8 Feb 2008, 2:16pm
Latest Climate News
by admin

UN Warns of Biofuels’ Environmental Risk

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — The world’s rush to embrace biofuels is causing a spike in the price of corn and other crops and could worsen water shortages and force poor communities off their land, a U.N. official said Wednesday.

Speaking at a regional forum on bioenergy, Regan Suzuki of the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization acknowledged that biofuels are better for the environment than fossil fuels and boost energy security for many countries.

However, she said those benefits must be weighed against the pitfalls — many of which are just now emerging as countries convert millions of acres to palm oil, sugar cane and other crops used to make biofuels…

Foremost among the concerns is increased competition for agricultural land, which Suzuki warned has already caused a rise in corn prices in the United States and Mexico and could lead to food shortages in developing countries.

She also said China and India could face worsening water shortages because biofuels require large amounts of water, while forests in Indonesia and Malaysia could face threats from the expansion of palm oil plantations… [more]

8 Feb 2008, 3:48pm
by Chauncy


Of course, we have all felt the pain of raising food prices, not to mention increased fuel costs.

But this article misses the bigger story:

Biofuel crops increase carbon emissions

By Alan Zarembo

http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-sci-biofuel8feb08,1,7253036.story

The rush to grow biofuel crops — widely embraced as part of the solution to global warming — is actually increasing greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them, according to two studies published Thursday in the journal Science.

Well, this is certainly a nice turn of events. Our esteemed governor, his Royal Liberalship, has just mandated ethanol be added to ALL gasoline in Oregon. Its coming to my town by April.

Not only will the Governor’s mandate lower my mileage per gallon, clog my fuel injectors, cost more per gallon, and increase taxes collected by the State, but will lead to the release of MORE greenhouse gas!

The abstract of the first study cited in the news article says,

Increasing energy use, climate change, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels make switching to low-carbon fuels a high priority. Biofuels are a potential low-carbon energy source, but whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food-based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a “biofuel carbon debt” by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions these biofuels provide by displacing fossil fuels. In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials incur little or no carbon debt and offer immediate and sustained GHG advantages.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747v1

The abstract of the second study says,

Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. Using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1151861v1

That’s right folks! Its going to take 167 years before CO2 emissions stop increasing. I am hopeful that we will have developed a better fuel source by then, maybe running our cars on the hot air being released by the wackos like Algore and his ilk.

Actually, I, for one, would be happy to have a little warming right now. With 12 feet of snow accumulating in Detroit, OR, requiring the National Guard to come dig them out, I am kinda cold right now. Making the Willamette Valley more like Hawaii would be a welcome change, and save me a lot of money I spend on airfare getting to the tropics!

It just goes to show ya, the emotional rush to save the planet from imagined threats before looking at the science causes more harm than good.

We have to tend our gardens and forests and listen to real scientists, not those trying to lead us down the path of global communism.

I gotta go turn up the heater, its cold in here!

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