The Big Green Fuel Lie

 – And here’s another story in the same vein.   This one is focused in Brazil where they’ve been growing crops for ethanol now for sometime and they have experience as to what is gained and what is lost.  Some quotes, if you don’t want to plow through the entire article:

The ethanol industry has been linked with air and water pollution on an epic scale, along with deforestation in both the Amazon and Atlantic rainforests, as well as the wholesale destruction of Brazil’s unique savannah land.

“Some of the cane plantations are the size of European states, these vast monocultures have replaced important eco-systems,” he said. “If you see the size of the plantations in the state of Sao Paolo they are oceans of sugar cane. In order to harvest you must burn the plantations which creates a serious air pollution problem in the city.”

While Brazil’s tropical climate allows it to source alcohol from its sugar crop, the US has turned to its industrialised corn belt for the raw material to substitute oil. The American economist Lester R Brown, from the Earth Policy Institute, is leading the warning voices: “The competition for grain between the world’s 800 million motorists who want to maintain their mobility and its two billion poorest people who are simply trying to stay alive is emerging as an epic issue.”

– There’s a lot to be thought through here before we decide that biofuels are mankind’s energy panacea.   But. I’m afraid that thinking things like this through has never been our species’ strong point.

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George Bush says that ethanol will save the world. But there is evidence that biofuels may bring new problems for the planet.

The ethanol boom is coming. The twin threats of climate change and energy security are creating an unprecedented thirst for alternative energy with ethanol leading the way.

That process is set to reach a landmark on Thursday when the US President, George Bush, arrives in Brazil to kick-start the creation of an international market for ethanol that could one day rival oil as a global commodity. The expected creation of an “Opec for ethanol” replicating the cartel of major oil producers has spurred frenzied investment in biofuels across the Americas.

But a growing number of economists, scientists and environmentalists are calling for a “time out” and warning that the headlong rush into massive ethanol production is creating more problems than it is solving.

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