Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The more things change

Back in the late 1970’s I contested a federal election. Like this current campaign I’m involved in, there was no real prospect of winning, but there were very real messages to get out. Back then a major issue for me was the environment.

Being of the radical centre I was impressed by emerging ethanol fuel technologies and my home state of Tasmania could produce any amount of appropriate fuel feed without compromising essential food crops. The main ones we were pushing then where winter ground crops like sugar beet.

Since that time, with information we now have, I’m less enthused by bio-fuels, particularly as Australia’s food production is increasingly coming under pressure from drought, growing population and ‘free trade’. What we aren’t giving away to overseas production we are losing as agriculture land becomes less viable.

Goring our agriculture
Now Al Gore fans are doing their best to attack the remaining Agriculture industries and are also risking discrediting real and sustainable reforms. Latest reports from the noisy end of the spectrum are now claiming:

  • We must stop producing and using milk
  • Farms should be converted to wind farms
  • Agriculture lands should instead become carbon sinks
  • Australians should replace beef with kangaroo meat

For my part, the loss of milk in the diet would go pretty much unnoticed, and I guess if we don’t bother to nourish out bodies there is a pretty automatic energy saving. Bovines are notoriously gassy beasts, in common with all ruminants but they hardly match the enormous industrial and automotive outputs.

It seems the mechanical polluters have more money and more at stake than their rural counterparts, but that doesn’t mean a balanced approach should be tossed out the window.

I’m not blaming Gore for these excesses, but his newly enthused supporters really do need to think through the consequences of their positions. Yes, I made an error of judgement way back when, the major lesson of that error was to look more closely at all the issues involved.


Praguetwin said...

I am against corn ethanol, for the record. Sugar cane in the right area makes sense, but corn ethanol is driving food inflation.

Cartledge said...

South America's sugar cane ethanol was great for Australia. Gave our sugar cane industry a real boost.
But overall I'm still not enamored by bio fuels.