Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some Biofuels Doing More Harm Than Good

A scientific paper in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. We are killing people to stop 'global warming.' Sadly, this comes as no surprise. Using foodstuffs as fuel is a bad idea because it drives food prices up and is not "energy dense."


Higher global demand for biofuels, driven mainly by policies in 
industrialized countries with the stated purpose of enhancing 
energy independence and retarding climate change, has 
contributed to rising global food prices. As a consequence, more 
people in developing countries suffer from both chronic hunger 
and absol ute poverty. Hunger and poverty are major 
contributors to death and disease in poorer countries. Results 
derived from World Bank and World Health Organization (WHO) 
studies suggest that for every million people living in absolute 
poverty in developing countries, there are annually at least 5,270 
deaths and 183,000 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) lost to 
disease. Combining these estimates with estimates of the 
increase in poverty owing to growth in biofuels production over 
2004 levels leads to the conclusion that additional biofuel 
production may have resulted in at least 192,000 excess deaths 
and 6.7 million additional lost DALYs in 2010. These exceed 
WHO’s estimated annual toll of 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million 
lost DALYs attributable to global warming. Thus, policies 
intended to mitigate global warming may actually have 
increased death and disease in developing countries.countries. 

Since hunger and poverty are major contributors to 
death and disease around the world, it is, therefore, 
conceivable that the higher demand for biofuels could add to the 
global burden of death and disease.

If that were the case, it would, ironically, militate against one of 
the reasons offered to encourage biofuel production, namely, to 
reduce the health effects of global warming, particularly in devel- 
oping countries. It would also reduce the perceived net benefits 
of policies designed to encourage biofuel production, whether 
they are instituted to reduce global warming or enhance energy 

Cellulosic ethanol (i.e., ethanol not made from foodstuffs) is a better idea than corn ethanol not just because it is not made from foodstuffs but because it is somewhat more energy dense than ethanol made from corn.

Currently, earth's temperatures are level to falling. There is no global warming emergency at the present time. As I have written on multiple occasions, we should know whether global warming is a serious problem in another 2-4 years. Regardless of whether GW is serious, a non-problem, or something in between, it is past time to reverse some of these counterproductive global warming "cures."

Hat tip: WattsUpWithThat

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