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The Danger of Biofuel

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  • FORTUNATO
    replied
    Petroleum industry fumes after being blamed for biofuel chaos

    Thanks God there are clever people in Germany :-) Fortunato

    Chaos reigns at Germany's gas stations as drivers refuse to buy the new biofuel E10 for fear of ruining their engines. Meanwhile, government and industry are blaming each other for the fiasco of misinformation.
    It's more than just teething troubles. The chaos surrounding the introduction of the new biofuel E10 to replace conventional Super Plus has resulted in fear and suspicion on Germany's roads.

    Many drivers prefer the old gas, even though it costs up to eight euro cents (11 US cents) more per liter, for fear that E10, with its high ethanol content, will damage their engines.

    E10 is safe for 93 percent of all cars registered in Germany and 99 percent of all German-made cars. But that has apparently done little to reassure drivers, 70 percent of whom are sticking to what they know.

    Apart from concerns over the 10 percent ethanol, E10 is also less efficient, somewhat negating the price advantage.

    The Association of the German Petroleum Industry (MWV) supposedly announced that E10 would not be delivered to any further gas stations, meaning that around half of Germany's 15,000 service stations would not supply the new fuel. The association, however, denied having made such an annoucement, only adding to the general confusion.

    Blame game

    Germany's Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen heavily criticized the fuel industry for not properly advertising E10 at gas stations. "The confusion that the petroleum industry has created is unacceptable," he fumed
    The German automobile association ADAC has thrown its support behind the minister. “The petroleum industry alone is responsible for the chaos that followed the introduction of E10,” said ADAC spokesman Maxi Hartung. “For there to be absolutely no information available on a newly-introduced product is the wrong approach.”

    The introduction of the new fuel mix follows an EU directive that says the percentage of biofuel in petroleum must be raised to lessen Europe's oil dependency. The German Environment Ministry is now implementing the plan and industry is struggling to comply.

    "The law says that the consumer must use E10 as of now," said MWV head Klaus Picard. "That's why we're doing everything we can to achieve that."

    MWV has reacted strongly to the suggestion that the industry is dragging its heels. "The petroleum industry is doing all it can to hit the government's biofuel targets," the association said in a statement said. "This brings a lot of effort and cost with it. We are taking the task of educating drivers very seriously, but at the end of the day, the information about the compatibility of vehicles to the new fuel can only be offered by car manufacturers."

    Other measures, more pressures

    The statement then continued with a list of MWV efforts to inform the public, including flyers, signs and hotlines - and some excuses. "The production capacity of the refineries and the number of fuel storage tanks at the refineries, the depots and especially the gas stations are generally limited," it said. "The operators are being asked to execute the directive with the existing production plants within the existing infrastructure."

    MWV believes that the refineries are being put under huge government pressure to implement the directive. "Under normal circumstances, we would stop and withdraw a product that is experiencing such huge aversion from customers," Picard said. "But you have to be clear: This is not a normal market but a massive interference from the state."

    The surplus of E10 and the shortage of Super Plus have created economic problems that can't easily be resolved. Many refineries in Germany have now switched their production to E10, which can only be sold in the domestic market, since other countries use other chemical compositions in their fuel.

    But ADAC is not forgiving, particularly since it believes that some 3 million car drivers can't use the new biofuel and are thus forced to buy the more expensive conventional fuel. "ADAC is therefore calling on the petroleum companies to offer an affordable Super fuel E5 as an alternative," it said in a statement, which also called for the Super E5 to be imported from neighboring countries like France.

    Do it the French way
    So far, France is the only other European Union country to have introduced E10, and it appears to have phased in the biofuel with relatively little friction.

    France introduced E10 in April 2009, its third biofuel. In addition, the French government publishes a list of biofuel-compatible car models, which it regularly updates.

    Other countries, by comparison, are rolling out the new fuel more slowly. Britain, for example, will introduce E4 (with only 4 percent ethanol) in April, followed by E5 at the end of the year. And it remains to be seen when and if the country will introduce E10.

    German drivers, it appears, will have to get used to E10 more quickly. "We know that customers generally refuel once every two weeks," Picard said. "So we have to do everything we can to make sure they've called their manufacturers and asked whether their car is E10-compatible by the next refuelling wave."

    Author: Ben Knight
    Edit: John Blau

    Leave a comment:


  • amalgamate
    replied
    God to a man on judgement day: "Did you ever use biofuel in your car"

    man: "yes"

    God: that's a -1

    God: Did you watch Mickey Mouse as a kid ?

    man: "yes"

    God: that's a -3, you have a -4 now.

    God: Did you vote repubican or democrat on the last elections.

    man: "Democrat" God: Go Obama! that's a plus 5. Congratulations you barely passed, welcome to paradise.

    Leave a comment:


  • amalgamate
    replied


    Saudi scholar warns alcohol in bio fuel is a sin

    DUBAI (AlArabiya.net)

    A prominent Saudi scholar warned youths studying abroad of using ethanol or other fuel that contains alcohol in their cars since they could be committing a sin, local press reported Thursday.

    Sheikh Mohamed Al-Najimi, member of the Saudi Islamic Jurisprudence Academy, based his statement on a saying by the prophet that prohibited all kinds of dealings with alcohol including buying, selling, carrying, serving, drinking, and manufacturing, the Saudi newspaper Shams reported Thursday.

    Saudi and Muslim youth studying abroad would violate the prohibition if they used bio fuel, he said, since it “is basically made up of alcohol.”

    Majimi stressed that his statement should not be considered an official fatwa, but is rather a personal opinion. He noted that this is an important issue that needs to be studied by the relevant religious bodies.

    Bio fuel is becoming increasingly popular in the West for its relatively low price and as an environmentally-friendly source of energy..

    In the past few years, millions of organic-fuel cars have been manufactured in Europe, the United States, Brazil, China, and India.

    Bio fuel is derived from recently dead biological material. Bio fuel is manufactured by growing plants that are high in sugar, like sugar cane or sugar beet, or high in starch, like maize. The sugar or starch is then converted into cellular energy by using yeast fermentation to produce ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, which is also found in alcoholic beverages.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest 123
    replied

    February 2, 2009 -- Some biofuels cause more health problems than petrol and diesel, according to scientists who have calculated the health costs associated with different types of fuel.

    The study shows that corn-based bioethanol, which is produced extensively in the US, has a higher combined environmental and health burden than conventional fuels. However, there are high hopes for the next generation of biofuels, which can be made from organic waste or plants grown on marginal land that is not used to grow foods. They have less than half the combined health and environmental costs of standard gasoline and a third of current biofuels.

    The work adds to an increasing body of research raising concerns about the impact of modern corn-based biofuels.

    Several studies last year showed that growing corn to make ethanol biofuels was pushing up the price of food. Environmentalists have highlighted other problems such deforestation to clear land for growing crops to make the fuels. The UK government's renewable fuels advisors recommended slowing down the adoption of biofuels until better controls were in place to prevent inadvertent climate impacts.

    Using computer models developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the researchers found the total environmental and health costs of gasoline are about 71 cents (50p) per gallon, while an equivalent amount of corn-ethanol fuel has associated costs of 72 cents to $1.45, depending on how it is produced.

    The next generation of so-called cellulosic bioethanol fuels costs 19 cents to 32 cents, depending on the technology and type of raw materials used. These are experimental fuels made from woody crops that typically do not compete with conventional agriculture. The results are published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    "The dialogue so far on biofuels has been pretty much focused on greenhouse gases alone," said David Tilman, a professor at the department of ecology, evolution and behaviour at the University of Minnesota. "And yet we felt there were many other impacts that were positive or negative not being included. We wanted to expand the analysis from greenhouse gases to at least one other item and we chose health impacts."

    The health problems caused by conventional fuels are well studied and stem from soot particles and other pollution produced when they are burned. With biofuels, the problems are caused by particles given off during their growth and manufacture.

    "Corn requires nitrogen fertilisers and some of that comes on as ammonia, which is volatilised into the air," said Tilman. "The ammonia particles are charged and they attract fine dust particles. They stick together and form particles of the size of 2.5 micron and that has significant health impacts. Some of this gets blown by prevailing winds into areas of higher population density – that's where you have the large number of people having the health impact which raises the cost."

    Health problems from biofuels and gasoline include increased cases of heart disease, respiratory symptoms, asthma, chronic bronchitis or premature death. The team has calculated the economic costs associated with these. "For the economy, it's the loss of good, productive workers who might otherwise have been able to contribute," said team member Jason Hill, an economist at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment.

    "These costs are not paid for by those who produce, sell and buy gasoline or ethanol. The public pays these costs," said Dr Stephen Polasky, an economist at the University of Minnesota, also part of the team.

    A report published last year by Ed Gallagher, the head of the government's Renewable Fuels Agency, suggested that the introduction of biofuels to the UK should be slowed until more effective controls were in place to prevent the inadvertent rise in greenhouse gas emissions caused by, for example, the clearance of forests to make way for their production.

    His report said that if the displacements were left unchecked, current targets for biofuel production could cause a global rise in greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in poverty in the poorest countries by 2020.

    Gallagher also suggested the government should introduce incentives to promote the production of next-generation biofuels of the type studied by the Minnesota researchers. So-called cellulosic ethanol can be made from plants such as switchgrass or jatropha that can grow with very little fertiliser on poor land, but the technology to convert these plants into fuels is in its early stages.

    Tilman said society needed to make the transition away from corn-based ethanol as soon as possible.

    "We've gone one step further than the work that only looked at greenhouse gases and found some surprisingly large effects. Before we dedicate major resources to new biofuels, we should be trying to quantify other likely impacts to society – water quality, biodiversity and so on – and put all of those into our analysis." He hopes this will encourage society to make "a long-term commitment to the right biofuel".

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  • Guest 123
    replied

    Samedi 26 Juillet 2008 -- La croisade du président de l'Opep contre le bioéthanol continue. Chakib Khelil a accusé, samedi 26 juillet, lors d'une conférence de presse à Alger, le nouveau carburant d'être en partie à l'origine de la flambée des prix de l'essence dans les pays occidentaux. « Le bioéthanol coûte très cher. Il est mélangé à l'essence dans les raffineries et les automobilistes paient directement les surcoûts dus à sa production », a expliqué M. Khelil en marge de la présentation des 45 blocs d'hydrocarbures objet d'un appel d'offres lancé début juillet par Alnaft (Agence nationale de valorisation des hydrocarbures).

    Le président de l'Opep critiques régulièrement à l’utilisation du bioéthanol, en réponse aux reproches européens et américains sur le cartel pétrolier concernant sa responsabilité dans la flambée des prix du brut. Les grands pays consommateurs de pétrole demandent à l'Opep d'augmenter sa production de pétrole pour faire baisser les prix de l'or noir qui ont atteint des sommets cette année jusqu'à 147 dollars le baril. Mais pour l’Opep, l'offre de pétrole est largement suffisante pour couvrir la demande mondiale en la matière.

    Le bioéthanol, un éthanol d'origine biologique et agricole, est également sous le feu des critiques de la part des pays en développement et des pays pauvres. Ils l'accusent d'être responsable de la crise alimentaire mondiale actuelle. La production du bioéthanol se fait en effet au détriment des cultures destinées à l'alimentation humaine. Le bioéthanol qui est considéré comme un carburant propre est produit principalement au Brésil et aux Etats-Unis.

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  • Guest 123
    replied

    WASHINGTON, July 6, 2008 (MarketWatch) -- The price of petroleum will continue to rise because of ethanol, the weak dollar and political tensions, the oil cartel's president was quoted as saying Sunday.

    "The price of oil will rise again in the coming weeks," Chakib Khelil - the Algerian energy minister and currently president of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries - said in an interview with an Algerian newspaper. "We have to follow the evolution of the dollar, because a 1% fall in the dollar means $4 more on the price of oil

    Khelil said the weak dollar and geopolitical worries are responsible for 60% of the rise in crude prices, but also said that "the intrusion of bioethanol on the market" was alone responsible for the other 40%.

    He didn't explain why more ethanol would drive crude prices higher, but said the dollar's decline was because the Federal Reserve had kept interest rates low.

    Khelil repeated his view that a lack of supply is not the problem.

    "As producer countries, we think that the current supply is sufficient, that this balance in supply is in everybody's interests and that it shouldn't be disturbed, because the current rise in oil prices is in nobody's interest," he said, according to media accounts.

    Khelil said petroleum production had been limited by Western investment embargoes on Libya and Iran, and by the war in Iraq.

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  • Guest 123
    replied
    Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

    Samedi 5 juillet 2008 -- Le développement des biocarburants a provoqué une hausse des prix des produits alimentaires de 75% depuis 2002. Cette information, gardée top secret par la Banque mondiale, a été diffusée, hier, par le quotidien britannique The Guardian, repris par l’APS. Le journal a fait référence à des extraits d’un rapport de la BM, achevé en avril dernier. Lequel rapport est resté lettre morte dans les tiroirs de l’institution de Bretton-Woods, de crainte de provoquer la colère du gouvernement américain qui entretenait le chiffre de 3% de croissance du fait des biocarburants. Le rapport devrait avoir l’effet d’une bombe, à trois jours de l’ouverture du G8 au Japon. Depuis 2002 jusqu’en février de l’année en cours, une progression de l’ordre de 140% d’un panier de prix alimentaires a été enregistrée, se référant au même rapport. Rédigée par un économiste de la Banque mondiale, en l’occurrence Don Mitchell, cette étude a conclu également que « la hausse des prix de l’énergie et des engrais a contribué à une hausse de seulement 15%, tandis que les biocarburants ont contribué à une hausse de 75% sur cette période ». Ce rapport de la Banque mondiale, faut-il le préciser, va notamment à contre-courant des affirmations du président américain George W. Bush, selon lesquelles la croissance de la demande chinoise et indienne est un facteur de hausse des prix alimentaires.

    Mais le Président américain n’a, toutefois, jamais bifurqué sur la question des biocarburants et un éventuel impact sur les prix des produits alimentaires. « L’augmentation rapide des revenus des pays en développement n’a pas débouché sur une hausse importante de la consommation mondiale de céréales et n’a pas été un facteur important de hausse des prix », indique le rapport de la BM, cité par The Guardian. Des sécheresses en Australie n’ont pas, non plus, eu un impact significatif, estime le rapport, mais c’est l’utilisation croissante de biocarburants en Europe et aux Etats-Unis qui a eu la plus grande influence sur les prix. Dans un autre rapport, publié hier également par la FAO et l’OCDE, il est mentionné que la progression de la demande de biocarburants entraîne une mutation radicale des marchés agricoles.

    Cette mutation est susceptible d’induire une hausse des prix mondiaux de nombreux produits agricoles. L’étude de la Banque mondiale précise dans le même sillage que « sans l’augmentation (du recours) aux biocarburants, les stocks mondiaux de blé et maïs n’auraient pas baissé autant et les hausses de prix causées par d’autres facteurs auraient été plus modérées ». Le même rapport ajoute que la course aux biocarburants a créé des distorsions sur le marché alimentaire en détournant une partie des céréales vers les carburants au détriment de l’alimentation, et alimentant une spéculation financière sur le marché des céréales. Exemple : Aux Etats-Unis, un tiers du blé récolté est utilisé pour la production d’éthanol. Peut-on conclure donc que la demande des pays émergents n’est pas d’un impact aussi important que celui des biocarburants sur la hausse des prix ?

    Leave a comment:


  • FORTUNATO
    replied
    Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis | Environment | The Guardian

    Secret report: biofuel caused food crisisInternal World Bank study delivers blow to plant energy drive

    Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

    The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

    The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

    Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

    "It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House," said one yesterday.

    The news comes at a critical point in the world's negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.

    It will also put pressure on the British government, which is due to release its own report on the impact of biofuels, the Gallagher Report. The Guardian has previously reported that the British study will state that plant fuels have played a "significant" part in pushing up food prices to record levels. Although it was expected last week, the report has still not been released.

    "Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises," said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam. "It is imperative that we have the full picture. While politicians concentrate on keeping industry lobbies happy, people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat."

    Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as "the first real economic crisis of globalisation".

    President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: "Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases."

    Even successive droughts in Australia, calculates the report, have had a marginal impact. Instead, it argues that the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.

    Since April, all petrol and diesel in Britain has had to include 2.5% from biofuels. The EU has been considering raising that target to 10% by 2020, but is faced with mounting evidence that that will only push food prices higher.

    "Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February. The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.

    It argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways. First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production. Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.

    Other reviews of the food crisis looked at it over a much longer period, or have not linked these three factors, and so arrived at smaller estimates of the impact from biofuels. But the report author, Don Mitchell, is a senior economist at the Bank and has done a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices, which allows much closer examination of the link between biofuels and food supply.

    The report points out biofuels derived from sugarcane, which Brazil specializes in, have not had such a dramatic impact.

    Supporters of biofuels argue that they are a greener alternative to relying on oil and other fossil fuels, but even that claim has been disputed by some experts, who argue that it does not apply to US production of ethanol from plants.

    "It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices," said Dr David King, the government's former chief scientific adviser, last night. "All we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change."

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest 123
    replied

    July 4, 2008 -- Biofuels have forced global food prices up by 75% - far more than previously estimated - according to a confidential World Bank report obtained by the Guardian.

    The damning unpublished assessment is based on the most detailed analysis of the crisis so far, carried out by an internationally-respected economist at global financial body.

    The figure emphatically contradicts the US government's claims that plant-derived fuels contribute less than 3% to food-price rises. It will add to pressure on governments in Washington and across Europe, which have turned to plant-derived fuels to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and reduce their dependence on imported oil.

    Senior development sources believe the report, completed in April, has not been published to avoid embarrassing President George Bush.

    "It would put the World Bank in a political hot-spot with the White House," said one yesterday.

    The news comes at a critical point in the world's negotiations on biofuels policy. Leaders of the G8 industrialised countries meet next week in Hokkaido, Japan, where they will discuss the food crisis and come under intense lobbying from campaigners calling for a moratorium on the use of plant-derived fuels.

    It will also put pressure on the British government, which is due to release its own report on the impact of biofuels, the Gallagher Report. The Guardian has previously reported that the British study will state that plant fuels have played a "significant" part in pushing up food prices to record levels. Although it was expected last week, the report has still not been released.

    "Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises," said Robert Bailey, policy adviser at Oxfam. "It is imperative that we have the full picture. While politicians concentrate on keeping industry lobbies happy, people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat."

    Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line, estimates the World Bank, and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt. Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as "the first real economic crisis of globalisation".

    President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China, but the leaked World Bank study disputes that: "Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases."

    Even successive droughts in Australia, calculates the report, have had a marginal impact. Instead, it argues that the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices.

    Since April, all petrol and diesel in Britain has had to include 2.5% from biofuels. The EU has been considering raising that target to 10% by 2020, but is faced with mounting evidence that that will only push food prices higher.

    "Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February. The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.

    It argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways. First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production. Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.

    Other reviews of the food crisis looked at it over a much longer period, or have not linked these three factors, and so arrived at smaller estimates of the impact from biofuels. But the report author, Don Mitchell, is a senior economist at the Bank and has done a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices, which allows much closer examination of the link between biofuels and food supply.

    The report points out biofuels derived from sugarcane, which Brazil specializes in, have not had such a dramatic impact.

    Supporters of biofuels argue that they are a greener alternative to relying on oil and other fossil fuels, but even that claim has been disputed by some experts, who argue that it does not apply to US production of ethanol from plants.

    "It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices," said Dr David King, the government's former chief scientific adviser, last night. "All we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change."

    Leave a comment:


  • FORTUNATO
    replied
    Originally posted by Al-khiyal View Post

    March 25, 2008 --

    Britain will move cautiously in its battle with Brussels because José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, is championing the 10% target for 2020. Barroso this month dismissed as "exaggerated" claims that biofuels can lead to increases in food prices and greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation. But other members of the commission and other countries, including Germany, sympathise with Britain.

    Brown was due to release a report touching on issues including biofuels, when he met Barroso in Brussels last month. But the prime minister decided that the time was "not right or ripe".

    ."

    Well this Barro-so, need just to look at the grain and rise prices

    Bread prices sky rocket
    Bread prices sky rocket - Yemen Times

    Bread, a luxury item
    Bread, a luxury item - Turkish Daily News Nov 08, 2007

    Outrage over bread price hike
    Outrage over bread price hike : South Africa: News: Economy: Fin24

    Egypt's battle for subsidized bread rages
    Egypt's battle for subsidized bread rages - Feature : Middle East World

    A Bread Riot
    A Bread Riot



    and this remaind me the famous UN resolution OIL4FOOD

    Leave a comment:


  • amalgamate
    replied
    Originally posted by FORTUNATO View Post
    If the process cannot be improved, then would we be better to rely on petroleum?

    The Dangers of Biofuel : TreeHugger
    Well, since 'history repeats itself', we'd probably go back to using horse carriages and wagons

    I wouldn't mind the slower pace at life.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bent_Bladi
    replied
    wow... so now instead of invading countries for oil... they'll invade countries for grain

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest 123
    replied

    March 25, 2008 -- Gordon Brown is preparing for a battle with the European Union over biofuels after one of the government's leading scientists warned they could exacerbate climate change rather than combat it.

    In an outspoken attack on a policy which comes into force next week, Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be wrong to introduce compulsory quotas for the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel before their effects had been properly assessed.

    "If one started to use biofuels ... and in reality that policy led to an increase in greenhouse gases rather than a decrease, that would obviously be insane," Watson said. "It would certainly be a perverse outcome."

    Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, all petrol and diesel must contain 2.5% of biofuels from April 1. This is designed to ensure that Britain complies with a 2003 EU directive that 5.75% of petrol and diesel come from renewable sources by 2010.

    But scientists have increasingly questioned the sustainability of biofuels, warning that by increasing deforestation the energy source may be contributing to global warming.

    Watson's warning was echoed last night by Professor Sir David King, who recently retired as the government's chief scientific adviser. He said biofuel quotas should be put on hold until the results were known of a review which has been commissioned by ministers.

    "What is absolutely desperately needed within government are people of integrity who will state what the science advice is under whatever political pressure or circumstances," he said.

    The EU plans to raise the compulsory biofuel quota to 10% by 2020, but Brown is understood to be ready to challenge this plan. A senior government source said last night: "There is a growing feeling that we need to get all the facts. Some biofuels are OK but there are serious questions about others. More work needs to be done."

    Sources say the government has no choice but to implement the guidelines next month because Britain is obliged under EU law to comply with the 2010 target.

    But the report on biofuels, to come from the head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, Professor Ed Gallagher, may be used to challenge the more ambitious target for 2020, which is not set in law.

    John Beddington, the government's current chief scientific adviser, has already expressed scepticism about biofuels. At a speech in Westminster this month he said demand for biofuels from the US had delivered a "major shock" to world agriculture, which was raising food prices globally. "There are real problems with the unsustainability of biofuels," he said, adding that cutting down rainforest to grow the crops was "profoundly stupid".

    Britain will move cautiously in its battle with Brussels because José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, is championing the 10% target for 2020. Barroso this month dismissed as "exaggerated" claims that biofuels can lead to increases in food prices and greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation. But other members of the commission and other countries, including Germany, sympathise with Britain.

    Brown was due to release a report touching on issues including biofuels, when he met Barroso in Brussels last month. But the prime minister decided that the time was "not right or ripe".

    The prime minister made clear that Britain is wary of the target when he said last November: "I take extremely seriously concerns about the impact of biofuels on deforestation, precious habitats and on food security, and the UK is working to ensure a European sustainability standard is introduced as soon as possible, and we will not support an increase in biofuels over current target levels until an effective standard is in place."

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  • FORTUNATO
    replied
    WARNING!!!

    Mr Low said the technology to convert the plants into ethanol was also of questionable environmental efficiency, and his report noted much of the land used for biofuel plants came at the expense of land used for food, which was required by the world's growing population.

    Warning on danger of biofuels - View Message


    politicsBiofuel:
    a Real Danger to Poor Countries

    Biofuel: a Real Danger to Poor Countries - Natural Choices

    This (Image) are not harvested for the food, but for car to run and pollute

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    started a topic The Danger of Biofuel

    The Danger of Biofuel

    The Guardian have published a column by George Monbiot, on the dangers of bio-fuel. Although this won't be a popular view-point, Monbiot believes that the majority of biofuel production is more harmful to the environment than petroleum production. His argument; there's nothing wrong with the theory, but the practice has gone very wrong indeed. His answer is to halt production until more efficient production is available on a large scale.

    Biofuels are desirable because the plants from which it is create store carbon as they grow. Therefore the carbon released during its use is offset, it will be reabsorbed by the new plants being grown for fuel. However, there are other factors that need to be taken into account, which can cause biofuel to seem like a less desirable option. There is no simple solution; developing countries are gaining increasing political power from their crops, but at the same time they are losing out ecologically.

    One problem is that the demand for fuel crops is raising prices, making them less affordable as a food source. According to Monbiot, in some cases grain now costs double what it did just one year ago, and stock piles are low. Fuel manufacturers can afford these higher prices, and if this continues then there is a very real possibility that it could create a very real food shortage.

    Another issue is that virgin land is being stripped for planting as demand for these crops grows. Sugarcane producers are moving into the Brazillian cerrado, soya farmers into the Amazon rainforest and palm oil plantations into the Malaysian rainforest. Often, these areas are burned clear before planting, which releases more carbon than will be saved in many years of producing biofuels.

    There is nothing inherently wrong with biofuel, if produced properly. However, current manufacturing is often the cause of food shortages, loss of wildlife habitat, huge carbon emissions and population displacement. There are exceptions, but they seem to be in the minority. If the process cannot be improved, then would we be better to rely on petroleum?

    The Dangers of Biofuel : TreeHugger

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