In which I agree with Friends of the Earth

OK, so biofuels create more CO2 than they save. Well done guys, you\’ve woken up. However:

The environmental group\’s executive director Andy Atkins said: "Until ministers can do their sums properly and prove that growing crops for fuel actually cuts carbon, the Government should stop biofuels being added to UK petrol and diesel.

Absolutely, it\’s necessary to do the sums before you start to advocate a particular course of action.

Proper cost benefit analyses. Something of a mantra around this blog really….glad to see that FoE are now on board. I fully expect them to provide such for all their future pleadings.

6 thoughts on “In which I agree with Friends of the Earth”

  1. Idiots are lobbying the wrong Government. They need the one that has all the power, it’s headquarters is in Brussels, and it’s called the EU.

  2. Its even more stiking than you say.

    The key word is prove. Not show on balance of probability, or even convince us overall, but prove.

    Do the greenies now need proof of the value of particular actions? That would destroy their entire movement.

  3. Is it the case that all plants are the same? If not, is it fair to assume that an average is representative? Or should we allow, as the market does, for variation between circumstances?

    CBA is inaccurate, dependent on many assumptions to minimize the usually wide range of uncertainties and tries to pretend that incommensurable factors are somehow commensurable. All the same, as a tool for individual organisations to try to measure the individual balance of merits regarding individual projects, it’s fine if they want to make it part of their toolbag. But it is lousy as a guide for which supposedly-homogeneous technologies government should approve or disapprove, support or punish.

    The government doesn’t need to do a CBA for biofuels. It needs to properly internalize the social cost of carbon, and then we will discover which biofuels stack up and which don’t.

    Tim adds: Gah, I hate this talk of “incommensurable”. It came up form some philosophy grad in the comments in a piece I did at the Guardian. Apprently you can´t compare the value of polar bears and human lifespans. They are incommensurable.

    But we don´t compare the values of lifespans and polar bears. We compare the value that human beings put on lifespans and the value that human beings put upon polar bears. Nothing incommensurable about that.

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