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South Shields premier political blog

Fossil fuels produce less CO2 than biodiesel

with 2 comments

Government forcing production of biodiesel which pumps out more CO2 than petrol.

Using biofuel in vehicles may be accelerating the destruction of rainforest and resulting in higher greenhouse gas emissions than burning pure petrol and diesel, a watchdog said yesterday.

The Renewable Fuels Agency also warned that pump prices could rise in April because of the Government’s policy of requiring fuel companies to add biofuel to petrol and diesel. More than 1.3 million hectares of land — twice the area of Devon — was used to grow the 2.7 per cent of Britain’s transport fuel that came from crops last year.

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, a growing proportion of biofuel must be added to diesel and petrol. This year fuel must be at least 3.25 per cent biofuel on average. By 2020 the proportion will be 13 per cent………………..

Most companies met part of their biofuel obligation by buying palm oil, one of the cheapest fuels but potentially the most damaging to the environment because of the carbon released when forest is burnt down to create plantations.

Expansion of the industry has made Indonesia the third-largest CO2 emitter after China and the US. A litre of palm oil produced on land converted from Indonesian forest produces roughly three times as much CO2 as ordinary diesel.

Can somebody please explain to me why and how public policy has become so muddle headed and disjointed in the face of this climate change/global warming malarkey? I’d love to know why public policy hasn’t backed innovative inventions that actually do result in lower carbon emissions, and we we continue to build and promote vehicles that run on fossil fuels, surely modern technology can provide good alternatives? I guess the answer to my question revolves around the power and influence of oil companies and states in politically sensitive or unstable regions that have leverage over western economies. Why else should compressed air motors not be running around our streets?

Seriously this biodiesel thing is as clever as wind turbines sat under a high pressure weather system!

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Written by curly

February 1, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Energy, environment, News, Technology

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2 Responses

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  1. Firstly let me declare that I am a very strong “AGW denier”.

    The “logic” behind Biofuels is that they take any carbon in their make-up from the environment (air & soil) whilst they are growing and so when they are burnt they merely return said carbon to the atmosphere. The result is that the net carbon budget is zero. Apart from the cost of sowing, fertilising, reaping, distilling, distribution etc.

    Fossil fuels are not allowed to count the carbon they were made from, which was taken from the atmosphere millions of years ago, on the credit side, so all their emissions count against them.

    Great Green-washing eh!

    The fact that biofuels replace crops grown for feeding human beings is not taken into account.

    I refer you to http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/ for a more complete story. The attendant blog is also worth reading.

    JohnOfEnfield

    February 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

  2. It is in deed very easy to make uninformed remarks about a subject, especially a complicated one like biofuels! First off, not all biofuels are the same. There are good and bad methods to grow and produce biofuels. Biofuels that are produced sustainably reduce greenhouse gas emmissions (directly and indirectly – taking land use changes into account!!) and are much better to use than fossil fuels. Next up, there are international bodies being setup to make this assessment regarding the practices used to produce biofuels so that consumers can make informed decisions about what actually goes into their cars or airplanes. Fossil fuels need to be cut back not only because they are really bad for the environment in the way they are produced and they emissions they give out when they are used, but also because we are running out of them sooner or later and they will need to be replaced. Secondly, the amount of biofuels currently produced use less than 2% of all arable land in the world and do not have any significant impact on food production or prices. The food price hike in 2007 and 2008 was directly linked to oil prices, not biofuel production! It is a pity that the proliferation of the internet has allowed anyone and everyone to post their ill informed remarks publicly!

    FB

    March 31, 2010 at 2:22 pm


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