Wed Oct 24th, 2007 at 05:54:06 AM EST
An IM conversation provoked by the new Party of European Socialists "Manifesto 2009" interactive site that we're hoping one of their people is going to announce properly:
Migeru: The PES manifesto page has an entry about biofuels which assumes that biofuels are a solution to global warming!!!
Colman: What? I missed that one!
Migeru: "A much favored cure for global warming might be worse than the disease. According to a new report the use hydrogen and other biofuels will make energy prices more changeable, increase food prices and even result in a higher emission of greenhouse gases."
Colman: That doesn't assume that.
Migeru: "a much favoured cure for global warming might be worse thanthe disease"
Migeru: means biofuels are a much favoured cure for global warming
Colman: Uh, growing crops and burning them for fuels should have zero net CO2 output
Colman: If they're not being fed with petrochemicals.
Migeru: As opposd to being eaten and pooped and returned to the earth in which case they capture CO2
Colman: Well, not if they're then composted and grown from again.
Colman: CO2 is part of the output of the decay process.
Migeru: It seems marginal, in any case
Colman: Not compared to using fossil fuels.
Colman: If you could replace all fossil fuel use with biofuels you'd have zero CO2 output from the process. Very slightly negative in fact.
Colman: I think.
Colman: Because the cycle ends up locking carbon in unusable forms.
Migeru: Another one..."Surely it must be possible to produce biofuel without compromising food production and destroying the environment?"
Colman: That's a question looking for a positive answer. A bit plantive.
Migeru: Well, surely not
Colman: Second generation stuff (using waste from food production) could satisfy that requirement, in theory.
Migeru: I gave them our estimate that the entire EU oil production is not enough to replace 10% of the diesel
Colman: But the capacity of second generation produciton is another matter.
Migeru: Currently it is zero
Colman: And since we don't know what its output would be we don't know what it could do.
Migeru: It's experimental technology
Migeru: Of course, the EU could just source its biofuels from Brazil and Indonesia
Migeru: The market will provide, and all that
Colman: Not exactly sustainable, maybe.
Colman: I don't know what effect that would have on soil depletion.
Migeru: But it's not the EU's problem, is it?
Colman: It is in my book.
Colman: Now, I'm going to cut and paste this discussion into a diary.
There's a pile of not very well sourced assumptions in that!