May 14, 2007

NATURE’S CLIMATE CHANGE BLOG features warnings about biofuels:

Warnings that switching to biofuels as a ‘clean’ energy source could threaten food security and increase deforestation have become increasingly stark this week. . . .

The report warned that increasing production of liquid biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, could increase the price of agricultural commodities with negative economic and social impacts, especially for the world’s poor who spend a large proportion of income on food. It also raised the issue that, where forests are cleared to make way for energy crops, GHG emissions may actually be higher overall from biofuels than from fossil fuels.

Read the whole thing. I think that we need to think carefully before pushing too hard in any one direction here. Experimentation is good, but I don’t think we know enough to go full bore yet.

UPDATE: Reader Kirk Parker emails:

Regarding your comment on the “warnings about biofuels” item:

I think that we need to think carefully before pushing too hard in any one direction here.

Agreed, but it’s worth explicitly pointing out that “not pushing to hard an any one direction” can can most easily be achieved by following strict policies of (1) no government subsidies, and (2) no government mandates as to fuel content or formulation. “Letting the market decide”, in this case, isn’t just libertarian dogma–it’s actually the best way to ensure that the costs for things like alcohol or other bio fuel content approximate their actual cost of production–which, in turn, is at least an approximation of the energy cost and environmental impact required to produce them, and certainly a better approximation than some bureaucrat (or lobbyist for ADM) could come up with.


Comments are closed.
InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to