Friday, March 9, 2007

Are biofuels really the answer?

We should be very concerned about the Bush administration's advocation of ethanol and other biofuels in the absence of an understanding of the environmental and social impacts. The amount of sugar cane or corn that will be needed to help supplement the U.S. desire for energy will be vast. The possible loss of critical habitats, species, and effects on people need to be investigated before we get too far down this road...

This from

Even as Roy Masters was talking about generating energy from gravity, George W. Bush was cutting a deal with President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil to use ethanol. It made about as much sense. We've been through this before: Brazil makes ethanol from sugar cane. We grown corn. Corn is food. The diversion of food to fuel, even at today's trivial level, has already inflated the price of corn in Mexico, sending Mexicans north for better paying jobs. Toxic waste from fermentation of sugar cane is dumped in the Amazon. We don't have an Amazon. Because the energy balance is precarious, sugar cane must be harvested in Brazil by hand. That condemns vast numbers of laborers to serfdom. We don't have serfs - yet. What we do have is lots of people who are capable of running the numbers for the President to see if ethanol is any kind of a solution. None of these people seem to be in the White House.

No comments: