Tuesday, November 6, 2007

‘Biofuels’ are a scam

What are biofuels?

Biofuels come from plants: bioethanol from sugars and starches like corn, biodiesel mainly from rapeseed and palm oil. They are blended with normal fuels, making up about 5% of the product except in the case of ethanol which is intended to comprise 85% of the fuel (‘E-85’).

Leading scientist on the subject of biofuels, Roland Clift, Professor of Environmental Technology at Surrey University, England, says that use of biofuels is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions. Clift said: “Biodiesel is a complete scam because in the tropics the growing demand is causing forests to be burnt to make way for palm oil and similar crops. “We calculate that the land will need to grow biodiesel crops for 70-300 years to compensate for the CO2 emitted in forest destruction.” Moreover, biofuel crops take land from growing food crops and create pressure for deforestation. Burning forests generates vast amounts of CO2.

If biofuels sources, like corn, are grown in preference to other crops, the end result is that the cost of other crops increases as supply diminishes and cost of products depending on the other crops, like livestock, also increase. Thus, we have the worst possible result. Expansive use of biofuels does not reduce global warming and the affect on the cost of living increases unnecessarily.

In addition, production of biodiesel from rapeseed generates large amounts of nitrous oxide – an even more powerful global warming gas than CO2.

The most efficient use of biomass is simply to burn it. Otherwise, we would need to plant an enormous land area to get enough biofuel crops to halve our emissions. Converting crops into fuel is the least efficient way of using them.

The pressure to use biofuels comes from a false belief among politicians that this is the answer to the perceived need to reduce global warming; without recognizing global warming is due to other causes than use of fossil fuels.

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