My Word, This is a Surprise

George Monbiot is actually spot on.

Apart from used chip fat, there is no such thing as a sustainable biofuel.

OK, so he blathers around about peak oil etc, but on the biofuels point he\’s entirely correct. As a number of people (ahem) have been saying for some time. We might be able to get somewhere with algae, we might not, but all of these other methods make the problem worse, not better.

The lesson being of course that we rather need to stop governments trying to pick winners, stop them mandating technologies that must be used. They\’re clearly incompetent at it.

5 comments on “My Word, This is a Surprise

  1. I assume George Monbiot is saving his condemnation of wind-farms until after the government has half covered the country.

  2. “Meantime their health Stasi try to ensure that there will be no chip fat.”

    Don’t worry: there’s always a ready supply of chip fat. Hmmmmmn, deep-fried Soylent Green…

  3. chip fat already has the carbon footprint of the using country(US 20 tons,UK,10 tons) so it recovers a smidgeon of that ..

  4. What’s most surprising is that the biofuel advocates are only now working this out.
    Clearing out some old books recently, I came across a collection of articles by Jerry Pournell written in the early 70’s. That’s when the prevailing consensus was that we were all going to be buried under the advancing ice sheets before the end of the century so he was writing about biofuels as an alternative to expensive oil. He pointed out that the plants most suitable for biofuel production – those with high yield per acre, high usable proportion of crop mass; rice, wheat, cane, potatoes etc – are the same as we use for food crops. Why? Because that’s what we’ve spent the last 10,000 years breeding them for. So if you want to grow biofuel either you grow less food or you chop down some forest for more agricultural land.
    Actually, I can’t see much of a problem with the latter from a carbon point of view. Trees are lousy at turning atmospheric CO² into themselves. Go & chop down any forest – rain, deciduous or conifer – and when you’ve cleared the wood away all that’s left is a couple of inches of dead leaves & then your looking at bedrock. Clay, chalk, sand or whatever. All the carbon is in the wood. The forest just recycles the same carbon round & round. Try digging under grassland that’s been down for a few hundred years & you find yards & yards of soil.That soil’s over 25% carbon. Tons of it. Agriculture creates soil at many times the natural rate & as it does so it locks up carbon. So does the furniture that you made out of all that forest. So cutting down the rainforest & growing ethanol would probably reduce atmospheric CO²
    If you’re bothered.

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