produce more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels.
We should have been encouraging a move towards more fuel efficient vehicles, encouraging people to use public transport and promoting walking and cycling, both for health benefits and for the planet.
It is troubling to realise that sometimes a solution for one problem can be the cause of a much more regrettable one.