48. Why I won’t use biofuels…

It’s crazy that the US has made biofuels a part of their energy policy… Here’s a few links to articles on why:

From George Monbiot of the Guardian:

“A recent study by the Nobel laureate Paul Crutzen shows that the official estimates have ignored the contribution of nitrogen fertilisers. They generate a greenhouse gas – nitrous oxide – which is 296 times as powerful as CO2. These emissions alone ensure that ethanol from maize causes between 0.9 and 1.5 times as much warming as petrol, while rapeseed oil (the source of over 80% of the world’s biodiesel) generates 1-1.7 times the impact of diesel(12). This is before you account for the changes in land use.”

From the New York Times:

“Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.”

From Plenty Magazine:

“A study by Swiss scientists recently found that corn ethanol – which demands significant quantities of water and energy to produce – may actually be worse for the environment than regular fossil fuels. That’s a big problem: The US is looking to massively expand its biofuel sector, and corn ethanol remains at the center of its strategy.”

So think twice before you jump on the biofuel-powered bandwagon…


Update on February 11:

An article from George Monbiot in the Guardian:

Apart from used chip fat, there is no such thing as a sustainable biofuel
Even capitalists now admit the oil crisis is real. But their solutions border on lunacy as they avoid the obvious answer”

Update on April 15:

Another article from George Monbiot:

“From this morning all sellers of transport fuel in the United Kingdom will be obliged to mix it with ethanol or biodiesel made from crops. The World Bank points out that ‘the grain required to fill the tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol … could feed one person for a year’. ” http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/apr/15/food.biofuels

Update on April 19:

Another article in the Guardian by Ian Traynor (GOOD NEWS!):

“The European commission is backing away from its insistence on imposing a compulsory 10% quota of biofuels in all petrol and diesel by 2020, a central plank of its programme to lead the world in combating climate change.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/apr/19/biofuels.food


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