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2007年VOA标准英语-Biofuels Boom Raises Concerns about Global Farm

时间:2007-05-30 03:21来源:互联网 提供网友:lujjjjjjhy   字体: [ ]
By Brian Wagner
06 April 2007

The leaders of Cuba and Venezuela, are criticizing President Bush's recent call to increase biofuel production, because of what they say is the potential impact on food supplies beyond U.S. borders. VOA's Brian Wagner in Miami looks at how the drive for biofuels is changing agriculture in several countries that have embraced the trend, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

U.S. ethanol is made from corn
U.S. ethanol is made from corn
In a pair of editorials in the Cuban state-run newspaper, ailing1 Cuban leader Fidel Castro lashed2 out at the United States for threatening global food supplies. The writings were his first since he withdrew from his leadership duties in July, as he underwent surgery, and they suggest he may be returning to his political duties.  In the editorial, Mr. Castro complained that U.S. policies are driving up the price of food staples4 like corn.

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, also has criticized U.S. plans to increase ethanol production, saying it will take away food from the poor to, in his words, fuel "rich people's cars."

U.S. officials have not responded to the claims from Mr. Chavez or Mr. Castro, who are frequent critics of U.S. policy.

But Jorge Pinon, the former president of Amoco Oil's Latin American operations, says the attacks are entirely5 political.

"I think people are just making more of this issue than there really is," he explained.  "It's politically motivated, because in no way is it going to take food out of the mouths of the world's poor."

Instead, Pinon says sugar-producing countries like Cuba should embrace the trend, and begin producing more sugar for the regional ethanol market. In Brazil, ethanol made from sugar cane6 is now widely available for automobiles7, while corn is the basis of the U.S. program.

Around the region, farmers are hoping to take advantage of the increasing demand for crops used to make ethanol, and they are starting to see higher prices for their goods, says Sarah Ladislaw, a fellow in the energy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"Is ethanol demand in the United States right now putting an upward pressure on corn prices? I think it is," he said.  "But what you're seeing in turn, is that corn farmers are planning on producing a lot more corn in the next few years to keep up with that demand."

This year, U.S. farmers are expected to increase land used to raise corn by 15 percent, says Ford8 Runge, director of the Center for International Food and Agricultural Policy at the University of Minnesota. The result is that vegetable sellers are beginning to have trouble finding farmers to grow sweet corn, beans and other foods.

"They can't get anybody to grow those things this year, because everyone wants to grow corn for ethanol," he noted9.  "So, that's going to drive the prices of those products up, as well."

Runge says the rising prices of corn and other foods will hurt American consumers, but the impact on global prices will be even more serious for people in poor nations. Already, higher prices of corn for the corn-based staple3, tortillas, have sparked protests in Mexico.

U.S. officials say crop-based ethanol is only one part of the current plan to expand alternative energy sources aimed at lowering the nation's dependence10 on imported oil. President Bush has also called for more research into producing cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass and other products that are not part of the food supply.

Ford Runge says the technology behind cellulosic ethanol is still a few years away.

"Although cellulosic alternatives are important, and potentially feasible in the next five, or more likely 10 years, they really don't respond to the immediate11 crisis being created by the corn and soybean-based craze," he explained.

Runge and other experts say one important way to reduce pressure on crop prices is to cut government subsidies12 to millions of U.S. farmers. The Bush administration is backing a current bill in Congress that would end payments to some farmers. But lawmakers are expected to resist any efforts to make broad cuts to farm subsidy13 programs. The issue has been a major sticking point in World Trade Organization negotiations14.


1 ailing XzzzbA     
  • They discussed the problems ailing the steel industry. 他们讨论了困扰钢铁工业的问题。
  • She looked after her ailing father. 她照顾有病的父亲。
2 lashed 4385e23a53a7428fb973b929eed1bce6     
adj.具睫毛的v.鞭打( lash的过去式和过去分词 );煽动;紧系;怒斥
  • The rain lashed at the windows. 雨点猛烈地打在窗户上。
  • The cleverly designed speech lashed the audience into a frenzy. 这篇精心设计的演说煽动听众使他们发狂。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 staple fGkze     
  • Tea is the staple crop here.本地产品以茶叶为大宗。
  • Potatoes are the staple of their diet.土豆是他们的主要食品。
4 staples a4d18fc84a927940d1294e253001ce3d     
n.(某国的)主要产品( staple的名词复数 );钉书钉;U 形钉;主要部份v.用钉书钉钉住( staple的第三人称单数 )
  • The anvil onto which the staples are pressed was not assemble correctly. 订书机上的铁砧安装错位。 来自辞典例句
  • I'm trying to make an analysis of the staples of his talk. 我在试行分析他的谈话的要旨。 来自辞典例句
5 entirely entirely     
  • The fire was entirely caused by their neglect of duty. 那场火灾完全是由于他们失职而引起的。
  • His life was entirely given up to the educational work. 他的一生统统献给了教育工作。
6 cane RsNzT     
  • This sugar cane is quite a sweet and juicy.这甘蔗既甜又多汁。
  • English schoolmasters used to cane the boys as a punishment.英国小学老师过去常用教鞭打男学生作为惩罚。
7 automobiles 760a1b7b6ea4a07c12e5f64cc766962b     
n.汽车( automobile的名词复数 )
  • When automobiles become popular,the use of the horse and buggy passed away. 汽车普及后,就不再使用马和马车了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Automobiles speed in an endless stream along the boulevard. 宽阔的林荫道上,汽车川流不息。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
8 Ford KiIxx     
  • They were guarding the bridge,so we forded the river.他们驻守在那座桥上,所以我们只能涉水过河。
  • If you decide to ford a stream,be extremely careful.如果已决定要涉过小溪,必须极度小心。
9 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
10 dependence 3wsx9     
  • Doctors keep trying to break her dependence of the drug.医生们尽力使她戒除毒瘾。
  • He was freed from financial dependence on his parents.他在经济上摆脱了对父母的依赖。
11 immediate aapxh     
  • His immediate neighbours felt it their duty to call.他的近邻认为他们有责任去拜访。
  • We declared ourselves for the immediate convocation of the meeting.我们主张立即召开这个会议。
12 subsidies 84c7dc8329c19e43d3437248757e572c     
n.补贴,津贴,补助金( subsidy的名词复数 )
  • European agriculture ministers failed to break the deadlock over farm subsidies. 欧洲各国农业部长在农业补贴问题上未能打破僵局。
  • Agricultural subsidies absorb about half the EU's income. 农业补贴占去了欧盟收入的大约一半。 来自《简明英汉词典》
13 subsidy 2U5zo     
  • The university will receive a subsidy for research in artificial intelligence.那个大学将得到一笔人工智能研究的补助费。
  • The living subsidy for senior expert's family is included in the remuneration.报酬已包含高级专家家人的生活补贴。
14 negotiations af4b5f3e98e178dd3c4bac64b625ecd0     
协商( negotiation的名词复数 ); 谈判; 完成(难事); 通过
  • negotiations for a durable peace 为持久和平而进行的谈判
  • Negotiations have failed to establish any middle ground. 谈判未能达成任何妥协。
TAG标签:   VOA标准英语  Biofuels  Boom  Raises  C  Biofuels  Boom  Raises  C
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