Biofuels Report: Introduction
1st March, 2007
In his final State of the Union address, George Bush announced his support for the adoption of biofuels on a massive scale. But is the plan such a good idea? By Pat Thomas
There is an old saying: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In the current scramble to face up to the realities of climate change and the current peak oil demand, pundits on both sides of the ecological debate have embraced the concept of biofuels – renewable fuels derived from vegetable matter – as an effective solution to the impending global crisis.
The theory seems simple enough. By burning plant-derived energy we are burning a carbon-neutral fuel, because the CO2 released through combustion of plant fuels is equal to what the plant took out of the atmosphere in the first place.
But the science is far from complete, the energy savings far from convincing and, although many see biofuels as a way to avoid the kind of resource wars currently raging in the Middle East and elsewhere, going down that road may in the end provoke a wider series of resource wars – this time over food, water and habitable land.
The scale of Bush’s and others enthusiasm for biofuels, seems, once one knows the details, to make little sense. Except perhaps as one of the biggest global investment opportunities in decades.
Currently politicians, global food...
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