Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bush goes bio

Newspaper reports claim that there are signs at last that the White House is taking the environment seriously. This week President Bush was in Brazil to discuss the new ethanol economy - road fuel manufactured from plants. To me this seems more of a realisation that fossil oil is running out, rather than a desire to use "green" fuels. There are serious doubts in any case over whether biofuels are truly green. While the plants used for biofuels do absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, they do not absorb all the co2 released by the whole growth/harvest/processingrefining/use cycle. Some say that the energy input is greater than the energy content of the biofuel produced. Land used for fuel crops displaces food crops, or in some cases displaces rainforest. Cutting down the rainforest releases carbon dioxide and so removes part of the largest co2 absorber in the world. Growing fuel crops instead of food means poorer nations may go hungry.

The signs are that fossil fuel shortages -Peak Oil- are just around the corner. There will never be enough biofuel to replace all the oil we now use. It's a good plan to plan to use less. At least you'll save money and it won't hurt as much when shortages really bite!

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