Petr Mach: Castro criticises Bush. And he is right.

Blog Petra Macha http://blog.aktualne.centrum.cz/blogy/petr-mach.php?itemid=310, 02.04.2007

published: 14.01.2005, read: 21687×


On Thursday 29 March 2007, the Cuban leader Fidel Castro wrote an editorial to the Communist Party newspaper, Granma, in which he criticises the US environmental policy. The title goes: "More than three billion people in the world condemned to premature death from hunger and thirst". (www.granma.cubaweb.cu/2007/03/29/nacional/artic11.html or http://www.granma.cu/ingles/2007/marzo/juev29/14reflex.html in English)

It seems that this time, left-wing Castro understands the consequences of market functioning better than right-wing Bush. Growth in demand for biofuels spurred by the policy of western countries will necessarily lead to the growth of food and water prices.

For so long has the public been accusing President George Bush of anti-environmentalism that he, too, eventually espoused the green vision of the world. Influenced by the controversial theory of global warming, Bush proposes to substitute biodiesel to oil: "By 2017, America should use 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels, ... thus cutting gas consumption by 20% in 10 years". And Castro adds to this: "Apply that recipe to the countries of the Third World and you will see that people among the hungry masses of the Earth will no longer eat corn".

US and EU politicians believe that by cutting the demand for oil, they will reduce the allegedly undesirable global warming. However, they fail to see the consequences which are rightly perceived by Castro. Higher demand from US drivers for corn ethanol (artificially created by political decision) will result in corn price hike.

Over the past half year, the price of corn rose by 70 % and the price hike has already started to cause unrest in the countries of Latin America. Mexico has even introduced desperate regulation of corn tortillas prices (The Economist 16.3.). Environmentalists in the USA and Europe live in the impression of helping the planet Earth, yet people in poorer countries are lacking money to buy bread because of this caprice of the rich.

The growth in demand for imports of energetic plants from the Third World countries also requires greater use of water for agricultural purposes, which makes water less available for drinking. In other words, in order to use biodiesel to run cars and cut CO2 emissions, a lot of H2O must first be used for the production of biodiesel.

Some of the "conscious" environmentalists drive their cars using biodiesel already today, without being forced to do so by legal regulations. As for instance the Czech Green Party leader and Environment minister in a coalition government Martin Bursík. He believes doing global good; still, he will not change the law of demand and supply. Every kilometre Mr. Bursík drives increases the price of rape, wheat, corn or water for others somewhere else in the world.

Cuban communism and the lack of freedom undoubtedly harm common Cuban citizens. Yet the ill effect of Western environmentalism reaches far beyond US and EU borders.

Petr Mach

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