Fossil Fuels Out-Green Biofuels

You gotta love this. If they would ever see it, it would just drive the environmental wackos (you know who you are) nuts. Did you know that it is greener to burn our fossil fuels than to produce and burn biofuels? I think this would be a hard sell to Robert Kennedy Jr. but if it’s the environment that we’re trying to impact less, then we need to get serious about actually getting more of our own oil and gas so we can be less dependent on foreign suppliers. All in one fell swoop we could increase our national security, lower the price of gasoline at the pump, and help the environment. It’s a win win win.

Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels, according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels.

Biofuels look good in climate change terms from a Western perspective, said Dr Spracklen, but globally they actually lead to higher carbon emissions.

The reason is that producing biofuel is not a “green process”. It requires tractors and fertilizers and land, all of which means burning fossil fuels to make “green” fuel. In the case of bioethanol produced from corn – an alternative to oil – “it’s essentially a zero-sums game.”

NewsBusters: New Study Recommends Against Burning Biofuels to Solve Global Warming

Will be interesting to see what play, if any, this gets in your mainstream media. And I wouldn’t hold my breath for Kennedy to get on board either. Not with BIG OIL.

h/t Amy Ridenour’s National Center Blog

editor’s note: Some things are worth repeating, especially when the MSM doesn’t adequately cover them. This post was originally posted 8/23/07.

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  1. I got so wrapped up in the above rant, that I forgot to address increasing public transportation.

    This is the red herring in the environmental movement. Not because it doesn’t save fuel, because it most certainly does when people use it. It works in big cities, like New York and Philadelphia. Buses, trolleys and subways all do a good job. But outside of highly populated areas it doesn’t work.

    In the U.S., most people drive cars, because they are free to do so, and because they want to. In communist countries, most people drive bicycles or jump on crowded trains. In this country Amtrak is not a profit maker, not because it doesn’t save money IF people used it, it’s because people don’t use it. To force people to use it, by taking away their cars, or making the price of gas so high that no one can afford it, then you’re not talking about a free society any more. And most Americans don’t want to give up their freedom so they can ride a train or be more like some communist or socialist country.

    Mass transit works in some places, but it isn’t the single answer either.

  2. We, and the world, will continue to be dependent on oil, until an alternative is invented. Oil is the lifeblood of the world’s, and our, economy right now. Being dependent on oil is one thing, changing that is something for science to solve. But being dependent on unfriendly foreign countries for oil is simply irresponsible.

    Ostensibly, the environmental movement is concerned about the environment. I don’t believe that. I believe the goal of this movement is to punish the United States, to take capitalism down a notch or two, and to redistribute our wealth via some global welfare program, all under the guise of allegedly man-made global warming. If protecting the environment was their goal, then they would reject the current pressures to increase biofuels. Why? Because they do more damage to the environment than current technology with fossil fuels.

    The auto industry IS developing the kind of cars you mention. And they’re making them better and better all the time. That’s a good thing. But it isn’t up to the auto industry to solve the oil dependency situation. Nuclear energy, for example, can replace all the oil, coal, and natural gas that is currently being used to produce electricity. The benefits of making that switch alone would make an enormous decrease in the use of fossil fuels and its impact on the environment. I think the US is around 10% in nuclear generated electricity. France is over 70%. It may be a lot higher, I’m not sure, but it is way ahead of us in that respect.

    And the alternative energy source that has yet to be perfected, like hydrogen for example, will come from private industry and entrepreneurs, jump-started perhaps with incentives from the government that will offset or ease the risk and investment needed to reach that goal.

    The answer lies in leaving the oil industry to developing and improving fossil fuel technology in crude, natural gas, shale oil, and coal, and spawning new industries in other forms and means of energy production. IMHO, we won’t get there by making the oil industry pay for it by taxing them billions and billions of dollars to put somewhere else. All that will do is drive up the price of gas and food and anything else that moves on the highways. And like most other economic issues, the poor are hit the hardest.

    Thanks for your input, Elizabeth.

  3. Certainly biofuels aren’t the shiny answer to all our energy crises, but continued dependence upon oil isn’t either. Why not develop hybrids, fuel efficient cars, electric cars? Increase public transportation? Electric cars are plugged in, and depend on fuel in their own way in that sense, but it is way more efficient than running them on gasoline.

What's your two cents?