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Biofuels may threaten environment, U.N. warns

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posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 11:24 AM

Biofuels may threaten environment, U.N. warns

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.

Full Story from CNN

So what are your thoughts? I've been on an anti-biofuel campaign for awhile now. This story hits most of the issues I often cite:

Soil nutrient depletion,
Copious water consumption,
Chemical fertilizer dependancy with run-off to surface waters,
Affect on food stuffs and prices,
Vulnerability to climate, weather, and pest damage,
Net energy balance issues (much higher percentage of energy goes into biofuel production than into oil production)

My solution to world energy needs and global climate change issues...

Short term - Build nuclear power plants...alot of them.

Long term - Start a modern day Manhattan project to develop clean abundant energy: fussion or solar (space based collectors with microwave transmission to ground) or even conductor transfer to ground through new materials technology. Work has been ongioing in this area for years...superconductivity, space elevator technology, orbital tether experiments etc.

What does everyone else think about this bio-fuel situation?

[edit on 1/23/2008 by darkbluesky]

posted on Jan, 23 2008 @ 11:55 AM

Originally posted by darkbluesky
What does everyone else think about this bio-fuel situation?

I have to admit that I overlooked the highly negative impact of bio-fuels in the past.

I would definitely agree that an emergency project should be started to fully exploit solar and wind energy. With the money we are spending in Iraq, we could have already had a fully renewable energy environment.

posted on Jan, 27 2008 @ 04:28 AM
reply to post by darkbluesky

It did not mention making bio diesel from tallow? What negative effects does that have on the environment?

posted on Jan, 28 2008 @ 06:05 AM
that's the problem, at first, unanimous support, then a rude awakening, followed by a pea to 'go nuclear'. has it ever occured to you that this was the plan from the very beginning? i mean all the windmills in the world will sometimes stand still, requiring backup plants, which were simply left out of the equation, same for solar works only at night, and so on. there are promising developments, if these could be put to good use, not doing so would be foolish.

that said, there are instances where biofuels are OK if they are derived from inevitable waste products, can hold their own economically and don't harm the local environment.

the last point cannot be stressed enough, f-ex. it might be viable to burn wood on an industrial scale if you have plenty of lumbermills in a given area, which are producing sawdust and splinters in abundance anyway, while most of the time, such a practice isn't sustainable and implies deforestation. iow you need to use what you have and understand the limitations.


[edit on 28.1.2008 by Long Lance]

posted on Feb, 11 2008 @ 03:20 AM

They didn't always account for the energy that would be needed to grow, harvest and refine the fuels. Most importantly, they didn't consider that greenhouse gas-gobbling vegetation would need to be cleared for fuel crops -- or, if these were planted on existing pastures, that new fields would be cleared to make space for displaced food crops.

Put these factors in the equation, and biofuels don't do much good at all. The first study, led by Princton University environmental law researcher Timothy Searchinger, found that replacing fossil fuels with corn-based ethanol -- the darling of the U.S. biofuel industry -- would double greenhouse gas emissions for the next thirty years. Even switchgrass, seen as a far more efficient alternative, would produce a 50% bump in emissions.

good thing is that i'm not overly concerned about CO2 emissions per se, but you'll have to admit it flies right in the face of several lobby groups.

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