>There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies…..


… and statistics..

These people must be so tragically thick.

This is an advertisement in the Economist – educated, influential and affluent readership (apart from me that is – I just look at the pictures) – and definitely not the sort of place where you can get away with waffly thinking, let alone blatant attempts at data manipulation and plain lies.

Abengo, a Spanish biofuels conglomerate, asks the question

“Should biofuels also be blamed for the economic crisis?”

and proceeds to truncate (and use utterly inappropriate) scales, suggesting a causality between the 100% increase in European biofuel production and the halving of cereal prices.

It doesn’t really matter where you stand on this issue (I tend to be against massive deforestation, causing hunger in poor countries and the logic of pumping 30% more energy into a process that you get out, but that’s just me…), but this argumentation is specious to the extent of being propoganda.

Let’s get this into perspective.

The world production of biofuel in 2008 was 60 billion litres.

An extra 1 billion litres in Europe (diverting 300,000 hectares from food production, if anyone’s interested…) won’t make a blind bit of difference to the price of cereals.

Speculation in grain future
s is what whacked the price up.

Stocks were no good, the oil market was too volatile, where do we put our money?

Other commodities.

Like cereals.

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