Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mark Steyn on unintended (but entirely predictable) consequences

(via Tim Blair) I've blogged before on some of the unintended consequences of attempting to "save" the environment. Mark Steyn has an article in the National Review Online that, as usual, puts it into perspective far better than I ever could:

Unlike “global warming,” food rioting is a planet-wide phenomenon, from Indonesia to Pakistan to Ivory Coast to the tortilla rampages in Mexico and even pasta protests in Italy.So what happened?

Well, Western governments listened to the eco-warriors, and introduced some of the “wartime measures” they’ve been urging. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from “biofuels” by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The U.S.
added to its 51 cents-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a five-fold increase in “biofuels” production by 2022.

The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you’ve suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it’s not “you” who’s got less to eat but those starving peasants in distant lands you claim to care so much about.

And it isn't just the cost of our food that is going up as a result of this idiotic policy. It's the cost of our fuel as well. Read the whole thing of course.

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