First we need an intensive discussion before start fermenting food to alcohol
I just read an interesting article from “The Ecologist” – I think we really should look to the facts and scientific basics first.
Biofuels - facts and fiction
The Ecologist, 19/02/2007 http://www.theecologist.org/archive_detail.asp?content_id=755
It is very interesting that besides the questionable energy balances the economic gains of biofuels depend heavily on subsidies. http://lists.iisd.ca
So there is also a need to discuss perverse subsidies in relation to biofuels and biodiversity. (I think, if subsidies in the agro- and/or natural resource sector really could be called ‘perverse’ it is also in relation to biofuels.);
(AD perverse subsidies: http://www.oecd.org/LongAbstract/0,2546,en_2649_34285_19819813_119829_1_1_37425,00.html
And there are also critical voices within the agricultural world like the Canadian NFU Director of Research , Darrin Qualman. He points out in an article, 'Biodiesel and ethanol can't fuel this civilization'http://www.cjly.net/deconstructingdinner/uf_january_2007.pdf
Thus as a solution:
1. We should stopp to transform food into fuel, just because it makes economic sense in the short run, or because it just fits into the political strategies of the western world.
Just take out the energy intensive inputs like nitrogen fertilizers from agricultural production (use fertilizer taxes) and the so called food surpluses will diminish and a lot more energy could be saved. (Why don#t we discuss strong energy taxes as an economic incentive to reach energy efficiency??? Hypothesis: The global trade of permits will lead to an unjust global distribution; and this will have consequences.)
2. If we need energy from natural resources we should use wood or cellulose plants and we should plant them on land which is not favourable for food-production. “USE WOOD not FOOD for ENERGY and RAW MATERIALS”.
3. Still we have to keep in mind that natural resources are also very limited; more limited than fossil fuels.
It is an absolute waste and destruction of nature and biodiversity to use the energy of plants to move around our heavy cars – hundreds of millions and in future may be billions of cars.
We should know: The car industry and the fuel industry in the actual form have to die and they must be transformed into other concepts of mobility and into other concepts of life on a low energy level.
And we should keep in mind that we do not have too many people on this earth, but too many cars made of heavy steel. If we do not accept this knowledge, we never will get rid of the global hunger crisis (850 million people), wars on resources, terrorism and the destruction of the global ecosystems.
(Federal Institute for Less-Favoured and Mountainous Areas, Viennna
posted on 2007-02-26 11:50 UTC by Dr Josef Hoppichler, Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management