Biofuels:Bad for the Planet

Yet more evidence that biofuels are part of the problem, not the solution:

Rapeseed and maize biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. The concerns were raised over the levels of emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Scientists found that the use of biofuels released twice as much as nitrous oxide as previously realised. The research team found that 3 to 5 per cent of the nitrogen in fertiliser was converted and emitted. In contrast, the figure used by the International Panel on Climate Change, which assesses the extent and impact of man-made global warming, was 2 per cent. The findings illustrated the importance, the researchers said, of ensuring that measures designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are assessed thoroughly before being hailed as a solution.

Well, quite. We want indeed to have a proper cost benefit analysis of all of the things that are being proposed. Landfill, for example, has lower emissions than wormeries in dealing with food and garden waste. You\’ll note though that government action is to increase the use of wormeries and reduce landfill. You\’ll already know that the recycling of green glass into road surfacing increases emissions rather than reduces them: and that government policy is to increase the use of green glass in roads. You\’ll now know, from the above, that biofuels (except in the limited sense of driving off old chip fat) increases rather than reduces emissions. And the EU and the US are in an orgy of subsidy for this increase in emissions.

Those who insist that government actions are going to save us obviously haven\’t been paying attention.

2 comments on “Biofuels:Bad for the Planet

  1. I’m not sure you’ve ever linked to any data on recycling efficiency – would be interesting to see it.

    [also, sugar cane-based biofuels *do* produce substantial greenhouse gas savings over fossil fuels – it’s specifically rapeseed and maize that are useless.]

    Tim adds: The WRAP report is the only official one I think. That’s is, unfortunately, about what is already recycled, not about what it is proposed that we recycle. That’s where (I think) the green glass story comes from. There’s also been a piece in The Times, the same author has written at the ASI and TCS about the same thing: the time taken to recycle costs money. Can’t remember his name though….

  2. Pingback: Blue Crab Boulevard » Stop Greenhouse Gases! Stop Using Biofuel!

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