China Seeing the Light on Biofuels

by Val Germann

A recent report on THE ENERGY BULLETIN website shows that the Chinese have become fully aware of the threat that biofuels pose to their food supply.  The quote below, from a Chinese official, gets things just about right:

“In China, the first thing is to provide food for its 1.3 billion people, and after that, we will support biofuel production,” the People’s Daily quoted Wang Xiaobing, an official at the Agriculture Ministry’s crops cultivation department, as saying. 

It was bit of a shock to this writer to read that the Chinese government now has the same attitude toward biofuels that we here at Star Phoenix Base have been promoting these last few months.   While it’s not likely (to say the least) that we had much to do with their position, it was still refreshing to see it in print. 

The article goes on to point out that China currently grows enough grain to supply the basic needs of its people.  However, the country does not grow enough feed grains to completely support its dairy and poultry production.  Much of that grain has to be imported, from the United States, which is rapidly building ethanol plants that will turn that grain into a low grade of gasoline. 

We here at Star Phoenix Base see a problem on the horizon here, a big problem.  Corn futures prices have broken the $3.75 barrier and are continuing upward.  Current projections indicate that by 2010, all U.S. surplus corn will have gone for ethanol, leaving none to export as world population and demand continue to increase. 

The Chinese have more than $1 Trillion in potential foreign exchange, much of which could be used to buy corn on the world market, if they choose to do so. 

We will let our readers do some math on that.


About Val

I am a long-time teacher of science and astronomy with a strong interest in resource conservation and the environment.
This entry was posted in Agriculture Issues, Economics, Ethical Issues. Bookmark the permalink.