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Recent studies point out that the cost to grow and produce biofuels is worse for the planet than gasoline

Two studies published in the journal Science shed some light into the overall cost of biofuels. Taken into account is not only the greenhouse emissions generated by burning biofuels but all of the emissions generated when producing biofuels.

According to one article the estimated impact of using corn based ethanol is double the amount of greenhouse emissions currently being produced by gasoline over a 30 year time span. An alternative method of ethanol production using switchgrass is estimated to increase emissions by a whopping 50 percent.

With governments around the world pushing to establish hard mandates on the use of biofuels and other renewable methods of energy production, we could be setting ourselves up to cause more harm than good. The U.S. Congress has set a target to raise the use of biofuels from 7.5 billion gallons to 36 billion gallons by 2022. That’s a 480 percent increase. That would push greenhouse gas production in the U.S. up by an order of magnitude.

At the same time, in order to produce these biofuels, farmland is cleared for the growth of ethanol-reliant crops. Clearing land for farming has a cost in greenhouse emissions, as does growing and harvesting these crops. Add that in to the cost of refining and burning these crops and we are generating far more emissions than simply using gasoline and oil.

Scientists in the U.S. and Europe have written letters to their respective governments warning them that biofuels in their current form will only exacerbate the production of greenhouse emissions and push the world further towards climate change.

The United Nations stated it wants to continue with the production of biofuels and reap any potential benefits. The organization admitted however that biofuels are not the silver bullet they were led to believe.

Dr. Searchinger is advocating a switch in gears for the production of biofuels. The use of organic waste in the production of biofuels would get around the problem of clearing and farming previously unused lands which cause so much of the greenhouse emissions that hold back any potential benefits of using biofuels. Using organic waste could also be well on it’s way to becoming a reality thanks to recent breakthroughs in this field.



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By Tacoloft on 2/13/2008 5:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
Tax is never a great solution...unless you are Dictator. And you are insane if you want to increase tax on fuel to drive it to $5-6 a gallon to force people into a supposedly "green" machine when all you are really doing is empowering those companies that are making all of the supposedly "green" hardware in the first place. It is in fact GE's and other companies best interest to get you the "carbon sinner" to buy new green products-- because they MAKE and SELL those products! Follow the money and you will see the truth.

I just wish that these companies would come clean and say" We want to biuld and sell more efficient products - not because of being green (which is BS) but because there is better technology that will do the same thing- plain and simple.
My solution to this would be to let investors and inventors go crazy and that if a company has patented something there is a time limit to in fact prove and put into production that patent-- if the company cannot within the specified time frame then it goes to the next in line who can claim to use the patent to the benifit of mankind. The ideas are out there but the damn lawyers and PC community have most hands tied...


"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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