We had a comment a few days ago from someone taking us to task for letting up on Biofuel. Yet haven’t we been beating the drum the loudest? In our post “Reforesting vs. Biofuel” the reader will see links to just a few among dozens of reports posted here, warning how carbon credits fund rainforest destruction which causes climate change. Here is an excerpt:
Our concern for what we consider to be a global catastrophe is well documented, in posts such as:
- Deforestation Diesel
- Brazilian vs. Californian Ethanol
- Biofuel Monocultures
- Biofueled Global Warming
- Biofuel is NOT Carbon Neutral
- Biofueled Deforestation
- Ethanol & Water
- Biofuel or Biohazard
- When Green is Brown
- Is Biofuel Water Positive
Check all our posts in the Biofuel category, or the posts in our Global Warming category. We haven’t wavered.
|Reforest the tropics, and scrub soot & aerosols from smokestacks.
A feasible agenda for the global greens.
So in our post “Clean Energy Acts,” replete with a large format photo of a Condor in full flight above the green shadings of insanely beautiful chaparrel on California’s central coast, the irate reader lets loose with outrage that strikes deep:
“…you can not really be falling for this astroturfed CRAP, can you? these guys are proposing to kill off billions of acres of healthy ecosystems to site their “cradle to cradle clean” killing fields…,” and “…it is incredibly serious to advocate killing huge, huge, huge sections of wilderness in a senseless stampede from coal to “renewables.”
Perhaps the moderate tone we’ve recently adopted was based on honest math – as you can see in the online interactive calculator “How Much Land Does Biofuel Require,” or as we report in “Biofuel’s Potential,” if you are able to get biofuel yields up to 10x what is currently our best case – from 5,000+ barrels per square mile per year to 50,000+ barrels per square mile per year, then all the petroleum currently used each year worldwide could be grown in an area of only about 650,000 square miles. That is only about 6% of the arable farmland in the world. But is this honest math based on realistic estimates?
The problem is biofuel yields like this are only projections, and meanwhile land throughout the world, especially in equatorial regions, is being turned over to biofuel crops at 1/10th that yield. It is undeniable that biofuel can make economic sense. What is incredible however is the notion that biofuel is any “greener” than petroleum. At least petroleum emissions are only guilty of possibly causing global warming. Equatorial deforestation causes climate change – global warming from thermal and gasseous alterations on a massive scale, and droughts, and extreme weather. And the link between equatorial deforestation and all of these phenomena is well settled science – unlike the allegedly catastrophic potential of anthropogenic CO2.
One may say this is denial – but the point has more to do with what is green. Whether you want to be green because of global warming concerns, or simply because you want to be green – you should be willing to debate what constitutes the most effective global green policies. Climate change is definitely being caused by equatorial deforestation – and we can afford to reverse that now, unlike replacing petroleum. Climate change is definitely being caused by aerosols & soot from unscrubbed smokestacks – and we can afford to retrofit them all right now, unlike replacing coal. And who takes the biofuel denialists to task? Maybe biofuel can be grown in refineries located on marginal industrial or agricultural land, or even from surplus Iowa corn. watered by summer rains. But biofuel crops don’t belong on equatorial plantations that eat our mother earth’s rainforest lungs like a cancer. Put the forests back.