Bio-Fuels Boondoggle Backfires, Badly

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
bio fuels boondoggle backfires badly

A new study that concludes that rainforests absorb more CO2 than can be saved by clearing the land for biofuel crops. Razing rainforests for bio-fuels? Surely not! Uh-huh. U.S. and European government legislation mandating huge increases in ethanol consumption is already amping-up ethanol production in developing countries. Wired Science reports "In Indonesia, for example, environmentalists estimate that foreign biofuel demand will drive energy companies to clear the country's remaining peat rainforests, a valuable CO2 sink. The resulting slash-and-burn could release 50 billion tons of CO2 — nearly a decade's worth of US greenhouse emissions — into the atmosphere." Renton Rightelato, co-author of the aforementioned study, said the West's focus on biofuels distracts its citizenry from the real problem. "People feel they're saving the planet [by encouraging bio-fuels]. They're not. Biofuels are essentially being used as a way of avoiding the real problem: reducing the use of fossil fuels." Doh!

Join the conversation
4 of 18 comments
  • Stein X Leikanger Stein X Leikanger on Aug 18, 2007

    @MX5bob For sheer lunacy, consider an abbreviated list of products made with petroleum. Right now, we're burning that resource in an extremely inefficient manner, to pick up grocery. Products Made from Oil Ink Dishwashing liquids Paint brushes Telephones Toys Unbreakable dishes Insecticides Antiseptics Dolls Car sound insulation Fishing lures Deodorant Tires Motorcycle helmets Linoleum Sweaters Tents Refrigerator linings Paint rollers Floor wax Shoes Electrician's tape Plastic wood Model cars Glue Roller-skate wheels Trash bags Soap dishes Skis Permanent press clothes Hand lotion Clothesline Dyes Soft contact lenses Shampoo Panty hose Cameras Food preservatives Fishing rods Oil filters Combs Transparent tape Anesthetics Upholstery Dice Disposable diapers TV cabinets Cassettes Mops Sports car bodies Salad bowls House paint Purses Electric blankets Awnings Ammonia Dresses Car battery cases Safety glass Hair curlers Pajamas Synthetic rubber VCR tapes Eyeglasses Pillows Vitamin capsules Movie film Ice chests Candles Rubbing alcohol Loudspeakers Ice buckets Boats Ice cube trays Credit cards Fertilizers Crayons Insect repellent Water pipes Toilet seats Caulking Roofing shingles Fishing boots Life jackets Balloons Shower curtains Garden hose Golf balls Curtains Plywood adhesive Umbrellas Detergents Milk jugs Beach umbrellas Rubber cement Sun glasses Putty Faucet washers Cold cream Bandages Tool racks Antihistamines Hair coloring Nail polish Slacks Drinking cups Guitar strings False teeth Yarn Petroleum jelly Toothpaste Golf bags Roofing Tennis rackets Toothbrushes Perfume Luggage Wire insulation Folding doors Shoe polish Fan belts Ballpoint pens Shower doors Cortisone Carpeting Artificial turf Heart valves LP records Lipstick Artificial limbs Hearing aids Vaporizers Aspirin Shaving cream Wading pools Parachutes

  • Dean Dean on Aug 19, 2007

    97escort: You do realize, of course, that this is a news blog item, and RF is quoting another source? Please allow us, the readers, to crap all over biofuel production. You needn't target this site. Anyone with half a brain, and a rudimentary understanding of energy ROI, knows that at present, and for the foreseeable future, biofuels are a subsidized waste of energy.

  • Dean Dean on Aug 19, 2007

    And one more thing. Of course biofuels are popular in the midwest. Everyone there is getting rich planting corn at subsidized prices! Talk about biting the hand that feeds... of course they're on board with it.

  • Fallout11 Fallout11 on Aug 20, 2007

    Classic tragedy of the commons unfolding before our eyes yet again.....internalizes and privatize the benefits, externalize and socialize the costs. "We had to destroy the village to save it."