Global Avoidable Mortality

AVOIDABLE MORTALITY - or EXCESS MORTALITY - is the difference between the ACTUAL mortality in a country and the mortality EXPECTED in a peaceful, decently-run country with the same demographics. AVOIDABLE MORTALITY and INFANT MORTALITY are KEY INDICATORS of the HUMAN CONSEQUENCES of national and global policies.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide, meat & global food price crisis

Biofuel famine, biofuel genocide, meat & global food price crisis

Key quotes:

Dominique Strauss-Kahn head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (April 2008) : [biofuels] "posed a real moral problem… there are people who are going to starve to death." [US, UK, and EU have legislatively mandated food to biofuel conversion while 3.8 billion are malnourished].

UN special rapporteur for the right to food, Jean Ziegler of Switzerland (April 2008): "Producing biofuels is a crime against humanity."

World meat consumption increased from 47 million tons/2.5 billion people = 47.8 billion kg/2.5 billion people = 19.1 kg/person (1950) to 240 million tons/6.3 billion people = 243.8 billion kg/6.3 billion people = 38.7 kg/person (2002).

2002 world meat production (million tons, x by 1.016 -> million tonnes): Aquaculture (38, 9.0%), Poultry (72, 17.0%), Eggs (58, 13.7%), Pork (94, 22.2%), Mutton (12, 2.8%), Oceanic fish catch (91, 21.5%), Beef (58, 13.7%), Total (423, 100%) [China #1 - 2/3 of world herbivorous fish aquaculture in 2000].

Conversion efficiency (kg grain to produce 1 kg gain in live weight): herbivorous farmed fish (e.g. carp, tilapia, catfish; less than 2), chicken (2), pork (4), and beef (7). In 2003, 37 percent of the world grain harvest, or nearly 700 million tons, used to produce animal protein.

Meat eating is an indulgence in a starving world threatened by a worsening Climate Emergency – livestock production involves huge and inefficient diversion of grain foods; beef alone contributes 16% of annual methane production; livestock in general contribute 37% of human-induced methane (see: and ); FAO estimated that livestock contributes about 18% of annual anthropogenic greenhouse gas production [including related deforestation, transport, fertilizer etc etc components] (see “Shun meat says UN climate chief Dr Pachauri”, BBC, 2008: ) .

World milk production 626 million tons = 636 million tonnes (2005) (NB cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats; Milk from Friesian-Holstein cattle typically contains 87.5 per cent water and 12.5 per cent total solids. The ranges in composition of milk solids are: fat, 3.2 to 4.6 per cent; protein, 2.8 to 3.5 per cent; lactose, 4.2 to 4.8 per cent and minerals 0.6 to 0.8 per cent [India #1 - 78 million tonnes or ca 13% in 1999-2000].

WW2 British India grain: 60 million tons/400 million people/year = 61 million tonnes/400 million people/year = 0.152 tonnes /person/year = 416 g /person/day; “annual death rate” 3.5% in 1947 (0.85% in 2003); “annual excess death rate” 3.1% in 1947 (0.35% in 2008).

2008 World: 2,000 million tons/ 6,600 million people/year 2,032 million tonnes/ 6,600 million people/year = 0.308 tonnes/person/year = 844g /person/day; 2003 “annual death rate” about 0.89%; “annual excess death rate” 0.26% = 16 million excess deaths pa, 9.5 billion under-5 year old infants = 44,000 excess deaths per day, 26,000 excess infant deaths daily; 57% of world = 3.8 billion malnourished; “annual excess death rate” 0.97% (non-Arab Africa), 1.8% (Indigenous Australians); "annual death rate" 2.5% (Australian sheep), 2.7% (Occupied Iraqi infants), 6.7% (Occupied Afghanistan infants), 10.2% Australian POWs of Japanese in WW2.

Rice (1 cup = 185 g = 685 Calories; 2 cups = 370 g = 1,370 Calories): about 50% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 10% fat.

Average male needs 1,800 Calories per day; average female needs 1,300 Calories per day (1 Calorie = 1 kcal = 4.184 kjoule = 4.184 kJ; 1 cal is the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 g H2O by 1 0C).

For a very detailed, documented account of the current global food price crisis see "Biofuel Famine, biofuel genocide and the global food crisis": .


The world is facing a global food price crisis that threatens billions of people in the developing world with famine. Prices for major food commodities such as wheat, rice, corn and soybean have doubled in the last year or so. The price of rice has doubled in the last 6 months. Food prices in US$ have been driven upwards through a combination of factors, notably: (1) the immoral (and net CO2 polluting) diversion of food for biofuel (impelled by global warming considerations, peak oil, increased oil prices, economics, US, EU and UK legislation); (2) US dollar decline; (3) oil price impact on agriculture costs; (4) anthropogenic global warming (and consequent intensified droughts); (5) increased demand for food (notably meat) from the new Asian giants; (6) fear, speculation and unilateralism.

Global non-observance of basic human “entitlement” (Amartya Sen) means that millions who cannot buy food will starve to death. History ignored yields history repeated - when the price of rice doubled and then finally quadruped 6-7 million starved to death in Bengal and adjoining Indian provinces in 1943-1945 in the “forgotten” Bengali Holocaust, the man-made Bengal Famine in British-ruled India during World War 2.

The solutions in general involve rational risk management involving (a) accurate data, (b) scientific analysis and (c) systemic change to reduce risk. The specific solutions involve: (1) cessation of the biofuel perversion (except for environmentally and morally acceptable biomass and algal systems); (2) cessation of Biosphere-threatening CO2 pollution (indeed negative CO2 emissions are required to reduce atmospheric CO2 to a safe and sustainable 300-350 ppm from the present unacceptable 385 ppm); (3) respect for Humanity and “food entitlement” for all on Spaceship Earth; (4) cessation of the Third World Holocaust (16 million avoidable deaths annually) e.g. by “economic efficiency credits” (countries such as Bangladesh or peoples such as Indigenous Australians modestly rewarded for high efficiency and low impact on the Biosphere) and other measures to limit population and Biosphere impact.

Labels: , , , , , ,