Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A barrel of yuan2 you2 for US$ 80!

On September 13th, the price of Crude Oil (原油 • yuan2 you2) reached the historical record (歷史紀錄 • li4 shi3 ji4 lu4) price (價格 • jia4 ge2) of 80 US Dollars (美元 • mei3 yuan2) per barrel (每桶 • mei3 tong3) at the New York Mercantile Exchange (紐約商品交易市場 • niu3yue1 shang1pin3 jiao1yi4 shi4chang3); likewise, at the London (倫惇 • lun2dun1) Commodity Exchange, it reached 77.5 US dollar per barrel. This is an "all time high", not seen since 1979 when the Iranian (伊朗 • yi1lang3) Islam (伊斯蘭 • yi1 si1 lan2) revolution (革命 • ge2 ming4) erupted.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (石油輸出國組織 • shi2 you2 shu1 chu1 guo2 zu3 zhi1) (OPEC • 歐佩克 • ou1 pei4 ke4) had already resolved (決定• jue2 ding4) to increase oil production ( 提高產量 • ti2 gao1 chan3 liang4) in order to alleviate (緩解 • huan3 jie3) the impact that the dramatic oil price increment has had on the world's economic development (經濟發展 • jing1 ji4 fa1 zhan3) but to to little or no avail. Crude oil keeps on the rise with no signs of stopping.

In view of the soaring petroleum prices, many (很多• hen3duo1) countries (國家 • guo2jia1) are seriously starting to develop biological sources of energy (開始發展生物能源 • kai1shi3 fa1zhan3 sheng1wu4 neng2yuan2). At present, Europe (歐洲 • ou1 zhou1) leads the field of biodiesel development - fuel made from natural, renewable sources, such as new and used vegetable oils and animal fats, for use in a diesel engine - while the United States and Brazil (巴西 • Ba1xi1) are at the front of the manufacture of Ethanol (乙醇• yi3 chun2)

The downside to these new developments is that they require massive amounts of raw material (原材料 • yuan2 cai2 liao4). In 2006, the US invested 42 million tons of corn (玉米• yu4 mi3) to produce ethanol. According to the global food consumption level figures, this amount of corn could fully satisfy (足可以 滿足 • zu2 ke3yi3 man3zu2) the yearly alimentary needs of at least 1.35 hundred million people!

Furthermore, experts (分析人士 • fen1 xi1 ren2 shi4) believe that the use of grain crops for the development of biofuels will undoubtedly make grain prices climb, thus generating an unwanted world-wide chain reaction (連鎖反應 • lian2 suo3 fan3 ying4) of uncontrollable product price increases.

Damned if we do; damned if we don't. We stand at a historic crossroads!

Remember that for Chinese pronunciation purposes and if using Pinyin Talker, when there are several 3rd tones in a row, all but the last one becomes a 2nd tone.

© Photographer: Gino Santa Maria | Agency: Dreamstime.com

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