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« Private prosecutions | Main | Climate cuttings 6 »

Where's the food going to come from?

Further to my recent post on Scottish Power's plan to use 12% of agricultural land to grow biomass sufficient to power a couple houses in Linlithgow, the Englishman reports that Friends of the Earth are resisting the idea of using genetic modification to reduce food price inflation. They, of course, are in favour of organic farming (or "faeces farming" as I prefer to call it), which requires four times as much land as conventionial crops.

So if they get their way, there won't be any land left to grow the trees to make power for Linlithgow, or anywhere else for that matter.



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Reader Comments (2)

Slightly more troubling than that:

it's quite long but it expands on your theme. In summary biofuels are unsustainable and will lead to both higher food prices and food shortages.

Jul 21, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterScotsToryB
There are a lot of people in the energy/environment debate with strong opinions about what definitely will or won't work, and what the Government should or shouldn't make us do as a result. The paper referenced from the previous comment is a good example - some fair points embedded in much too much certainty and exaggeration. Are biofuels the answer to all our energy problems, the solution that will allow us to carry on with our lives exactly as we have always done even as oil and then the other fossil fuels gradually deplete? No. But are biofuels evil and liable to destroy our agriculture? No, again. Left to the market (given rational internalisation of externalities within the market), we would reach a balance where we deployed as much biofuel as was rational (probably a fraction of what governments think will be the case), and no more, and modified our behaviour and consumption in response to the same signals. It is government-intervention, and not the nature of one technology or another, that can produce daft results like planting 12% of Scotland's agricultural land (not arable land, note, of which the proportion would be significantly higher, presumably) or producing so much biofuel that food prices inflate terribly and we strip the soil of fibre and nutrients.

Mind you, you shouldn't take that ScottishPower announcement seriously - it is a shot in a political battle, not something that is likely actually to happen. See my comment to that post, or my post on the subject at PickingLosers ( ).
Jul 21, 2007 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterbgp

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