Lair Of A Squirrel Red


Castro smites Bush over biofuel by korakious
March 30, 2007, 7:37 pm
Filed under: Cuba, energy, environment, Fidel, Imperialism

I was very happy to see today that Fidel Castro wrote an article for Granma lambasting Dubya for his newly found love for bio fuel. I was excited because this is Castro’s first comment on international politics in quite some time, meaning that the old man is indeed getting better, and because it is always good to have such respected socialists commenting on environmental issues (the old left thinks environmental concerns are petty bourgeois).

On to the article itself now. The title of Guardian’s report , “Castro warns poor will starve for greener fuel” is quite misleading, whether or not deliberately. By the title alone, it would seem that Castro is against green energy per se. Anyone who has been keeping an eye on developments in Cuba will of course know that this is couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Castro correctly argues that the cost for producing biofuel from food will be paid by the poor people of the world as the third world countries that form the majority of agricultural producers will sell their food crops as fuel. What this implies is, in simple terms, a competition for food between the people of the third world and… cars:

Other countries in the rich world are planning to use not only corn but also wheat, sunflower seeds, rapeseed and other foods for fuel production. For the Europeans, for example, it would become a business to import all of the world–Ęs soybeans with the aim of reducing the fuel costs for their automobiles and feeding their animals with the chaff from that legume, particularly rich in all types of essential amino acids.

Further, he made the point that funding bio fuel production could lead to many poor countries to turn forests into farmland, thus exacerbating the problem of climate change. George Monbiot has been arguing along similar lines for some time now. The argument is supported by evidence of ever accelerating deforestation in the third world. The liberal sycophant will of course rush to tell you that this is because of “bad” and “irresponsible” governments – how strange that they only exist in the third world! – and that things would be far better if there was internal reform. Not once will it cross their mind that government corruption and deforestation is the product of the global North’s imperialist exploitation.

But enough with bashing imperialism. None but the most empty headed liberal or crypto first world chauvinistic Trot would assert that the third world is responsible for its own problems. Let’s take a look at what Cuba is doing to prevent climate chaos.

For one, Cuba has replaced all incandescent light bulbs and their ~90% energy loss with fluorescent bulbs that produce light of equal intensity at only 20% of the energy normal bulbs use. Cuba made this move 2 years before Australia enacted similar legislation. Of course, no major news source picked it up back then.

More importantly, Cuba and Venezuela have embarked on a joint effort to produce biofuel from sugar cane alcohol, thus sparing food crops. Forest protection and tree planting schemes will also ensure that Cuba’s woodlands will not become the victim of her energy needs.

That’s just a couple of the efforts that have earned Cuba the honour of being the only country with fully sustainable development. Meanwhile, in Britain, carbon emissions continue to rise while Brown and Cameron fight over whose policies are greener. The truth of course is that none of them is. There’s really nothing green about spending an obscene amount of money on renewing Trident, when it could be spent on providing Free Public Transport.

You’ve got to be red to be green.