[LINK] Re: Link Digest, Vol 171, Issue 16
stewart_fist at optusnet.com.au
Wed Feb 7 11:29:50 EST 2007
> Making ethanol from sugar cane and corn to fuel our cars is pushing
> up their price. Making biodiesel for our vehicles from palm oil is
> resulting in tropical forests being knocked down putting more carbon
> into the atmosphere or where we use soy pushing up its price.
Sorry, but knocking down trees and growing sugar-cane or palms for fuel use,
doesn't of itself increase atmospheric greenhouse gases at all.
This is part of the one-year carbon cycle of growth, which reduces carbon
from the air equal to the amount added when the forest is burned.
Old growth forests are carbon neutral - they neither add, or reduce the
amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Knocking them down, and growing any other crop is generally carbon neutral
within a few years also -- provided no fossil fuel is used in the process.
Ethanol itself is actually a intermediate biomass form of solar energy
The problem is fossil fuels, not timber felling (although we oppose cutting
old-growth forests for ecological, not climate change, reasons)
> We can grow a lot now because of the green revolution but it requires
> a big input of fossil fuels for agricultural machinery, fertiliser,
> pesticides, pumping and transport.
I don't think the green revolution, which mainly involved the careful
selection of high yeild rice had any adverse impact on the use of fossil
fuels and pesticides. It may, indeed, have reduced the need for so much
The fact that these changes 'accompanied' the green revolution was more
because of the boost in the economies of those countries -- richer farmers
tend to use more pesticides - farmer with surplus transport that surplus.
This was an outcome, part of the benefit they achieved from improved crops.
Stewart Fist, writer, journalist, film-maker
70 Middle Harbour Road, LINDFIELD, 2070, NSW, Australia
Ph +61 (2) 9416 7458
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