Biofuels: A Lethal Solution

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“It used to be a matter of good intentions gone awry. Now it is plain fraud. The governments using biofuel to tackle global warming know that it causes more harm than good. But they plough on regardless.”

Biofuels, mainly ethanol, are being actively promoted by George W. Bush, the European Union, and Canada’s Harper government, as a way to fight global warming.

In his column in the Guardian today George Monbiot, author of Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning (Random House, 2006) describes these biofuel programs as “a formula for environmental and humanitarian disaster.”

In 2004 this column warned that biofuels would set up a competition for food between cars and people. The people would necessarily lose: those who can afford to drive are, by definition, richer than those who are in danger of starvation. It would also lead to the destruction of rainforests and other important habitats(5). I received more abuse than I’ve had for any other column, except when I attacked the 9/11 conspiracists. I was told my claims were ridiculous, laughable, impossible. Well in one respect I was wrong. I thought these effects wouldn’t materialise for many years. They are happening already.

Read Monbiot’s entire column online for a consise and compelling explanation of why biofuels are worse for the planet than petroleum.