Thursday, May 10, 2007

Green fuels on the wrong track?

John Vidal's article makes sound sense in pointing out some of the systemic traps in policies that pursue 'green fuels' developments. It is:

'based on the most comprehensive survey yet of energy crops, such as palm oil, maize, sugar cane, soya and jatropha, with 30 UN agencies contributing.'

Some green fuels development may be OK in Brasil or parts of Argentina (but even there it can be pursued at the expense of habitat destruction). The expansion of corn-based fuel production in the US just does not add up in environmental terms and seems to me a purely political ploy to appease powerful mid-west US interests.

Studies also vary greatly in their boundary conditions and thus what is internalized or externalized to the 'system of interest'. For example, in this University of Minnesota study benefits from ethanol are seen as positive because gain is attributed to livestock production without 'problematising' the issues associated with the environmental sustainability of their animal production systems.

No comments: