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BioFuels from Crops – Answer to Climate Change and Global Warming?

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Biofuels were all the rage during the Bush administration which mandated the use of biofuels for the Transportation Industry.It led to a huge boom in biofuel stocks like Verasun,Pacific Ethanol due to a confluence of positive factors like a) Increasing Oil Prices  b) Regulatory Action c) Low Raw Material Prices.However Biofuels from Crops can never be  a meaningful answer to the problems of Climate Change and Global Warming due to the fact that

  1. A large part of the world’s 6 billion population lives in hunger
  2. Water and Land needed for Crops are becoming a Scarce Resource as per capita consumption and population both rise
  3. Inevitable Increase in Crop Prices increases the Raw Material prices
  4. Growing Demand for Biofuels lead to deforestation perversely contributing to Global Warming

I think governmental support for biofuels is totally misdirected just like it is for Carbon Sequestration.Both Solutions contribute to the Problem rather than being a Solution.I think both of these approaches have a very limited use in solving the Climate Change problem.

Limited biofuel land compatible with food -industry-  Reuters

A large but limited amount of land can be used to provide plant-based fuel without cutting the world’s food supply, environmentalists and consultants told a global biofuels gathering on Wednesday.Martina Fleckenstein of the World Wild Fund for Nature said the WWF estimated 380-450 million hectares could be sustainably planted for fuel feedstocks, alongside 1.6 billion ha needed to guarantee the world’s food supply.

Estimates on how much of the world’s energy supply could be met by biofuels varied widely.Hamelinck predicted 50 percent, while Enrique Cerda, a professor of genetics at Seville University, said data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization showed biofuels could only provide 3 percent of the total energy supply.Hamelinck urged biofuel manufacturers to use raw materials grown with sustainable water supplies, and without eroding soil or using land needed to maintain biodiversity.

PG

Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in