Nov 162010

As the myth around global warming begins to unravel and Operation Desperation sets in, it’s important for the public to know why biofuels aren’t the answer to solving global warming. For those that don’t know, biofuels are alternative energy sources derived from living matter, as opposed to fossil fuels, such as oil, which are derived from nonliving matter. The most common biofuel is a blend of gasoline called E85, which means it’s 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol. However, the gasoline and ethanol content changes depending on the season. During cold weather, more gasoline needs to be added to the mixture to ensure the fuel works properly, so E85 is at least 70% ethanol.

If biofuels are going to reduce our dependency on foreign oil, what’s the big deal? Ethanol, without consideration of other factors, could cut our dependency on foreign oil. However, ethanol as a fuel still requires gasoline to function properly. As stated in the previous paragraph, cold weather is especially trying for ethanol and therefore more gasoline has to be added to the mix – as much as 200% more gasoline. Again, if this were the only problem, a 70% overall reduction in regular oil-based gasoline consumption would cause the price of oil to sink like a rock.

But it’s not entirely about the reduction of petroleum-based fuel. Biofuels such as E85 are causing food shortages globally. Corn is the primary food base from which ethanol is derived. Since corn is grown and harvested by farmers, there is a finite amount of land that can be used to produce corn. The demand for the corn crop has grown substantially due to the push for biofuels while the supply has struggled to keep up. Corn is more profitable to grow now due to the increased demand, so those in agriculture are growing more corn at the sacrifice of wheat and soy. Instead of a shortage in one staple crop, corn, there is now a shortage in two additional food staples: wheat and soy. This brings on three new sets of problems: lack of land on which to grow corn and other staples, soaring food prices and, yes, potential starvation of the poor.

Remember the early days of global warming when all it took to save the world was to plant a few trees? As if every day was Arbor Day, the environmentalists pushed their tree-hugging agenda on anyone that would listen. Trees were the cornerstone of the green movement and suddenly every major corporation prominently displayed the recycled content on their containers, proud to be a part of saving the world. Now the tree-hugging philosophy may fail as more land is needed to produce corn – and that land will have to come from deforestation. Millions of carbon dioxide-breathing trees may meet their end as the demand for biofuels increases over the coming years and decades. And a recent study found that converting land to use for biofuel crops worsens global warming. Buy a gallon, kill a tree.

If you eat anything, you’re not immune to the skyrocketing food prices. Just as higher oil prices have caused the price of goods to increase due to higher transportation costs, the price of corn has jumped significantly – around 30% already this year – due to the push of biofuels. As if that weren’t enough, wheat and soy prices have followed similar paths due to short supply, all thanks to global warming and the effort to reduce our collective carbon footprints. Isn’t it the poor that our friends on the environmentally-friendly left always want to help by taking our hard-earned tax dollars and redistributing them to the needy? Get ready to be gouged even more as Hatians are eating mud cookies because they can’t afford corn and residents of Kenya are rioting over food.

You see, the push to stop global warming is hurting the very people that the left-leaning wing of this world has fought so hard to protect make more dependent on the government for subsidies. With food prices causing the poor to become even more destitute, you can count on more tax dollars being pulled from your paycheck to cover the cost. With ethanol costing about the same as gasoline, there are two possible scenarios ahead of us. If those of us that are educated about ethanol choose not to buy the product because of the side-effects, maybe the decreased demand will help food prices to drop.

Unfortunately, ethanol is a government-subsidized product and they can pump more dollars into lowering the price further, which will spark interest in the new fuel and increase demand. It’s a no-win situation for the informed consumer. Our only hope is that global warming is truly found to be a hoax so we can go back living normal lives without fear of potentially starving our neighbors every time we fill up.

Managing Editor, Skeptics Global Warming

Author: TM Powers
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