Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Don't Play With Your Food

Chalk another one up for LTG and RbR. LTG wrote a lengthy post Fuel and Biofuel just a few weeks ago about the deleterious effects of the biofuels market on developing countries. RbR raised environmental, economic, and political concerns in a series of posts starting mid-2006: Alternative Fuels Bush Style, Just Say No to Biofuels, and most recently Bush, Big Oil, Big Auto, Big Ag and Ethanol.

Well, now two of the most comprehensive studies of their kind confirm all of LTG's and RbR's predictions and go even farther: in addition to any other disruptions they may cause, corn- and soy-based biofuels are also just plain bad for global warming. Not only do we burn more energy to grow the corn and soy in the first place, but because we are converting U.S. cropland to the purpose of fuel, we buy up food supplies from developing nations, which then must clear-cut the rainforest to grow the food they need for themselves. Thank you, WTO.

All told, corn- and soy-based biofuels are estimated by this study to release something like twice as much carbon as gasoline. Unfortunately, these are by far the most well-developed biofuel technologies, but biofuels based on native, non-edible plants that do not displace crops or forest (e.g. the infamous switchgrass) is still a decent bet. It just won't make many midwest farmers or corporate fat cats particularly happy. And it just goes to show that we really shouldn't mess with the food supply while people are going hungry.

1 comment:

Dr. Strangelove said...

To clarify, this post was sincere, not in any way sarcastic.