Biofuels and their costs - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-18-2006, 02:20 PM
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The human and environmental costs are immense and need to be taken into account as we turn desperately to biofuels to continue our unsustainable way of life:

"Poor developing nations are to feed the voracious appetites of rich countries for biofuels instead of their own hungry masses, and suffer the devastation of their natural forests and biodiversity.

The next European colonisation has begun

The end of cheap oil and the impending fuel crisis have convinced the European Union and the United States to seriously tackle their long-standing and worsening addiction to oil, not by kicking the habit, but by guzzling biofuels instead. These carbon neutral fuels biodiesel or bioethanol - make even committed environmentalists feel good about getting into their SUVs, as they do not contribute to carbon emissions. Burning biofuels simply sends back into the atmosphere carbon dioxide that the plants took out when they were growing in the field. The snag is that there simply isnt sufficient arable land on which to grow all the biofuel crops needed to satisfy the voracious appetites of the industrialised nations.

So, the next phase of colonisation has begun. The industrialised countries are looking to the Third World to feed their addiction: the land is there for the taking as is cheap labour, and the environmental damages of large plantations, biofuels extraction and refining can all be outsourced, exactly as they were in the extraction of crude oil. Brazil is already currently the main supplier of bioethanol to the United Kingdom, and is looking to greatly increasing its exports elsewhere (see Box)."

"Environmentalists are usually supportive of biofuels for their lower rates of pollution, while others like the idea of reducing dependence on Middle East oil since many biodiesel crops can be grown in friendly territories or even domestically produced. With this in mind, policymakers from Asia to Europe have shown interest and have made a major push to promote and adopt biofuels.

So, why is oil palm cultivation a concern? For environmentalists the problem with palm oil as a source of biodiesel lies in the nature of how the crop is produced. In recent years, vast areas of natural forest have been cleared across tropical Asia for oil palm plantations. This conversion has reduced biodiversity, increased vulnerability to catastrophic fires, and affected local communities dependent on services and products provided by forest ecosystems."
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#2 Old 09-18-2006, 04:19 PM
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Yep, that's why I cringe when I see all this ethanol crap all over the news and TV. People just want a simple solution and think that this is it. I can't even imagine how much land is going to be destroyed in the next few years...
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#3 Old 09-18-2006, 05:48 PM
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Some people tout these schemes as "good for poor farmers" but the destruction of forests isn't good for anyone, especially the people who live in those regions. When the forests are cut down the rivers dry up, or alternate dry and flash flooding, wells dry up, and even the local rainfall can be affected. It's imperative that everyone learn more about the importance of forests to the wellbeing of local communities. Monocultural plantations don't serve the same functions as forests.

People can be helped by preserving or replanting multi-use forests, which protect the watershed and also allow people to grow their own food and some products for sale.
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#4 Old 09-19-2006, 06:59 PM
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Ethanol = poor attempt at competition against hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells
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#5 Old 09-21-2006, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by troub View Post

Ethanol = poor attempt at competition against hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells

Hydrogen? Did someone recently discover a cheap reliable source of hydrogen that I don't know about? Cause last I checked hydrogen was more of an energy carrier than an energy source. You might as well just use electric cars. The only benefit hydrogen has is that you can fill up at a gas station instead of charging your car at home. Although I'm sure the occasional explosion might be entertaining.

I vote we all ride bikes or get rollerblades and hyperactive dogs.

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