Monday, April 14, 2008

There is this Scientist, this Leftist, and this Ageing Hippy Tree Hugger…

and they all agree that ethanol is a bad idea.

OK, OK, I know. Enough is enough. I may be beating a dead horse. If you love ethanol there is no use confusing you with facts. I am going to shut up about it, at least for a while. Simply to point out that it is not just us right-wing reactionaries who think ethanol is a bad Ideal, I am posting links to three articles that make that point. The first is Science Magazine, the second is Mother Jones, and the last is Whole Earth News.

Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt
Joseph Fargione,1 Jason Hill,2,3 David Tilman,2* Stephen Polasky,2,3 Peter Hawthorne2

Increasing energy use, climate change, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels make switching to low-carbon fuels a high priority. Biofuels are a potential low-carbon energy source, but whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop–based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a "biofuel carbon debt" by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels. Science Magazine (link)

The Ethanol Effect: When Alternative Fuels Go Bad Why corn-based fuel isn't our miracle cure for oil dependency.
Cameron Scott November 2007

"everything about ethanol is good, good, good," crows Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, echoing the conventional wisdom that corn-based ethanol will help us kick the oil habit, line the pockets of farmers, and usher in a new era of guilt-free motoring. But despite the wishes of Iowans (and the candidates courting them) the "dot-corn bubble" is too good to be true. Mother Jones (link)

The Ups and Downs of Ethanol Fuel
By Laura Evers

So what’s wrong with ethanol?

The first and foremost problem with today’s ethanol is it comes from corn, one of the most prominent food crops worldwide. Growing a crop for both food and fuel is problematic because the increased demand for the food crop leads to higher food prices. This, among other factors, has caused worldwide corn and grain production to struggle to keep up and prices have risen to record levels.

But that’s not all that pops the argument for corn-derived ethanol:
Mother Earth News (link)

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1 comment:

  1. The subsidization of ethanol production is a terrible idea. We can thank environmentalists for this bad idea. Interesting to note that even liberal economist Paul Krugman has written against ethanol.