But today, Britain became the first Western nation to announce that its biofuel production will be curbed, since it's likely causing rising food prices and rainforest destruction.
Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly announced this following the publication of the Gallagher Report, which stated that biofuels could sink 10.7 million Indians into poverty and force grain prices up in the European Union by 15 percent. Apparently, you have to tell a developed nation something two times before it listens—World Bank President Robert Zoellick decried the harms of biofuels in April, and urged the G8 nations to slow biofuel expansion again just last week.
Britain's change of heart comes in direct conflict with the EU's targets, which state that biofuels must account for 10 percent of a member nation's transportation energy by 2020. Despite biofuels' bad rap, spokesman Michael Mann said last week that the EU is sticking to its guns. The EU reasons that rising food prices are actually the result of bad weather and increased meat and dairy demands, and that the detriment of biofuels has been exaggerated. Who came up with those results—the same people in the Bush administration who said that global warming was a hoax?
Global warming may or may not prove to have been a hoax. The alarmist propaganda spewed by the likes of Al Gore is almost certainly a hoax. Those apocalyptic scenarios haven't even been supported by the UN IPCC (the official "scientific consensus" on the subject).
The alarmists are directly responsible for the panic that led to the mad rush to "solutions" such as biofuels from food. Any deaths from starvation, due to the use of food for fuel, are on Al Gore -- who has been making tens of millions of dollars spreading his pseudo-science. Perhaps now Gorebots the world over will awaken from their stupor.
Tundrasea is right. We shouldn't prepare for the worst case scenario now, we should continue to bury our heads in the sand and hope that all the scientists predicting massive climate change are just frauds who want to save humanity.
Era, what Tundra is saying is that Gore, through scare tactics, provoked people into actions that dont necessarily solve the problem.
Whether or not global warming is a real threat or not, creating a combustable fuel is no better than drilling for it. For some reason people have limited themselves to 2 choices:
1. We are drilling and exhausting what fossil fuel is left. This fuel, as we all know, pollutes the atmosphere.
2.We plow down what forests remain to grow the necessary crops for bio-fuels. These aren't clean in any way and take up massive space for little return. the only benifit over oil, is that it is renewable, in a destrucive way(why destroy land, to create fuel?)
The third option that few look at...
3.We stop funding the fuel giants, and start putting our money towards alternate and more importantly, RENEWABLE and CLEANER, sources of energy.
A few years ago this magazine was all about bio-fuels. The above article is a complete turn around, not to mention obviously politicized (see last sentence). In the future, will you be bashing algae-based fuels that were the topic of several cover stories recently? PopSci needs to start being less Popular and more Science. The increasing political bias destroys any scientific credibility of this publication, which will lead to loss of subscribers. Most of us pay for news of latest technology, not ideology.
The U.S government paid farmers not to grow crops. Atela's right, many of the "science magazines" were excited about bio fuel alternatives and pumped ethanol for all it was worth. Solar energy, wind farms, wave and ocean current farms, and algae production in the deserts seem to be the more rational approach. Cutting down rain forest to grow more sugar cane or over fertilizing fields for bio fuel production which cause massive algae blooms from run off seem to do more harm than good. A few months back, an article stated that England was considering building a couple more reactors just to meet the power demands of new HD televisions, and I think the U.S should build some more as well; but I have this hunch that it will try to figure out how to cleanly burn all of it's coal first. Congressional lobyists and some talk show hosts have the masses convinced that drilling for oil in Alaska and offshore will immediately drop the price of gas at the pump. I don't think it will, but if it does then the reduction in price will be temporary at best. All that drilling equipment costs money, a lot of money, and the cost will be passed on to consumers at the pump.
As an individual who has produced almost ALL (90%) of my home's power for the last 14 years through renewable sources, I do find the arising "conflicts" amusing. Rather than skirt around what is the ONLY issue (and the major cause of ALL problems) on earth, perhaps it should be mentioned that as long as the birthrate in India (or anywhere else) remains 6 children per woman, starvation will be an unfortunate fact of life. Certainly the rest of the world should not be held accountable for their poor choices (or those of others). Biodiesel production will remain an important factor in energy independance, no matter the political posturing.
The use of biofuels is not only feasible but allows a method of disposing of excess CO2. The problem is the use of crop and forest land to grow conventional crops for ethanol. The use of algae biodiesel which uses sunlight, water and a concentration of CO2 is both useful and productive. The use of the sequestrated CO2 from a coal burning coal plant reduces greenhouse gases and produces a high quality and sulfur free biodiesel. This can be further processed by gasification techniques into gasoline and other hydrocarbons if required.
I.M. Crawford ETHANOL FUEL IS GREAT!! Don't believe the oiligarchy lies. Go to permaculture.com, or do a net search for "Alcohol Can Be A Gas", or David Blume (I have no financial relationship with them). Properly done, ethanol actually can save
the whole rotten world, even the rotten people....like the World Bank..who loan money to the rich, who then default, and have the money paid back by the poor, who never see most of it, leaving economies and ecosystems destroyed, and then gobbled up by U.S. corporations.
Ethanol must be produced properly. In a non-corrupt system, big producers cannot compete against smaller ones. The plant matter must be made into ethanol on-site,not in big and far-away factories. The distiller then ONLY EXTRACTS THE STARCH OR SUGAR, leaving the rest of the food intact. Once again, permaculture.com will show you how to make ethanol YOURSELF or for your own farm or business, as well as how to start an ethanol fuel business and succeed.
I believe the EU is right biofuels are not the primary cause of high food prices and shortages.
Most of the anti biofuel propaganda can be traced back to oil companies who see them as a threat.
Now when corn is processed into alcohol only the sugars and starches are used the byproduct that remains makes an even better animal feed then the raw grain would have.
The distillery grains also have higher protein so in countries like the UK they don't have to use animal protein supplements which are known to cause mad cow.
The only biofuel I know that can be blamed for rain forest destruction is canola palm oil.
I also know that biofuels are not a total solution and must be used with solar,geothermo,nuclear, and hydro energy sources as well as other alternative vehicles fuels such as compressed CNG which can be made from trash hydrogen, and EVs.
1)- First of all, not all biofuels are created equal, and to assume that all come from "plowing down the rainforest is absolute hogwash." Ruri, you are a moron, as there is no such thing as "canola palm oil."
2)- Secondly, if you look at where the anti-biofuel propaganda is coming from, it is the Big Oil lobbyists. Exxon made $41 billion last year in PROFIT! And we are giving them subsidies? WTF?
3)- The diesel engine is the greatest engine ever created, and the original engine invented by Rudolf Diesel in the late 1800's still runs today! And, it was run off of pure 100% peanut oil, as he envisioned a local infrastructure where the farmer is able to fill his own tractor. Sadly, Mr. Diesel "fell overboard" in the middle of the English Channel on his way to the World Fair to show off his awesome engine to the world. Coincidently, Standard Oil CO. came out with Diesel Fuel shortly thereafter made out of petroleum...we have been duped for years people. Also, the original Model-T Ford was capable of running on 100% ethanol, and also coincidently enough, it was right about this time that Prohibition started. Ethanol is an alcohol FYI.
4)- I am not trying to be an Eco Righteous dickhead, I'm merely trying to get the word out to the world. The diesel engine is not going anywhere! Busses, trains, firetrucks, semi trucks, ambulances, shipping vessels, all construction equipment and all farm equipment are DIESEL engines! It is the backbone of the world, and even though there are some biofuel practices that may not be sustainable, the future surely holds great advances in biofuel technology. Algae is coming...please support it.
5)- Supporting drilling offshore, and in ANWR is like giving a coke-head one more line on their way to rehab. The USA only has 3% of the worlds' oil reserves, yet we consume 25% of the oil in the world! We are addicted to oil.
6)- Don't buy bottled water, styrofoam, or plastic bags at the store as these are all petroleum products and cannot be recycled.
7)- Conserve Conserve Conserve! We are not doomed, in fact we are far from it. Just look at the advances in the iPod, as the technology is here, we just need to completely admit and commit to boycotting all petroleum products. We can make everything we get from petroleum out of renewable sources, like algae.
I have faith in humanity, and with an Apollo Energy Project, the USA will once again become the dominant Superpower in the world.
@ everybody who thinks biofuels are OK:
As of right now, THEY AREN'T. I have 2 very strong facts to back my opinion.
1. In rural farming areas, immediately after biofuels became popular, the price of wheat and corn went from $2/ bushel to $20-$40/ bushel. This raise was almost identical to the flow chart in biofuel popularity.
2. It takes more greenhouse gases to produce than the amount it saves.
Now, I'm not saying that within a year they will have enough cellulosic ethanol (using the chaff and stalk of the wheat, corn, and soybeans) plants to cancel these things out, but right now, Biofuel is doing more harm than help, and they need to stop producing until they make more cellulosic ethanol plants.
On the other oil "problems":
Yes, the government sucks right now. They are too stupid to realize that we have a lot of oil that isn't being drilled for. Not only that, but oil is constantly regenerating! Not as renewable as the sun and wind, but there is and always will be decomposing organic material being compressed and converting into fuel. Oil is very much a renewable fuel source, and we need to stop listening to green peace commies telling us that oil drilling is killing polar bears and fireworks "startle birds".
If we want to become the global superpower again, we NEED to drill for oil. Venezuela does that, and guess how much gasoline costs for them? 12 cents a gallon. We need to use what we have if we are to become independent again. Yes, biofuels are the future of cheap diesel. And until tech improves, they need to stay the future.
And yes, global warming IS a hoax. The UN even did a study and proved Gore's claims false (Temperature rising rapidly) and that the temperature has actually only gone up 1 degree Celsius in the past century.
It is only fair to note that the research done by U.S. experts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown that biofuels-related feedstock demand play only a small role in global food supply and pricing. And with gas prices soaring to more than $4 a gallon for American families, the addition of biofuels to our fuel supply is one of the only things keeping prices from going higher.
Click on the link to the World Bank president's comments in this story. You will see that he points to growing populations, changing diets, rising energy prices, and climate change as other factors in the food supply. In fact, in his more recent letter to G8 leaders on the topic, he doesn't mention biofuels at all, but rather discusses export bans and energy prices.
Worldwide, the estimated increase in the price of soybeans and soybean oil would increase the global food commodity price index by 1-2 percent. In the U.S., according to the Department of Energy and USDA, food prices have increased by about 4.8 percent. Of that increase, ethanol and biodiesel consumption accounted for only 4 or 5 percent while other factors accounted for 95-96 percent of the increase.
Let’s keep this in perspective. Last year, the U.S. biodiesel industry used only 12% of U.S. soybean production and 4% of global soybean production to produce fuel. Of that, 81% of each soybean was protein that still entered the market for either human consumption or animal feed. Technological advances are also on the horizon to increase soybean yields from existing acreage. In addition, the biodiesel industry is aggressively using or developing other sources for biodiesel – such as restaurant grease, animal fat, corn oil derived from ethanol production, camelina, and algae.
The U.S. has set reasonable, attainable goals with its Renewable Fuels Standard. This is good federal policy with goals that our industry can comfortably meet, and which will benefit our nation’s economy, energy security and environment.
orange, I was wondering if you can help me out...
Can you explain why you think global warming is a hoax? I find nothing in the scientific research that makes me think it is a hoax. No scientist in a reconized journal to the best of my knowledge has said globalwarming is a nonissue. Now i'm not talking about gore worlds gunna burn stuff, but reconized solid research that concludes global warming is a very serious issue and that yes 1 degree has a huge impact.
So please, enlighten me because I'm obviously missing something.
"oil is constantly regenerating! Not as renewable as the sun and wind, but there is and always will be decomposing organic material being compressed and converting into fuel."
Are you serious? Are you going to live for a million years? That's about how long it takes to "regenerate." You really, really scare me with your outlook on the world. Opening up ANWR and offshore drilling is not going to do anything beneficial for the USA in the long term. You are avoiding the real problem that we are addicted to oil! Open your eyes! If we were to launch an Apollo scale energy project we could be completely energy independent, and then we could export our clean technology to other developing countries.
Just keep telling yourself that oil is "renewable" as you drive your Tahoe down the road...good luck when gas is $20/gallon.
Soon we'll be able to turn idiots like you into liquid fuel...
Whether biofuels cause food shortages or not is an important topic but even if it turns out that they are not responsible biofuels would be a very poor replacement for fossil fuels.
The main goal after all is to find cleaner fuels not necessarily cheaper fuels and biofuels fail miserably in that category.
Who says the rising cost of food is exactly a horrible thing? So we have another source of clean energy, and we're fighting obesity! Want to further cut down on fuel use? Ride a bike.
These rising costs to meet our "needs" are such blessings in disguise.