BIOFUELS were again being pushed in the Media today by Senator Migz Zubiri (who should really be out helping to arrest his benefactor in Maguindanao, the fugitive from Justice, Lintang Bedol). Now, I rarely agree with United Nations Rapporteurs especially on "human rights" and so-called "internationalized justice." But the call for a moratorium on biofuel production by Jean Zigler, UN Rapporteur on the right to food makes a good bit of sense to me, whereas Zubiri just reeks of the kind of Greenpeace politics that can only make the situation worse with pseudoscientific crapola.
For countries like the Philippines, with its puny 300,000 square kilometers of land area (compared to the US at 9.8 million sqkm and Brazil with 8.5 million sqkm), simple arithmetic compelled me to oppose Zubiri's snake oil called the Biofuels Act of 2006. It may be green and sexy to be for "renewable energy" -- which is the main selling point of the biofuels idea, it is in my opinion a bad choice for a country like the Philippines, where hunger is said to be at record levels. Whatever the true hunger statistics are, it simply makes no sense to be feeding the cars and not the people. Even though the UN's recommendation for moratorium targets biofuels made from food stocks like corn (for methanol) or coconut (to make cocodiesel), the effect of planting stinky non-food-stocks like jatropha reduces the land available for growing food.
Considering the serious turn in the price of oil this past week and the very dark energy picture worldwide, we certainly cannot afford the feel-good proposals of politicians like Migz Zubiri. His biofuels advocacy is not only shortsighted, he is only deceiving the people that we can somehow solve the energy crisis without a good deal of personal and universal sacrifice.
Because there are simply no immediate technological solutions, certainly not along the lines that Zubiri's friends in Greenpeace can turn from snake oil to fuel oil, I think that we should put the highest priority in laws as well as in practice to CONSERVATION. Some ideas:
(1) This Christmas season, the sale and use of Christmas lights ought to be outlawed or at least given the greatest possible emphasis for non-use except perhaps on Christmas and New Year's Eve, but not a month-long orgy of blinking waste. Cities, shopping malls and private homes need to set practical targets of reduction and carry them out with resolve.
(2) I am for matching the fluctuations in global oil prices with punitive EXCISE TAXES on gasoline in order to strictly limit demand and to encourage carpooling and the use of public transportation.
(3) Planned, rolling blackouts throughout the country ought to be considered before they become unavoidable.
(4) I would subsidize the replacement of all incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient fluorescents and even LED lights.
All in all, we simply have to conserve and suppress energy consumption and demand, becauses prices and supply are not going to be cooperating very much with our profligate lifestyle.
For the longer term, I think that other forms of renewable energy than biofuels need to be given high priority for research and evaluation. For example wind, solar and wave energy sources have to be developed and encouraged with tax and other financial support incentives.
I am also for re-commissioning the Bataan Nuclear Plant as proposed by a Japanese engineering outfit that has deemed the proposal viable.