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February 10, 2008

New Studies Question So-called Biofuels

This was sent to me over the weekend, describing how the production, transportation, and conversion of land involved in creation of biofuels overwhelms the benefit at the combustion end of the line. I didn't post on it at the time because the discovery that the green movement is damaging the world isn't exactly rocking mine. Still, you may be interested:

Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse-gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted — directly or indirectly, intentionally or not — in new lands being cleared for food or fuel.

"When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gases substantially," said Timothy Searchinger, lead author of one of the studies and a researcher in environment and economics at Princeton University.

Searchinger's team determined that corn-based ethanol almost doubles greenhouse-gas output over 30 years when the land-use changes to grow corn are considered. Cellulosic ethanol made in the U.S. from switchgrass, a fuel that has been singled out by President Bush as a way to reduce the country's dependence on oil, produces 50 percent more emissions than gasoline does, the study said.

The green activist who does more harm than good is a tired cliche, from the oily Greenpeace clunker-boat to the con-men who sell phoney carbon offsets. I say it's tired because this is a well-known characteristic of the earth-first type and, yet, it doesn't seem like they're all that interested in changing their image. I don't mean that it is an unfair description; rather, I'm tired of having to always mention it in the same breath as I do the latest green issue.

So it doesn't surprise me when it appears that individuals leaped to the magic solution of biofuels without giving it a thorough examination first. The real struggle will be convincing stubborn environmentalists that they were wrong about it. They have a conspiracy theorist-like tenacity to hold on to their pet projects long after they've been disproved. For example, from the article:

Industry groups, like the Renewable Fuels Association, immediately attacked the new studies as "simplistic."

"Biofuels like ethanol are the only tool readily available that can begin to address the challenges of energy security and environmental protection," said Bob Dineen, the group's director, in a statement issued after the Science reports' release.

The language "only tool readily available" should be a primary clue that this man has made up his mind and no Princeton studies are going to change it. The possibility that the sticking with conventional fuels might be better at present than adoption of green-unfriendly biofuels will not be forthcoming. I guarantee it.

h/t genghis.

In related news: Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog found this gem:

Fortunately, after years of skeptics trying to warn folks about this, the global warming folks are doing us the favor of being honest about their goals. From the catalog description for the book "The Climate Change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy."
In this provocative book, Shearman and Smith present evidence that the fundamental problem causing environmental destruction--and climate change in particular--is the operation of liberal democracy.

Go on over to Warren's place for the rest of the book description, which includes the priceless claim that "the authors conclude that an authoritarian form of government is necessary, but this will be governance by experts and not by those who seek power."

Greens crack up my whole world.

digg this
posted by Gabriel Malor at 07:16 PM

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