The search to get an acceptable all round economical biofuel to power cars and be non harming to the environment and the global warming situation has recently brought to public attention another devastating revelation.
A lot has been said and written about the pro's of having a part biofuel powered car, that it is less polluting than a pure petrol or diesel engined vehicle and also the need to have an alternative fuel developed to replace our reliance on oil, now even more so since the world economic crisis resulted, for a while, in record prices for barrels of crude.
Why biofuels you might ask, well quite bluntly it is mainly because governments around the world, as well as the huge multi- conglomerate businesses are all investing BILLIONS to gain an advantage in this industry and thereby hopefully grow to be as powerful as the big oil companies.
Electric powered vehicles have not yet cracked the market, and will not do so until the everlasting puzzle of storing electricity is solved.
For the last few years here in the UK there has been a target set by the government for the year 2010 that 5% of all ethanol and diesel should come from biological sources, primarily crops including corn, sugarcane and rapeseed.
Simply by setting this target the UK government is ensuring that the sugarcane, corn and rapeseed production to support that target will not go towards food resources, leading to the possibility of food shortages and rising food prices.
The UK government has very recently "slightly relented" on their position by stating "they would slow its adoption". But the damage is already done.
Brazil is the second largest producer of sugarcane after the USA but its industry is considered the most efficient. Ethanol, a biofuel produced from sugarcane as opposed to corn is estimated to provide carbon dioxide emissions 90% lower than petrol.
Despite the above even environmentalists and Oxfam are having second thoughts about supporting this green issue because of the involvement of slavery and child labour.
Although Brazil has introduced new laws which carry big fines both slavery and child labour abound in the upland regions
On the large plantations working conditions are fairly well regularized, health and safety laws dictate that nobody must work more than 10 hours in the field, but each of those 10 hours is a hard, dusty, hot slog which leaves even the fittest shattered.
Travel up to the hills and it is a different story .The sugarcane has to be cut just the same but the workforce is different. Men of all ages, young children from families who need money leave school to harvest the cane, widows young and old who have no other income slave in the hot dusty fields.
The easiest way to harvest the cane is to set it on fire, cut it, move on, set it on fire, cut it, move on, repeating this all day, hardly stopping because what you cut is what you get paid for.
When you consider that a "legal" lowland plantation worker has to slog for 10 hours to cut 4.5 tons of cane and get paid the equivalent of $10 per day, imagine what the pay is for a hill worker who probably gets up at 4 a.m. and does not see his/her house again until 8 p.m., probably 6 days per week.
All this to produce a biofuel, using land that could produce vital foodstuff for humans, plus exploiting child and slave labour, is this ethical, is this right?
Would it not be wiser if governments put more emphasis on the water to fuel process which already proves that it hugely lowers carbon gas emissions which cut the main cause of global warming giving a more pleasant environment plus nearly doubling the m.p.g. of cars and other vehicles and is available now.
Bill is now retired but as a keen motorist has driven on most continents of the world and has a keen interest in environmental issues, these account for only a couple of his many varied interests. For further info on the Water4gas fuel conversion system please visit..http://www.the-car-hub.co.uk/