Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I am just being ironic.

Well, I wish I were just being ironic. The EU sees no problem in sourcing their biofuels on the international market. Which means that any benefits of biofules to "energy security" are lost. Unless "energy security" means "it's better to depend on the Brazilians and Indonesians than on the Arabs and Russians".

Then again, transportation by ship is very cheap and doesn't have a large impact (relatively speaking). Nobody flies fuel around, it's transported in tankers.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 06:27:24 AM EST
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It's clear that the EU cannot reach its targets without massive imports of agrofuels from tropical regions. It's equally clear that we would thus be buying into a plantation monoculture that is bad in terms of soil loss but even more worrying in terms of rainforest destruction. Sustainable, not -- even if one imagines the transport of the fuels is "neutral".

As for indigenous production (European maize, wheat, rapeseed, etc) it's nothing more than a gimmick designed to permit continuing distribution of subsidies to industrial farming.

Second-generation: well, we've always said it might come through. And the sustainability issues might be considerably less (though some dispute that), because coppiced wood plantations and high-cellulose-yield grasses could be sustainably managed on marginal land.

But second-generation methods don't seem to be steaming ahead. What captures the attention and the $bucks/€bucks is food crops used as feedstock.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 12:30:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... yes, food crops as feedstock, because they already have a well-developed political machine for generating subsidies.

This is why I've longishly (well, at least since early last year) argued for subsidies to be focused on soil conservation payments for perennial crops that are potential feedstocks ... so if low-heat cellulosic ethanol or other 2-gen biofuel technologies don't pan out, we still have the soil.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 05:53:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, food crops as feedstock, because they already have a well-developed political machine

and because the preponderance of "food" crops grown by agribiz are already feedstock for the industrial processes that create the industrial fodder loosely called "food" by those who have never tasted the real thing.  as Pollan documents, the cracking plants already in place for processing maize into all its fractions are as massive, as technomanagerially centralised and energy-intensive as any fuel ethanol or oil production process.  turning plants into industrial swill is what the "food" sector knows how to do best, they are already geared up for it...  and the energy crunch comes at a time when the ultraprocessed factory food is losing ground, an inch at a time, to more wholesome dietary options...  threatening to render the whole top-heavy profit-taking monopoly system obsolete.  what's not to like (from the ADM/GM pov) about diversifying or lifeboating into cracking industrial corn and soy into automobile fuel?  it's so similar to what they already do, there's little to no retooling -- least of all retooling of their conceptual armamentarium -- the real problem.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 06:49:04 PM EST
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