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Jon 02-11-2008 11:11 AM

New York Times and Science Magazine debunk biofuels
Two biofuel studies, recently published in Science magazine, have been highlighted in a popular New York Times article:

Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat

Their conclusion:


Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these "green" fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.
Turns out that naturally-existing ecosystems (rainforests, grasslands, etc.) are being chopped down to plant "green" biofuel crops. This "deprives the planet of natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions". Which kinda ruins the whole point of using biofuels in the first place.


"When you take this into account, most of the biofuel that people are using or planning to use would probably increase greenhouse gasses substantially," said Timothy Searchinger, lead author of one of the studies and a researcher in environment and economics at Princeton University. "Previously there's been an accounting error: land use change has been left out of prior analysis."

I'm a big fan of allowing scientists to have a greater hand in environmental policy. I certainly don't support the "tree-huggers are all idiots" viewpoint, but I tend to look at it more pragmatically. A portion of our trees need to be preserved to play their part in the natural cycle, and to provide natural spaces for hunting, fishing, hiking, and just enjoying the outdoors. Of course, a portion of trees need to be chopped down to make room for roads, schools, government buildings, and military installations. When to chop down, and when to preserve, is a decision that we should place more in the hands of the scientific community, and less in the hands of business interests.

IMO, Green marketing tends to play too much of a part in our recent purchasing decisions. A "green" business is often no more or less ethical than a "conventional" business, and that's something that we need to accept. Here, the "gold rush" on biofuels has resulted in an increase in greenhouse gases, rather than a decrease.

That being said, there are many ways to extract energy from our universe, and, in certain cases, there may indeed be alternatives superior to conventional petroleum. In examining these alternatives, we need to stick to science-based methods of analysis, and not get too excited over the latest and greatest energy craze.

Otherwise, our attempts to "save" the environment may only contribute to its swifter destruction.

OneMoreTime 02-11-2008 11:36 AM

My opinion is that we just have to many people to support with the resources that we have..

If one studies history there are places where great cities rose up and then when the resources were depleted in the area the cities collapsed..I believe we are on the same path at this time..


Arrowhead 02-11-2008 12:25 PM

I don't think anybody really knows the answers to how why when and where of global warming. There are thousands of variables and for environmental groups to make blanket statment that XXXX will solve all our problems is rediculous. Wouldn't it be ironic if it came down to the fuel source that had the smallest carbon footprint (another eco catch phase) was good old gasoline.

35WINDOW 02-11-2008 12:43 PM

I have mixed emotions on this subject-this Article didn't seem to take into account that we have millions of Acres sitting idle that do not produce a Crop-actually, the Government is paying Farmers not to use it-it's called CRP (the Conservation Reserve Program), and, some of it has recently been put back into Production for Biofuels. No real earth shaking news there, it has been going on for 20 Years +. Sam- we have the Acreage today to take care of America-there used to be a sign when you drove into Kansas that said "every Kansas Farmer feeds 52 people and you"-what is scary is that we are bulding Houses on top of the best Farm land there is-just look at Modesto-(actually, look at just about any major City today)-

On top of that, we are using Corn for the base-Brazil is using Switchgrass, which you get more product for the input. I can understand the American Farmer's reluctance to switch over until further studies are done on this (Soil testing, ability to use), because he can always market the Corn. As the Article states, Sugar Cane is a good source, and we really haven't tried that one either.

This Biofuels thing is really doing a lot to the Ag Industry, however-Farmer's are actually making good money now, and when Farmer's have money they spend it. I like the idea that we are (to a small degree) kicking sand in the face of OPEC-

You sure couldn't tell me this Winter that we have Global Warming-looks to me that we have Global Cooling- :spank:

78novaman 02-11-2008 01:45 PM

Biofuels for the most part are very inefficient to produce with our current technology. The exception to this is biodiesel made from cooking oil. Case in point is McDonalds who uses their spent fryer oil to power their fleet of delivery trucks.

Our situation is kind of a catch22. If you plant millions of acres of switchgrass and then it all dies in a drought or massive storms, what would that do for fuel prices and supply? But then again, what happens if we let the politicians and environmentalists lock out our abundant supply of oil and we continue to import not only crude, but refined gasoline?

The latter refers to national defense. Right now it is not possible to power our war machine's planes and boats with biofuels. But with a ever-growing percentage of our fuels being imported, we are slowly being brought to the mercy of other countries who are investing in oil production, such as China, Mexico, and the members of OPEC (plus Canada!).

We need to open the way for a domestic supply of oil in the short term and invest in the development of more advanced nuclear reactors for electrical generation and biofuel/hydrogen fuel cell for transportation long term. We will become Europe and be at the mercy of the rest of the world for their resources if we sit idle.

BMM 02-11-2008 09:16 PM

This was said in a local newspaper about 5 months ago, and has been my stance ever since.

I think we (as humans) will never ever understand and control the earth.

classicautoresto 02-11-2008 09:23 PM

We shouldn't make bio-diesel either...we don't want our fast food chains and deep fryers to go extinct!!! :thumbup:

Sorry.......I just couldn't help myself. :evil:

Blazin72 02-11-2008 10:24 PM

I was watching a show on The History Channel and they mentioned one possible method to help limit CO2 emissions. Convert it to sodium bicarbonate. Apparently it's an expensive process but it could mean all of the baking soda we'll ever need... :confused: :confused: :confused:

Gr8 '48 bow tie 02-12-2008 12:18 AM

From the beginning of time on the Earth there have been cycles of ice ages and warming. I wonder how much we can blame on Fred Flintstone, he never used bio-fuel in his Rockmobile and he never used any type of filter over his rockpit stove to keep the air smoke free. I think I remember a science teacher telling me that the Earth is a wobbling mass spinning on its axis as it revolves around the Sun. The wobbling and spinning causes it to tilt to and fro hence warming and cooling. Al Gore is sick.


redsdad 02-12-2008 06:26 AM

More than global warming, I am afraid of the uneasy alliance that has formed amongst the press, environmentalists, educators, and industry. We are being told that global warming is a fact and we caused it. To even question this "fact" makes one a scientific leper, a subject of ridicule. This is what children are being taught in school.
There are some scientists who are willing to risk standing against the attacks. Unfortunately, they receive little or no exposure. Did anyone on this board see this story anywhere near as many times as you saw Al Gore last year?
What is particularly scary about this story is the fact that, if it is correct, we are not making any plans for what to do if global cooling comes. The majority of the world is running around trying to kill off man (or at least greatly reduce our standard of living) in order to save the planet. We may just accomplish that goal when everyone freezes in the dark 40 or 50 years from now.
Don't believe me? Just look at R-12 and R-134. Freon is heavier than air. Yet somehow it managed to rise 9 miles above the earth and destroy the ozone layer. On the other hand, my lawn mower makes too much ozone, and even though it is far lighter than freon, it remains at ground level and is an environmental threat. Give me a break! The environmentalist wanted to reduce our quality of life while the chemical companies wanted to replace a product which had become a commodity with a higher profit generating substitute.
Moral of this story - QUESTION EVERYTHING. Stop being sheep and study the motives behind the science.

speedydeedy 02-12-2008 07:30 AM

I believe AL Gore is an Idiot and a lot of people don't stop and think.I heard a group of NERDS talking about global warming and I added sure I think it has warmed up quite a bit since the ICE AGE. You should have seen the dumb look on their faces. As has been said earlier, The cave men didn't have cars and industry,I think this is just a normal cycle. Ever notice how seldom we break high temp records?And sometimes we still break low temp records. I think GLOBAL WARMING is bull crap. NASA did a study and said it didn't exist.

Arrowhead 02-12-2008 07:55 AM

It's ALL about the MONEY

35WINDOW 02-12-2008 08:01 AM


Originally Posted by Arrowhead
It's ALL about the MONEY

Isn't it always?

lets cut it up 02-12-2008 08:53 AM

It is always about money but lets not for get about control. The "man" wants us to be all mindless sheep that obey..... Period. It all about money AND control.

timothale 02-12-2008 12:07 PM

what is the real answer
If it is in the paper it must be true.?? I wrote an article that "Automotive Industries " (the largest auto trade magazine) published in the 70's about alcohol based fuels. A GM Vice president, I think his name was Maier, was interviewed in a previous issue and listed reasons why GM was opposesd to alcohol based fuels, He stated a number of reasons which I refuted and listed the footnotes to support my answers, University studies, etc Ford of Brazil ,and energy consumption required to produce 'bio-fuels' data.. If you are just going to burn it in your motor, you don't have to worry about how it tastes or it makin' you go blind. USP (medical grade) products are not required for motor fuel. A lot of the published expert studies are too much in the lab and not real world.

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