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The Biofuel Debate

About 3 weeks ago, we referenced a report by Time Magazine concerning the controversy surrounding biofuels. In today’s New York Times, columnist Roger Cohen says the alarm over biofuels is hogwash. Check out his column and let us know what you think about this debate.

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Laurel says …

I blog on biodiesel and ethanol on a regular basis. From what I know, it all depends on the practices the producers and suppliers use in the process. When forests in Asia are being torn down for palm oil plantations and when the U.S. corn crops increase toxic fertilizer levels that kill marine life in the Gulf of Mexico, biofuels are a problem. However, there are tons of sustainable practices going on, they just are taking some time to gain momentum. I'm really excited about algae biodiesel and restaurants who donate their waste oil for fuel. As with most things, there is a right and a wrong way to do it.

troy says …

The answer to global warming is solar panels and the electric car. Maybe Whole Foods could help out an install some electric car chargers at there store. This would promote lower energy costs and cleaner air. Thank you.

helen brown says …

Corn and cane crops contribute to soil erosion. Soil and water are the most important resources we have. The savannahs are an important ecosystem. We should grow what we need for food, fuel, housing etc.. only on lands that have already been compremised.

dawg says …

http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Archives2008/HeinbergFiftyMillion.html "An attempt to make up for fuel shortfalls by producing more biofuels—ethanol, butanol, and biodiesel—will put even more pressure on the food system, and will likely result in a competition between food and fuel uses of land and other resources needed for agricultural production. Already 14 percent of the U.S. corn crop is devoted to making ethanol, and that proportion is expected to rise to one quarter, based solely on existing projects-in-development and government mandates."

revolted says …

Anyone who talks about biofuel and mentions ethanol is a complete fool! Study all the facts before you talk about something please. Here is some information for you so that you can make a more intelligent argument. (Thanks to dawg for at least mentioning the good fuel, Butanol!) Ethanol at best is not from the middle east. Fact if you are dumb enough to buy a flex fuel vehicle to burn E-85 fuel then you have a few problems, depending were you live there arn't many places to fill it up, you get less MPG!!!!! with E-85 so any savings on the price per gallon at the pump are eaten up by having to fuel up more often. Then consider the fact that not everyone can afford to buy a new vehicle. Then we get to the fact the in order to become a fuel station that sells E-85 one has to spend money on new pumps and storage tanks. Then if by some feet of magic enough of this junk can be produced to meet the demand for transportation fuel the american tax payer is going to get stuck with the bill for a new pipeline that needs to be built because E-85 is very corrosive and does not get along with the curent distribution system that we have. You can bet all the farms that the oil companies will not pay for this because they are making more money with oil than they ever have so why should they? I know that if I was making hundreds of billions of dollals a year I would not do anything to stop or reduce that. Butanol belends with gas from 1 to 100 percent (Wow I said 100 percent.) that means that it will burn in the gas engine I have without any modifacation. (A new fuel filter and a bit of adjustment to the electronic fuel control will make performance better but is not a necessity.) All you 'green' freeks make me sick when you talk about ethanol in a positive way. I suggest that every single person that has a voice use that voice to tell the idoits making ethanol for fuel to stop drinking the test samples and go back to school and learn how to make butanol. If we do this then the "pain at the pump" will get some relief faster. One last thing if anyone knows how to get Al Gore on the phone I want to talk to him, and ask just how 'green' he is, because from what I can find the only green he is interested in is money. A piece prize is a nice consolation prize for getting robbed of the presidency, but he couldn't live with that he needs more so he makes a movie to scare people into thinking that they are going to die faster if they do not 'go green' and gets another useless award (the oscar) for it. Tell me please how much enviromental damage is created by hollywood? I love the repugnance of some celebrity asking me to save energy by buying some new lightbulb or a new appliance when the one I have works fine and dosn't cost me a lot of money, while the energy used to make and distribute that message is far greater and more unnecessary than me needing light or a stove to cook. And then there is the privite planes used by those celebs, what are they too good for the regular planes? and for that matter why the hell do they need to be in New York one day and L.A. the next? The answer is money. MONEY is the problem and the cure to all this 'green' B.S. The auto companies jumped on the green wagon and want you to buy a new car but you don't have to with butanol fuel. The american taxpayer can't afford a new pipline just consider the national debt and know that children that aren't even born yet will be around $40,000 in the hole when they are "blessed with life." How is starting life 40 grand in debt a blessing? Nature will take care of itself and the human race will be gone someday. In the little time we humans are here we need to fix the money problems first, then worry about the planet. Who knows? (I do.) There might be a way to do both at the same time.

revolted says …

I forgot to say the butanol can be made form green crops that aren't food.