Biofuels Industry Does Not Deserve to Be Demonised
by Clare Wenner (The Guardian) Grossly simplifying the issues and creating bogeymen risks crushing desperately needed solutions
Given all the hysteria over biofuels you’d be forgiven for believing that wiping out the biofuels industry will solve world hunger. It won’t. Firstly, agriculture is not a zero-sum game. As well as offering genuine greenhouse gas savings today and even better prospects in future, biofuels have already led to big investments in sustainable farming practices which can improve agricultural productivity in the round.
Here in the UK, our home-produced biofuels provide as much high-protein animal feed as low-carbon liquid fuel – essential for our hard-pressed livestock industry. This feed in turn displaces imported soy, which is often associated with high carbon emissions.
Many NGOs also neglect to remind us that one-third of world food is wasted – a staggering figure which casts a very different light on how best to use land and tackle hunger. And extreme weather events consistent with climate change itself are destroying crops – yet transport is a major contributor to carbon emissions.
Of course, if the biofuels industry were to endlessly expand there would be inevitable conflict between food and fuel. But what is vital to understand, and what is missing from the debate, is that biofuels are at an early stage in their technological learning curve. With the right framework, this technology will have moved on long before conflict need be inevitable, and agriculture will have become more sustainable and productive in the meantime.
…You’d think we can go on using oil forever. We can’t. And neither can we decarbonise transport at the pace we need to with electric vehicles (EVs).
In fact, EVs are not environmentally perfect – a recent report in the Journal of Industrial Ecology shows EVs can contribute more to climate change than cars running on oil and they can create more toxic waste. READ MORE and MORE Abstract