"Don't Let Invasive Biofuel Crops Attack Your Country"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
don t let invasive biofuel crops attack your country

The bio-fuel industry has an answer for critics who consider the whole food-for-fuel business a dangerous, back asswards proposition: second generation bio-fuels! Ethanol v2 proponents believe that a new range of non-food crops is the "answer" to kvetching. Only it isn't. The New York Times reports that "biologists and botanists are warning that they, too, may bring serious unintended consequences. Most of these newer crops are what scientists label invasive species — that is, weeds — that have an extraordinarily high potential to escape biofuel plantations, overrun adjacent farms and natural land, and create economic and ecological havoc in the process." If that's not enough to put you off the idea, how about some specifics? "The giant reed, previously used mostly in decorations and in making musical instruments — is a fast-growing, thirsty species that has drained wetlands and clogged drainage systems in other places where it has been planted. It is also highly flammable." Willy De Greef, incoming secretary general of EuropaBio (an industry group) says hakuna matata; "biofuel farmers would inevitably introduce new crops carefully because they would not want growth they could not control." Geoffrey Howard, an invasive species expert with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, is not impressed. “We’ve had 100 years of experience with introductions of these crops that turned out to be disastrous for environment, people, health.”

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