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Biofuel Breakdown

“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,” reports The Times’s Elisabeth Rosenthal.A pox on all their houses? “I can’t say that I’m surprised,” writes Lawhawk at A Blog For All. “Biofuels, though touted by everyone from Archer Daniels Midland (for the corn subsidies in the U.S.) to the IPCC (U.N.’s global warming purveyor), aren’t the panacea. They’re just as bad or worse than the fuels their supporters hope to replace.”

Tom Macguire at the conservative site Just One Minute notes that Hillary Clinton had called for “[i]ncreasing production of biofuels to 60 billion gallons by 2030.” He notes: “Interesting contrast. Hillary, a typical statist lib, goes haring off after every bit of loose science that suits her agenda. A conservative would have trod more slowly, and not been surprised by this latest ethanol result.”

Dianne, one of the self-described “old women” who blog at Cab Drollery, thinks the multinationals are the problem:

At least for the present, investment in multiple non-carbon-based fuel sources is still necessary. Solar, wind, wave, and, yes, even biofuels produced by agricultural waste products, will all have a role to play. However, the side effects also have to be considered in the same fashion as the studies on corn-based biofuels. But then, you all knew that. So, I suspect, do governments and even the multinational corporations like Archer Daniel Midlands and Cargill. It’s just that it’s hard for those entities to think beyond the current bottom line. I guess it’s up to us to educate them, even if it means that harsh tactics such as elections and boycotts have to be used.

“In the short term it can be argued they may be a useful way is to ween ourselves off of foreign oil, but everything I’ve read so far suggests even if biofuel production was firing on all cylinders, we’d still have to purchase a ton of oil from the Middle East,” notes Justin Gardner at the nonpartisan site Donklephant. “Time to start thinking about nuclear energy?”

Well, at least the Times story indicates that the scientists are thinking more broadly.

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