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Ethanol Bad for Environment

Filed under: Business,Energy — Tags: , , — Paddy Wallbouncer @ 8:35 am 2008 February 8

Crops consume carbon dioxide when they grow but add it when they’re burned, so it balances itself right? Corn Ethanol and Soybean diesel sound like a good option but there’s a sinister downside to the use of bio-fuels. It’s twice as bad as burning gasoline in terms of greenhouse gasses and global warming.

Princeton Universities Tim Searchinger finds there are other effects from the use of bio-fuels “The simplest explanation is that when we divert our corn or soybeans to fuel, if people around the world are going to continue to eat the same amount that they’re already eating, you have to replace that food somewhere else.” The use of bio-fuel here is forcing an expansion in other parts of the world so forests and grasslands are being destroyed to accommodate the crop growth.”

The government supports, and gives large subsidies to farmers who grow crops for bio-fuel consumption. It is calling for an expansion to reduce the US dependence on foreign oil, but it is going in the wrong direction if you care about greenhouse gasses according to Alex Farrell at the University of California – Berkley. If you are farmer in the Midwest this is bad news. If you are a consumer who is buying milk and eggs, looks like an implosion of those food prices might be eminent if the study gains a footing in government policy.

The study finds that no matter how much crops for fuel improve their efficiencies they will still not measure up to options that do not require farmland for bio-fuel production. Alternatives? Agriculturally friendly, thus Earth friendly bio-fuels could be made from agricultural waste, or grasses grown on land otherwise unsuitable for feed crops. The other easy alternative would be to use existing waste that would otherwise be going into a landfill. We’ll keep you informed of this and other entertaining news.

Common mistypes: Biofuel feedcrop

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