Forgive the deliberately provocative headline, because no, I am not about to expound on the vices and virtues of Cuba's socialist revolution. Political science never was my strongest suit and I haven't got the next decade spare.
No, the headline refers to the topic the recently ill Cuban leader chose as the subject for his return to the international arena – biofuels.
In an article today for the communist party's official paper, Granma, Fidel Castro claimed that the rush towards biofuels would condemn more than three million people in the developing world to "premature death by hunger and thirst" as farm land previously used to grow food is handed over to crops for turning into bio-fuels.
According to press agency reports, the article argued that not only would people go hungry as a result of soaring demand for biofuels, but that offering developing world countries subsidies to produce ethanol would drive greater deforestation and accelerate climate change.
He added that the US government's target of using 35 billion gallons of alternative fuels by 2017 would have "sinister" consequences, claiming that the estimate of 3 million deaths was if anything "very cautious".
In the past year biofuels have become an increasingly popular mechanism for reducing carbon emissions amongst western governments. US President George Bush recently visited Brazil to secure co-operation on the development of more biofuel to meet his new alternative fuel targets, while on the other side of the Atlantic the European Union and the UK have also set targets to increase the proportion of fuel that comes from biofuels.
Many will dismiss Castro's article as yet more anti-US posturing, but it is just the latest episode in a growing backlash against biofuels.
Earlier this week, leading UK environmentalist George Monbiot called for a five year moratorium on biofuels, claiming that not only had increased demand led to an increased risk of food shortages in several countries and a doubling of the price of maize in the last year but that the environmental credentials of the fuel were also subject to serious doubt.
Citing a report from Dutch Consultancy Delft Hydraulics, Monbiot claimed that where forests are cleared for palm oil biodiesel plantations - as is increasingly the case in countries such as Indonesia – the release of CO2 from burning the trees and peat results in 33 tonnes of CO2 emissions per tonne of palm oil, or ten times more than that emitted from petroleum.
A lobby group called Biofuelwatch has launched a campaign calling on the EU to abandon its biofuel targets and rethink its alternative fuel strategy.
Advocates of biofuels meanwhile argue that reliance on maize and palm oil and other crops to generate fuel will be short lived because a second generation of more efficient bio fuels based on straw or grass or wood will be developed. But, as Monbiot argues, there is no set timeline for their emergence and numerous technical difficulties to still be overcome in their development.
Where these concerns leave businesses who have been led to believe that using biofuels to power their transport fleets is a positive, cost effective and environmentally sustainable step is unclear, particularly when western governments appear committed to supporting the growing biofuel industry and Gordon Brown only last week extended the tax rebate for biofuels until 2010.
A cynic would argue governments have backed a strategy that allows us to continue to use our vehicles while simultaneously letting the automotive and fuel industries get away with not investing as heavily in genuinely clean technologies. With these powerful lobby groups satisfied it has then either failed to think through or completely ignored the environmental and humanitarian implications of using agricultural land to power cars rather than feed people.
In contrast, supporters of biofuels will accuse the environmentalists and the old political fire brand Castro of scaremongering and attempting to scupper an embryonic green industry that does not fit their luddite agenda.
As with so many environmental debates the problem for the biofuel end user is one of who to believe.
However, regardless of who is in the right environmentally responsible firms considering using biofuels for their fleet really need to be aware of these concerns and should urgently seek independent guidance on how environmentally friendly biofuels actually are.
The last thing a firm wanting to bolster its green credentials needs is to inadvertently move to a fuel that could be ten times more polluting than petroleum and if there is any risk that this could be the case then it needs to be assessed.
In the meantime, it is worth reminding any firm with a green transport policy that the best way to cut emissions, regardless of whether you use petroleum or biofuels, is to limit journeys wherever possible.
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