Thursday, February 14, 2008


I love this story about biofuels, which came out in the last week:
Converting corn to ethanol in Iowa not only leads to clearing more of the Amazonian rainforest, researchers report, but also would do little to slow global warming.

It may often make it worse. Growing plants store carbon in their roots, shoots and leaves, which will end up as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere when cut down. And diverting food crops into fuel production also leads to ever more land clearing and has the unintended consequence of driving up food prices.
All these politicians thought they had the answer and all these farmers thought they were going to get rich. Here in Oregon, Gov. Kulongoski strongly encouraged the use of biofuels, with little analysis except for that of the bandwagon. I have been reading press releases and studies for at least three years now that showed biofuels required more energy to produce than they were good for. So this result doesn't exactly come out of the blue. Now it turns out that the situation is complex (who would have ever thought that?) and you need to think deeply and carefully. How often does our government every do that anymore?

I hope this is a lesson.

No comments: