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Alternative Fuels

Summary of Article:

Biofuels Are Bad for Feeding People and

Combating Climate Change


Scientific American, Feb.7,2008

The article is a commentary on the surging trend in biofuel production and investment as a green substitute for transportation fuels. The author point out that biofuels come from renewable resources, thus are perceived to be an environmentaly friendly alternative to fossil fuels. The idea that biofuels are greener comes from a simplistic view in regards to global warming and carbon released into the environment.

The author makes the argument that when land is cleared for farming of crops to produce biofuel two major impacts occur. First greenhouse gasses are significantly increased from biofuel production and use, not a decrease. A Secondary impact is when cropland for food production is converted to use for fuel production, escalating food prices and reducing availability for needy people. The article warns against a bull rush approach biofuel, but does not abandon its possibilities.

I find myself reading articles like this with a lot of caution, what I mean by “like this” is…well, when mass media is involved in shaping our perceptions about issues that large corporate earnings in the billions even trillions of dollars are concerned. I didn’t realized the carbon impact of producing biofuels, yet still find my opinion after reading this article not whether biofuel is bad or good. I find my concerns centered on market monopolization and abuse, I guess it would be fair to say that the old adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” would best describe my feelings about biofuel production and use. Massive government aid for biofuel seems reckless when US car manufacturers are so far behind the competition in terms of fuel economy.

I recently skimmed over information that discussed algae used for production of biofuel, that seems to mitigate some of the problematic issues that involve current trends in biofuel industry. This is very exciting time in history and I am very curious to see how it all pans out, there are some very frightening scenerios, yet some amazing and beautiful possibilities.


February 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 1 Comment