And They’re Really Not That Good for The Environment Either!
Mary Kane has a piece today on the rise of food prices and its devastating effects on the developing world. Many experts blame biofuels for the food shortage. Leaders in Peru and Bolivia, for example, have told the U.N. that biofuels are starving their people.
Until recently we’ve been told that biofuels hold the promise of curbing global warming and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. But given the amount of energy it takes to produce biofuels, and the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere by burning those fuels, some are rethinking jumping on the biofuel bandwagon.
Two scientific studies released in February said that biofuels are actually worse for the environment than gasoline.
In a previous post, I quoted NASA climate scientist Mark Chandler, who reiterated what scientists have been saying for some time. That it’s disingenuous to market biofuels as a green issue. Since Chandler really hits the nail on the head, I’ll reprint his comments:
Most people have found that biofuels have pretty close to a neutral effect on emissions, because it takes so much energy to produce an acre of corn or something like that. For the most part, biofuels [is] one of those issues where they’re sort of marketing it as a green issue, but it’s really not. It’s a dependence-on-foreign-oil issue. In other markets, it’s an excuse to continue those agricultural subsidies as well…One of the problems with biofuels, they’ve already found out, is that there’s only so much biofuel that can be produced, and when you produce it, you tend to take away from another supply, like food supply, and that tends to drive prices up.
And, because biofuels constitute limited resources, when the use of biofuels increases, their prices can rise. Actual clean energy — wind and solar power — results in an opposite effect on prices. The more those energies are used, the further the price goes down.
Mike Adams at Natural News calls biofuels "largely a government-sponsored scam." He makes some good points in his piece today:
It was one of the dumbest "green" ideas ever proposed: Convert millions of acres of cropland into fields for growing ethanol from corn, then burn fossil fuels to harvest the ethanol, expending more energy to extract the fuel than you get from the fuel itself! Meanwhile, sit back and proclaim you’ve achieved a monumental green victory (President Bush, anyone?) all while unleashing a dangerous spike in global food prices that’s causing a ripple effect of food shortages and rationing around the world.