Are Biofuels Worse For The Environment Than Fossil Fuels?

September 18, 2013 1 Comment

Oh boy, here comes yet another debate between environmentalists and… environmentalists. Can’t we ever get along, about anything?

The European Parliament has decided to reduce the use of biofuels in their fuel standards due to recent research citing the fact that biofuels could actually be worse for the environment than regular old fossil fuels.

It had previously set a standard of sourcing 10 percent of fuel from biofuels by 2020, but a 356-327 vote has reduced that number to 6 percent. It has stated that the greenhouse gases released by the production, harvesting, and burning of biofuels – along with the millions of hungry around the world starving while we burn food for fuel – require this move in order to be more environmentally sensitive. In addition, the deforestation this leads to reduces the number of trees available for scrubbing the air clean of CO2, which can further exacerbate global warming.

“Until an agreement is reached, it is uncertain for investors and the environment what the future of biofuels will be,” Nusa Urbancic, of Transport and Environment NGO, tells Nature News. “What is certain though is that Europeans will have to keep paying for another seven years for biofuels that pollute more than the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace.”

biofuels worse than fossil fuels

People on both sides of this topic argue as to why biofuels are bad and biofuels are good. I myself am torn, because as much as I would like to burn a cleaner, renewable fuel made from plants, I would prefer to see the advancement of alternatives that don’t burn anything at all, like batteries that last a long time and can recharged with solar panels. I, too, have wondered about the sanity of cutting down plants, trees, and food to burn for fuel when there are millions of people we can’t seem to feed every day.

What do you think? Is the EU on to something here or are they reacting to something that isn’t all that bad?

E85 Concept from BigStock.

Filed in: Oil • Tags: , , ,

About the Author:

After a varied past of being a test driver for automotive television programs, a Hollywood studio lackey, and an online media sales director, David is now the publisher and editor of The Good Human. In his spare time he rides motorcycles, drinks good beer, and builds stuff in the garage. You can follow him on Twitter at @thegoodhuman or G+ at Google
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Comments (1)

  1. It all depends on what we’re burning for biofuels. Hemp grows like a weed and needs no chemicals. Wood manufacturing by-products are another good option. If we’re using resources that need huge amounts of water and chemicals (corn) then biofuels make very little sense.

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