Thursday, May 22, 2008

Left in (another) quandry

Europe's and America's Left feel global warming is a major threat to the environment, the world's populace, and life in general. Fair enough, but even thaough they see a looming global disaster, they can't bring themselves to support nuclear power on a large enough scale to reduce the need for coal and oil powered electricity plants.

What they can get behind is biofuel. Forget the first generation biofuels, which had the completely foreseeable result of turning cropland devoted to human consumption into land used for growing crops destined for gas tanks. This has led to higher food prices around the world, local and regional food shortages and, most ironical, the destruction of CO2 sucking forests in order to plant crops used to fuel greenhouse gas producing fuel.

No, the next most bestest thing for the Left is second generation biofuels. These are grasses and reeds that are planted, harvested, and processed to provide fuel. Sounds good so far: food crops will be used to feed animals and humans, while otherwise usesless grasses will top off our gas tanks. The problem is that many of the proposed grasses, etc., are non-native weeds and threaten to overwhelm native species. Not to worry, claim many on the Left, we'll be able to control them.

The maddening part of their argument is that they accept the risks from these non-native but "natural" grasses, but cannot accept genetically modified (GM) plants that have the promise to feed many millions. The rationale for not supporting GM plants is that they may escape and cross pollinate with non-GM plants, thus producing mutant crops that ultimately have negative consequences. The risk from biofuel crops out competing local flora is down-played - even though invasive species cost the world upwards of one trillian dollars each year.

What is good for the Left's goose (biofuels) is not good for the world's gander (GM crops capable of feeding millions). But the Left's strict hierarchy of evils (excluding the USA) is headed by nuclear power and GM foods, and will not be upset.

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