Opinion: Biofuels, Food Prices and Global Warming Roundup

 

The current rate at which biofuels are falling out of favor is largely founded on biased ideologies, which have been shaped by widespread political and corporate agenda-pushing from all sides of the fence.Biofuels food and climate change

But first, a digression.

Part 1: When an egg was just an egg

I remember a time when an egg was just an egg. Nobody argued about that. It was a blissful time. Yet, for all its strengths, it was a fragile time held together by unsupported conclusions and limited knowledge.





Part 2: The Time of the Bad Egg

Like many a simple concept before it, the idea of an egg as “just an egg” was consumed in a storm of health consciousness and bad hair. I shall call this storm “the 80s.” Richard Simmons was sweating to the oldies, and cholesterol, it was determined, should be ripped from your body. Just like that, eggs were bad.

Part 3: The Time of Ambiguity; When an Egg is Only Halfway Decent if Eaten in Moderation

Luckily for us, we snapped out of the 80s. Sweatbands disappeared and Jazzercise faded from our collective memory. We got around to doing some research and found that there are such things as good cholesterol and bad cholesterol. Turns out you need some of both to remain healthy. And eggs were good again…. but only if you eat less than 7 a week.

Part 4: The Point

From a human health perspective eggs are confusing, and still not very well understood. They’ve been researched to death, yet we still don’t know exactly how they interact with the human body. The only thing I can say about eggs with any confidence is that in ten years time, new research will make the case for eggs even more confusing, yet people will still eat them.

And eggs are tiny.

Now scale up… no, go larger. Ah, that’s it, something Earth-sized.

In the last decade we’ve come a long way in our ability to measure and understand the Earth and how it works. We’ve realized that perhaps we do have an impact on our environment and that, indeed, there might be a limit to the amount of oil we can squeeze out of our planet.

But the more we’ve figured out, the harder it has become to separate the forest from the trees. The further along we get in trying to change how we power and energize our world, the more we see an increasing global volatility in social, economic, and environmental interactions.

Is it all related, or is it a coincidence? Are biofuels driving up food prices or is it the beginning of the effects of human-caused global warming?  Will biofuels even reduce our effect on global warming? Have biofuels, themselves, caused a spike in oil prices? Holy crap. I don’t know.

“Should I eat eggs or not?” you start to ask yourself.

Then, at just this moment — and like all good vultures, I might add — the opportunists begin to circle overhead, casting shadows on the scurrying populace below.

“How can I further my own group’s agenda given the current climate of confusion?” they ask. “I know, we’ll put egg whites in a box and sell them for ten times the price,” they chorus together.

And the politicization begins and the confusion gets worse.

So what does the latest crop of politicized findings tell us about biofuels, food prices and global warming?

On the topic of food vs. fuel:

Well that certainly settles it, doesn’t it?

On the topic of global warming and energy conservation:

Again, clear as mud.

On the topic of biofuels and rising fuel prices:

Are we sensing a trend here? Damn you, ideological vultures. Stop clouding my vision.

What conclusions can we draw from all this?

If not all biofuels have the same effect on global warming, how could they have the same effect when it comes to food prices? If biofuels only account for 1% of all the world’s fuel production, how can they account for 40% of the world’s rising fuel prices?

Do most people even know what a biofuel actually is? I mean, that sounds like a stupid question, but there’s a huge misconception out there which is driven by a lack of understanding: not all biofuels are created equal. I cannot stress this enough.

Listen to any newscast or radio show dealing with the topic of biofuels and you’ll hear a lot about “ethanol” or “biodiesel,” but you won’t hear a single peep about what type of ethanol or biodiesel it is.

To the average person, a biofuel is a biofuel regardless of whether it’s biodiesel or bioethanol, whether it comes from soybeans or switchgrass, or whether it’s derived from an algal pool or cropland. And this is exactly what the circling vultures want the average person to think. It makes it easier to push agendas.

Just like in the case of our lowly egg, biofuels started with the implicit assumption that they were good. “Of course they’re good” we thought “how could it be bad to grow our own fuel from renewable crops?”

But then the bad hair and the health consciousness set in. “Of course biofuels are bad,” came the conventional wisdom “they’re the root of all our problems.”

And this is where our egg analogy breaks down. You see, an egg is simply an egg. It will always be an egg. Sure, we can pump it with Omega-3s and stuff it in a box with added vitamins and minerals, but it’s still an egg. The source is always the same.

A biofuel can be a multitude of different things with very different sources depending on how it’s made and where it’s used. Unlike eggs, biofuels have ambiguity built-in. For someone to try and convince you otherwise is shameful.

The Take Home:

This built-in ambiguity means that all biofuels must be analyzed and judged independently: you can’t lump biofuels into a single category.

The truth about biofuels is complicated and not easy to explain in 30-second soundbites or 200-word articles. Understanding what they are and what they can accomplish takes some personal initiative.

So when you find yourself wondering whether biofuels are the harbinger of global doom or the bright light at the end of the tunnel, don’t let the vultures convince you that they know what the answer is.

Every single organization on the planet has an agenda to push. Because of the confusion and ambiguity surrounding the production of biofuels, it’s easy to twist the information to suit your message.

Truth is, nobody knows what kind of effect the production of biofuels is having on food prices, global warming, and rising fuel costs. Does that mean we should stop moving forward? No.

It is clear that the world needs some sort of energy solution. Will it be electric derived from solar, wave, wind, or geothermal? Will it be hydrogen? Will it be second generation biofuels? I’d be stupid to answer that question. More than likely it will be a complex combination of the above.

Until such time as we get to where we’re going, we’ll just have to wait and see what comes of it all. In the meantime, it’s important to do research and build markets for all of these things because one day we’ll be in survival mode and need one of them to stave off disaster.

Post related to food vs. fuel and climate change:

Image credits: Cloud picture from kevindooley‘s Flickr photostream. SeQuential gas sign from The Udall Legacy Bus Tour: Views from the Road Flickr photostream. Switchgrass picture from Doctor Swan‘s Flickr photostream. Bread from adactio‘s Flickr photostream. All images reproduced and altered under a Creative Commons license.






About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.

  • Robert Kirsten

    Well put. All biofuels are certainly different, even the fossilized ones. They all contain solar energy though some are of a certain vintage and others the beujolais of the lot. The pendulum certainly swings eternal. The next time it swings back a great deal of progress will be made. I hope.

  • Robert Kirsten

    Well put. All biofuels are certainly different, even the fossilized ones. They all contain solar energy though some are of a certain vintage and others the beujolais of the lot. The pendulum certainly swings eternal. The next time it swings back a great deal of progress will be made. I hope.

  • Here’s an ad that ran on this issue:

    http://www.goodfuels.org/opec/

  • Here’s an ad that ran on this issue:

    http://www.goodfuels.org/opec/

  • Biofuels will not fuel the future and since were are running out of crude, neither will that stuff. The three sources of energy that will fuel the future are the sun and hydrogen with atomic power already in the mix.

  • Justin Wright

    I agree, Seems to me FOOD and reasonable grocery prices are far more important!

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  • Justin Wright

    I agree, Seems to me FOOD and reasonable grocery prices are far more important!

    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

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  • Morgauo

    This is more than just a problem with biofuels. It is a fundamental issue with human nature. People want to see everything in terms of good and bad, like characters in a kid’s cartoon. People don’t want to understand the details of how something can have both advantages and disadvanteges, let alone how there can be multiple types of something with different issues.

    It is also nothing new that politicians, corporate leaders and others take advantage of this. That is how we end up with two political parties that together virtually own the nation to the exclusion of all others. This is how we end up with choices like McCain & O’bama, etc…

  • Morgauo

    This is more than just a problem with biofuels. It is a fundamental issue with human nature. People want to see everything in terms of good and bad, like characters in a kid’s cartoon. People don’t want to understand the details of how something can have both advantages and disadvanteges, let alone how there can be multiple types of something with different issues.

    It is also nothing new that politicians, corporate leaders and others take advantage of this. That is how we end up with two political parties that together virtually own the nation to the exclusion of all others. This is how we end up with choices like McCain & O’bama, etc…

  • Jim

    Ethanol vs food is oil company bs. Oil companies hate ethanol it’s the enemy.

    Learn here http://peswiki.com/index.php/Review:Alcohol_can_be_a_Gas

    Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vq7km9TWL0&feature=related

    David Blume is a 30 year vet with ethanol. Let him school you baby!

  • Jim

    Ethanol vs food is oil company bs. Oil companies hate ethanol it’s the enemy.

    Learn here http://peswiki.com/index.php/Review:Alcohol_can_be_a_Gas

    Here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vq7km9TWL0&feature=related

    David Blume is a 30 year vet with ethanol. Let him school you baby!

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  • Andy

    I don’t see how you came to the conclusion that we should move forward in biofuel production and research. We have plenty of data on solar, wind, wave, nuclear, and geothermal technology that shows that they are all 100% viable, 100% clean alternatives to using fossil fuels. The only people that think biofuels are a good idea are corn farmers who want more subsidies now that the world has realized high fructose corn syrup is causing most of our obesity and diabetes problems. As you mentioned, biofuels are at the bottom of the list in terms of reducing carbon emissions and they are also nowhere near the top in terms of cost-effective energy production. I think out of the carton of emerging energy production technologies, biofuels are the bad egg.

  • Andy

    I don’t see how you came to the conclusion that we should move forward in biofuel production and research. We have plenty of data on solar, wind, wave, nuclear, and geothermal technology that shows that they are all 100% viable, 100% clean alternatives to using fossil fuels. The only people that think biofuels are a good idea are corn farmers who want more subsidies now that the world has realized high fructose corn syrup is causing most of our obesity and diabetes problems. As you mentioned, biofuels are at the bottom of the list in terms of reducing carbon emissions and they are also nowhere near the top in terms of cost-effective energy production. I think out of the carton of emerging energy production technologies, biofuels are the bad egg.

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Andy

    I came to the conclusion that we should research ALL currently unanswered questions about how we can power the world in the future. This is very different than saying we should only research biofuels.

    Also, you are doing exactly what I suggest is the problem in my article by saying that the only people who support biofuels are corn farmers. This implies that the only type of biofuel out there is corn ethanol. Clearly my article did not get through to you.

  • Brent Stephens

    to Andy as well:

    Solar, wind, wave, nuclear and geothermal technologies, although well documented as clean and extremely important to the world’s current & future energy mix, have very little to do with the targets of biofuels: vehicle propulsion. Those technologies are generally electricity generation alternatives, not vehicle fuels. Biofuels are on the list-of-things-to-research partly because they are liquid fuels that may be easily implemented with minimal changes to infrastructure.

    Are you implying the future of transportation lies in clean electricity that then drives electric or hydrogen vehicles? I feel there is a disconnect in your argument. Heavy duty construction vehicles, long-haul trucks, and airplanes – the foundations of our current society – will probably be better served in the near future by biofuels.

  • Brent Stephens

    to Andy as well:

    Solar, wind, wave, nuclear and geothermal technologies, although well documented as clean and extremely important to the world’s current & future energy mix, have very little to do with the targets of biofuels: vehicle propulsion. Those technologies are generally electricity generation alternatives, not vehicle fuels. Biofuels are on the list-of-things-to-research partly because they are liquid fuels that may be easily implemented with minimal changes to infrastructure.

    Are you implying the future of transportation lies in clean electricity that then drives electric or hydrogen vehicles? I feel there is a disconnect in your argument. Heavy duty construction vehicles, long-haul trucks, and airplanes – the foundations of our current society – will probably be better served in the near future by biofuels.

  • Ryan M.

    I have been doing a research project on sugarcane ethanol in Brazil, drawing some connections on the corn ethanol already produced in the US. The success down south is astounding–just seeing two types of fuel available at a “gas” station is fascinating.

    Here is a bit of what I wrote on the subject in another forum (sorry if it is a bit long…)

    Sugarcane cannot grow on land cleared in the rainforest. The climate in the Amazon is not right for its growth. I’m too lazy to find the source, but Lula (Brazil’s President) referred to how the Portuguese knew sugarcane could not grow there. However, there are other areas which face deforestation (if you can call cutting down savanna that). But this issue needs to be taken care of by the government. Heck, Brazil has started taking cows away from farmers who deforest/burn down the Amazon.

    As for the issue of food vs fuel, I’m beginning to realize that the entire problem is the large-scale development of society: Do we want cheap transportation or do we want cheap, fast food? Right now, it costs money to transport the food we eat on our tables over long distances. We use fossil fuels for this purpose.

    Less-developed countries lack the infrastructure to support a large-scale economy and food is not produced on a mass-scale to reduce cost. Theoretically, food in these places would be near the same cost as in developed countries–it simply does not have to travel as far. However, in more developed countries, ethanol production would help surmount the potential* higher prices of food. That is, if ethanol prices are cheaper than those of fossil fuels. Brazilians have started showing this is a reality.

    I can see that there are some trade-offs depending on how each country wants to solve its environmental problems. The Brazilians understand that ethanol cannot replace oil completely, but they have still managed to introduce competition into a market traditionally run by oil companies.

    Nevertheless, I feel if we redivert money internally to corn/sugarcane ethanol or biodiesel, the prices of food should remain fairly stable. Other solutions should be looked at, but I do realize the farm lobby might be the greatest power to go up against the oil lobby. Hmm… the living vs the dead.

  • Ryan M.

    I have been doing a research project on sugarcane ethanol in Brazil, drawing some connections on the corn ethanol already produced in the US. The success down south is astounding–just seeing two types of fuel available at a “gas” station is fascinating.

    Here is a bit of what I wrote on the subject in another forum (sorry if it is a bit long…)

    Sugarcane cannot grow on land cleared in the rainforest. The climate in the Amazon is not right for its growth. I’m too lazy to find the source, but Lula (Brazil’s President) referred to how the Portuguese knew sugarcane could not grow there. However, there are other areas which face deforestation (if you can call cutting down savanna that). But this issue needs to be taken care of by the government. Heck, Brazil has started taking cows away from farmers who deforest/burn down the Amazon.

    As for the issue of food vs fuel, I’m beginning to realize that the entire problem is the large-scale development of society: Do we want cheap transportation or do we want cheap, fast food? Right now, it costs money to transport the food we eat on our tables over long distances. We use fossil fuels for this purpose.

    Less-developed countries lack the infrastructure to support a large-scale economy and food is not produced on a mass-scale to reduce cost. Theoretically, food in these places would be near the same cost as in developed countries–it simply does not have to travel as far. However, in more developed countries, ethanol production would help surmount the potential* higher prices of food. That is, if ethanol prices are cheaper than those of fossil fuels. Brazilians have started showing this is a reality.

    I can see that there are some trade-offs depending on how each country wants to solve its environmental problems. The Brazilians understand that ethanol cannot replace oil completely, but they have still managed to introduce competition into a market traditionally run by oil companies.

    Nevertheless, I feel if we redivert money internally to corn/sugarcane ethanol or biodiesel, the prices of food should remain fairly stable. Other solutions should be looked at, but I do realize the farm lobby might be the greatest power to go up against the oil lobby. Hmm… the living vs the dead.

  • Even biofuel can be improved upon with some of the hho water-as-fuel products, see reviews at inform-me2.com. Check it out. 50-100% mileage increase on your good-old internal combustion engine.

  • Even biofuel can be improved upon with some of the hho water-as-fuel products, see reviews at inform-me2.com. Check it out. 50-100% mileage increase on your good-old internal combustion engine.

  • We can all learn something from what Al Gore had to say the past few weeks. Unless we become self reliant for our energy requirements, we will never again be an independent democratic nation.

    We can start with a fundamental change in our driving habits that is now required.

    The Automobile Industry is going to be in the same position as the Airline Industry in the next few months. Unless we get away from gas combustion vehicles, including Hybrids, the automobile industry (as we know it) will die.We need to make drastic moves. America needs to move to ELECTRIC. The vehicles are not as fast, not always as fun to drive, but the move will save Americans money (Billions) and help bring change to our automotive companies. Let’s “Be Green”!!!!!!!!!!!! BG Automotive Group Ltd. has a car that will travel 80-100 miles per charge for $15,995. Finally a car that most Americans can afford. Did you know that 80% of all drivers, drive less than 50 miles per day? This new car will cost an equivalent of $0.20-0.25 cents/gallon (depending on electricity rates in your area). Why send $700 Billion per year to OPEC (now buying up U.S. companies) when we can use this money for our schools, health care, social security for all Americans, etc, etc, etc. We can make the difference if WE change.

  • We can all learn something from what Al Gore had to say the past few weeks. Unless we become self reliant for our energy requirements, we will never again be an independent democratic nation.

    We can start with a fundamental change in our driving habits that is now required.

    The Automobile Industry is going to be in the same position as the Airline Industry in the next few months. Unless we get away from gas combustion vehicles, including Hybrids, the automobile industry (as we know it) will die.We need to make drastic moves. America needs to move to ELECTRIC. The vehicles are not as fast, not always as fun to drive, but the move will save Americans money (Billions) and help bring change to our automotive companies. Let’s “Be Green”!!!!!!!!!!!! BG Automotive Group Ltd. has a car that will travel 80-100 miles per charge for $15,995. Finally a car that most Americans can afford. Did you know that 80% of all drivers, drive less than 50 miles per day? This new car will cost an equivalent of $0.20-0.25 cents/gallon (depending on electricity rates in your area). Why send $700 Billion per year to OPEC (now buying up U.S. companies) when we can use this money for our schools, health care, social security for all Americans, etc, etc, etc. We can make the difference if WE change.

  • I would say that the biofuels-to-food price link debate has started at a time when people are already fed up of soaring oil and food prices.

    So if anyone as big as OPEC or the Worldbank says something against biofuels, the average guy out there isn’t going to do a research on what biofuels are and how and why they are linked to the food. He’s just going to say ‘oh hell with the climate! I need food first”.

    This is especially true in third world nations like India where the governments aren’t doing enough to educate people about the environment.

    Secondly, to those who are in favor of biofuels and green technologies, we must not forget that we are talking about sustainability if we see the larger picture. And sustainability also includes economic sustainability and society.

  • I would say that the biofuels-to-food price link debate has started at a time when people are already fed up of soaring oil and food prices.

    So if anyone as big as OPEC or the Worldbank says something against biofuels, the average guy out there isn’t going to do a research on what biofuels are and how and why they are linked to the food. He’s just going to say ‘oh hell with the climate! I need food first”.

    This is especially true in third world nations like India where the governments aren’t doing enough to educate people about the environment.

    Secondly, to those who are in favor of biofuels and green technologies, we must not forget that we are talking about sustainability if we see the larger picture. And sustainability also includes economic sustainability and society.

  • Hugh Hemington

    Obviously OPEC has a bias. They have oil and sand. In 20 years, they’ll just have sand. When we could buy theirs before using ours, it made sense, but in 20 years, their economies will collapse along with their social structures and we’d better end our dependence on them before then!

    When judging biofuels, or any other form of energy, it is important to consider the total energy cost of production. From what I’ve read, ethanol from corn requires more energy to produce than it produces. Corn has many uses and each one contributes to it’s value. Adding another use cannot help but increase the cost of corn and the cost of every food product using corn, regardless of its viability.

    Since sugar cane has a higher yield, it offers a net return in energy. I’ve heard that switchgrass shows promise as a source for biofuel. It grows in ground not suitable for food crops, and uses little water.

    Al Gore’s notion of being fossil-fuel free in ten years is laudable but unrealistic. We cannot replace or convert all of the internal-combustion vehicles in the U.S. in ten years. Even with focus, it will take nearly that long to make electricity green, and improve motor and battery technology enough to make electric cars economically viable.

    Hydrogen is a toy. Producing it requires either natural gas and/or electricity — both are more efficiently used in their current form. Conversion to hydrogen can only loose energy in the process. Fuel cells require semi-precious metals that make the vehicles too expensive, and any engine that burns hydrogen could burn natural gas just as well.

    Natural gas is the only fuel that is “ready to use” when we get it, aside from filtration and transportation. It’s not totally clean, but it’s cleaner than anything else we have plenty of today, and it can be used on a broad-scale with current internal combustion engines. It could bridge the gap between gasoline/diesel and electric.

    Hybrids are just paying people less to kill you! We need to stop paying them completely!

    Is there really no consensus on what a gallon of ethanol costs when made from corn (in BTU)? Can you confirm that it either is or is not more than the ethanol offers in energy?

    Thanks,

  • Hugh Hemington

    Obviously OPEC has a bias. They have oil and sand. In 20 years, they’ll just have sand. When we could buy theirs before using ours, it made sense, but in 20 years, their economies will collapse along with their social structures and we’d better end our dependence on them before then!

    When judging biofuels, or any other form of energy, it is important to consider the total energy cost of production. From what I’ve read, ethanol from corn requires more energy to produce than it produces. Corn has many uses and each one contributes to it’s value. Adding another use cannot help but increase the cost of corn and the cost of every food product using corn, regardless of its viability.

    Since sugar cane has a higher yield, it offers a net return in energy. I’ve heard that switchgrass shows promise as a source for biofuel. It grows in ground not suitable for food crops, and uses little water.

    Al Gore’s notion of being fossil-fuel free in ten years is laudable but unrealistic. We cannot replace or convert all of the internal-combustion vehicles in the U.S. in ten years. Even with focus, it will take nearly that long to make electricity green, and improve motor and battery technology enough to make electric cars economically viable.

    Hydrogen is a toy. Producing it requires either natural gas and/or electricity — both are more efficiently used in their current form. Conversion to hydrogen can only loose energy in the process. Fuel cells require semi-precious metals that make the vehicles too expensive, and any engine that burns hydrogen could burn natural gas just as well.

    Natural gas is the only fuel that is “ready to use” when we get it, aside from filtration and transportation. It’s not totally clean, but it’s cleaner than anything else we have plenty of today, and it can be used on a broad-scale with current internal combustion engines. It could bridge the gap between gasoline/diesel and electric.

    Hybrids are just paying people less to kill you! We need to stop paying them completely!

    Is there really no consensus on what a gallon of ethanol costs when made from corn (in BTU)? Can you confirm that it either is or is not more than the ethanol offers in energy?

    Thanks,

  • Fascinating. Your article calls out a problem with understanding the problem space, while contributing to the same confusion. Take, for example, “The World Bank says that the production of biofuels has driven global food prices up 75%.” Using this number is pretty bad cherry picking. It has been widely reported (on, you know, like BBC word freaking service) that is from one study done for the World Bank (there are several) on the impact, and the 75% is “the upper range” in an estimate. And that’s just one of this sort of journalistic non-analytical use of “factoids” you’re using there.

    Gas 2.0 needs to figure out if it is sensationalist Green journalism, or if it seeks to be a credible source of analysis.

  • Fascinating. Your article calls out a problem with understanding the problem space, while contributing to the same confusion. Take, for example, “The World Bank says that the production of biofuels has driven global food prices up 75%.” Using this number is pretty bad cherry picking. It has been widely reported (on, you know, like BBC word freaking service) that is from one study done for the World Bank (there are several) on the impact, and the 75% is “the upper range” in an estimate. And that’s just one of this sort of journalistic non-analytical use of “factoids” you’re using there.

    Gas 2.0 needs to figure out if it is sensationalist Green journalism, or if it seeks to be a credible source of analysis.

  • Nick Chambers

    @ Alex

    I appreciate your concern over the cherry picking. In fact, I’m glad that you point it out. But I’m afraid you’ve missed my point.

    My intention wasn’t to explain where each number came from or exactly what statistics were applied to it — as you say, that’s been done. My intention was to take extreme points of view from each end of the spectrum and use them to make it clear that opinions vary widely — making it confusing and extremely difficult to sort out for the average person.

    I guess I could have gone on for pages and pages about every single little detail associated with each analysis that’s been done, but that seems counterproductive when my point can be gotten across with a *much* smaller amount of information and without losing readers in a stream of boredom.

    Really, my main point has nothing to do with the analysis of the claims of each individual organization and everything to do with oversimplification of complex topics to the point where it becomes easy to cherry pick information and twist it to your message — hence the deliberate cherry picking.

  • Travis

    It’s amazing how somebody can read an article and turn around and spout verbage that is exactly what the article says is a problem. Way to go Andy!

    Secondly, the issue that Nick raises is a problem with all things environmental. For example, when people say things like “eating meat is bad, we should all be vegetarians because it is better for the planet.” That is a HUGE oversimplification of a very complex issue.

    We should be asking…What kind of meat? Where and how was it raised? Is it shipped to you across the counrty, the world? How is it shipped?

    The same questions can be asked of a meat alternative such as tofu. Where was it grown? What land were replaced with soybeans for the tofu to be grown? Is it shipped across the world to your grocer? etc. etc.

    Only until we answer these questions for specific comparisons can we actually answer a simple question like “should we eat meat or tofu?”.

    We must start breaking these things down in our daily lives so we can make better choices for our health and the health of the planet. Rather, we just say things like “The only people that think biofuels are a good idea are corn farmers who want more subsidies.” That is akin to saying “only vegetarians think tofu is a good idea because they hate the production of meat.”

    It’s gross oversimplification and it needs to stop.

  • Travis

    It’s amazing how somebody can read an article and turn around and spout verbage that is exactly what the article says is a problem. Way to go Andy!

    Secondly, the issue that Nick raises is a problem with all things environmental. For example, when people say things like “eating meat is bad, we should all be vegetarians because it is better for the planet.” That is a HUGE oversimplification of a very complex issue.

    We should be asking…What kind of meat? Where and how was it raised? Is it shipped to you across the counrty, the world? How is it shipped?

    The same questions can be asked of a meat alternative such as tofu. Where was it grown? What land were replaced with soybeans for the tofu to be grown? Is it shipped across the world to your grocer? etc. etc.

    Only until we answer these questions for specific comparisons can we actually answer a simple question like “should we eat meat or tofu?”.

    We must start breaking these things down in our daily lives so we can make better choices for our health and the health of the planet. Rather, we just say things like “The only people that think biofuels are a good idea are corn farmers who want more subsidies.” That is akin to saying “only vegetarians think tofu is a good idea because they hate the production of meat.”

    It’s gross oversimplification and it needs to stop.

  • Rich

    I read this article it still doesnt explain what biofuel does for our world, but i disagree alot with Andy’s attitude towards biofuel, 1 question for u Andy, how on earth are u supposed to use wind, wave nuclear and geothermal, in a motor vehicle, i mean to have something of this magnitude to produce to 100% clean results, wouldnt be possible. As for food price increase will biofuel wont effect it as much as u might believe, the food increase is due to bad weather crops failing, and population explosion, 5 yrs ago 5 bags of corn would feed 10 people no-one looked ahead to say “hey hang on a minute in 5yrs time we will have 50% more people to feed shouldnt we look at making preparations in making sure we have food to feed them” the answer was no, lets stay as we are and increase food/fuel prices up so we can make more money….. the bottom line of this is those on top have been always will be GREEDY.

  • Rich

    I read this article it still doesnt explain what biofuel does for our world, but i disagree alot with Andy’s attitude towards biofuel, 1 question for u Andy, how on earth are u supposed to use wind, wave nuclear and geothermal, in a motor vehicle, i mean to have something of this magnitude to produce to 100% clean results, wouldnt be possible. As for food price increase will biofuel wont effect it as much as u might believe, the food increase is due to bad weather crops failing, and population explosion, 5 yrs ago 5 bags of corn would feed 10 people no-one looked ahead to say “hey hang on a minute in 5yrs time we will have 50% more people to feed shouldnt we look at making preparations in making sure we have food to feed them” the answer was no, lets stay as we are and increase food/fuel prices up so we can make more money….. the bottom line of this is those on top have been always will be GREEDY.

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  • Well this was interesting to read…I agree there is a lot of misinformation out there at the moment – im finding it really hard to find actual facts without all the sensationalism green hype BS. Anywho, I’m generally against the fact that people are chopping down rainforests to plant all these crops…I think it was in brazil or something.

    Btw they already have an AIR powered car…so whoever who laughed at the guy who suggested solar/wind/watever, technology’s moving pretty fast. ;D

  • Well this was interesting to read…I agree there is a lot of misinformation out there at the moment – im finding it really hard to find actual facts without all the sensationalism green hype BS. Anywho, I’m generally against the fact that people are chopping down rainforests to plant all these crops…I think it was in brazil or something.

    Btw they already have an AIR powered car…so whoever who laughed at the guy who suggested solar/wind/watever, technology’s moving pretty fast. ;D

  • Well this was interesting to read…I agree there is a lot of misinformation out there at the moment – im finding it really hard to find actual facts without all the sensationalism green hype BS. Anywho, I’m generally against the fact that people are chopping down rainforests to plant all these crops…I think it was in brazil or something.

    Btw they already have an AIR powered car…so whoever who laughed at the guy who suggested solar/wind/watever, technology’s moving pretty fast. ;D

  • Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

  • Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.