Seems like biofuels may not be the way to go...... - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Seems like biofuels may not be the way to go......

Top scientists warn against rush to biofuel Brown plans to resist EU plans for increased quotas as doubts multiply
James Randerson and Nicholas Watt The Guardian, Tuesday March 25 2008 Article historyAbout this articleClose This article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday March 25 2008 on p1 of the Top stories section. It was last updated at 01:56 on March 25 2008.

Gordon Brown is preparing for a battle with the European Union over biofuels after one of the government's leading scientists warned they could exacerbate climate change rather than combat it.

In an outspoken attack on a policy which comes into force next week, Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be wrong to introduce compulsory quotas for the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel before their effects had been properly assessed.

"If one started to use biofuels ... and in reality that policy led to an increase in greenhouse gases rather than a decrease, that would obviously be insane," Watson said. "It would certainly be a perverse outcome."

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, all petrol and diesel must contain 2.5% of biofuels from April 1. This is designed to ensure that Britain complies with a 2003 EU directive that 5.75% of petrol and diesel come from renewable sources by 2010.

But scientists have increasingly questioned the sustainability of biofuels, warning that by increasing deforestation the energy source may be contributing to global warming.

Watson's warning was echoed last night by Professor Sir David King, who recently retired as the government's chief scientific adviser. He said biofuel quotas should be put on hold until the results were known of a review which has been commissioned by ministers.

"What is absolutely desperately needed within government are people of integrity who will state what the science advice is under whatever political pressure or circumstances," he said.

The EU plans to raise the compulsory biofuel quota to 10% by 2020, but Brown is understood to be ready to challenge this plan. A senior government source said last night: "There is a growing feeling that we need to get all the facts. Some biofuels are OK but there are serious questions about others. More work needs to be done."

Sources say the government has no choice but to implement the guidelines next month because Britain is obliged under EU law to comply with the 2010 target.

But the report on biofuels, to come from the head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, Professor Ed Gallagher, may be used to challenge the more ambitious target for 2020, which is not set in law.

John Beddington, the government's current chief scientific adviser, has already expressed scepticism about biofuels. At a speech in Westminster this month he said demand for biofuels from the US had delivered a "major shock" to world agriculture, which was raising food prices globally. "There are real problems with the unsustainability of biofuels," he said, adding that cutting down rainforest to grow the crops was "profoundly stupid".

Britain will move cautiously in its battle with Brussels because José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, is championing the 10% target for 2020. Barroso this month dismissed as "exaggerated" claims that biofuels can lead to increases in food prices and greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation. But other members of the commission and other countries, including Germany, sympathise with Britain.

Brown was due to release a report touching on issues including biofuels, when he met Barroso in Brussels last month. But the prime minister decided that the time was "not right or ripe".

The prime minister made clear that Britain is wary of the target when he said last November: "I take extremely seriously concerns about the impact of biofuels on deforestation, precious habitats and on food security, and the UK is working to ensure a European sustainability standard is introduced as soon as possible, and we will not support an increase in biofuels over current target levels until an effective standard is in place."


Top scientists warn against rush to biofuel | Environment | The Guardian


I think the highlighted section tends to argue the point that some have made that biofuels haven't impacted the cost of food prices.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 12:16 PM
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Biofuels have never been a long term answer, only a bridge as an alternative to the current internal combustion engine can be developed. Hybrids are better in some ways but also have negatives in the mining and disposal of batteries.

Growing pains as we move from 100 year old technology of the internal combustion engine to the next generation is going to have to have several bridge technologies to achieve disparate short and mid term goals.

Biofuels, as an example is not really on the mission path of GCC, it is on the path of Energy independence, a completely different mission with different goals and timetables.

Right now that concern for energy independence is conflicting with Global Climate Change issues on a couple of fronts. Long term the issues merge but short term their paths diverge.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruce R. View Post
Top scientists warn against rush to biofuel Brown plans to resist EU plans for increased quotas as doubts multiply
James Randerson and Nicholas Watt The Guardian, Tuesday March 25 2008 Article historyAbout this articleClose This article appeared in the Guardian on Tuesday March 25 2008 on p1 of the Top stories section. It was last updated at 01:56 on March 25 2008.

John Beddington, the government's current chief scientific adviser, has already expressed scepticism about biofuels. At a speech in Westminster this month he said demand for biofuels from the US had delivered a "major shock" to world agriculture, which was raising food prices globally. "There are real problems with the unsustainability of biofuels," he said, adding that cutting down rainforest to grow the crops was "profoundly stupid".
The concern that we are diverting land for food to produce biofuels is a specious argument that totally lacks merit. We, as a country pay companies and individual farmers Multiple Millions of Dollars NOT to plant certain crops in order to keep the prices at certain levels. Millions of acres of land lay barren annually due to these programs. Until that price support program is stopped and people exercise the land to its capacity, the biofuels as a reason for food prices going up is only used by folks trying to divert the issues.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 12:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
The concern that we are diverting land for food to produce biofuels is a specious argument that totally lacks merit. We, as a country pay companies and individual farmers Multiple Millions of Dollars NOT to plant certain crops in order to keep the prices at certain levels. Millions of acres of land lay barren annually due to these programs. Until that price support program is stopped and people exercise the land to its capacity, the biofuels as a reason for food prices going up is only used by folks trying to divert the issues.
In your mind it may be specious, but apparently that is the case never the less.
There is no reason that I should take your argument over Mr. Beddington's, after all it is his job to monitor this sort of thing, while it is only you avocation, isn't it?

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
Vladimir Putin

"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey 8/31/94


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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 01:03 PM
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Why do we need biofuels or alternate energies when Bruce can pick up his guns and take a country that's got oil because they may have WMD or some other made up disease?
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Why do we need biofuels or alternate energies when Bruce can pick up his guns and take a country that's got oil because they may have WMD or some other made up disease?
Are you that hard up that you have nothing better to do than stalk me?

Dude, you're getting pathetic, really............

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
Vladimir Putin

"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey 8/31/94


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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 01:59 PM
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Are you that hard up that you have nothing better to do than stalk me?

Dude, you're getting pathetic, really............
Stalk you? Who sent in the clowns last time we had an argument? I ain't afraid of no stinkin badge
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Stalk you? Who sent in the clowns last time we had an argument? I ain't afraid of no stinkin badge
Not a problem, next time I'll send Vince and Tony, they don't got no stinking badge.........

But they are Good Fellows..........

"Negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the pigeon knocks over all the pieces, on the board and then struts around like it won the game."
Vladimir Putin

"They have gun control in Cuba. They have universal health care in Cuba. So why do they want to come here?"
Paul Harvey 8/31/94


"The only people who have quick answers don't have the responsibility of making the decisions."
Justice Clarence Thomas
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear View Post
Biofuels have never been a long term answer, only a bridge as an alternative to the current internal combustion engine can be developed. Hybrids are better in some ways but also have negatives in the mining and disposal of batteries.

Growing pains as we move from 100 year old technology of the internal combustion engine to the next generation is going to have to have several bridge technologies to achieve disparate short and mid term goals.

Biofuels, as an example is not really on the mission path of GCC, it is on the path of Energy independence, a completely different mission with different goals and timetables.

Right now that concern for energy independence is conflicting with Global Climate Change issues on a couple of fronts. Long term the issues merge but short term their paths diverge.
Funny how any time someone offered an alternative engine to the reciprocating piston internal combustion engine, they were shouted down and ridiculed. As for example, my uncle, Troy McClure, of Oakdale, California, who, in 1978, invented a circular piston external combustion engine based on the Sterling Hot Air Cycle. He had several patents over the years, the last one in 2000. He died 3 weeks ago, penniless and no success getting anyone remotely interested in the engine. His schematics and prototypes lay in his abandoned shop, collecting cobwebs while his widow wastes away in a nursing home. He always had a dream he would be successful in his endeavors. He was a physics genius but had no serious backing from any major corporations. Sad, because it could be the answer to our energy woes.
Here is a link to a site that details some of his patents:
External combustion rotary engine - US Patent 5961310

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 03-25-2008, 03:13 PM
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In your mind it may be specious, but apparently that is the case never the less.
There is no reason that I should take your argument over Mr. Beddington's, after all it is his job to monitor this sort of thing, while it is only you avocation, isn't it?
It might also be his job to have a agenda, while I really don't have an agenda on biofuels or crop support. As someone with a Masters in Economics, however, I can read and interpret the statistics as well as he.

And until someone shows that we are allowing shortages to occur while at the same time exporting corn and growing biofuel, while Federal Government Corn Price Support policy remains firmly in place I believe my theories maintain a very nice firm foundation.

McBear,
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