Should We Burn Our Food for Fuel? Essay


The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 authorizations that by 2022 36 billion gallons of biofuels will be produced in the United States. 15 billion gallons of this biofuel is expected to come from maize. ( 1 ) This will necessitate the forfeit of adequate nutrient to feed 166. 000. 000 people–over half the current population of the United States. This doesn’t even take into consideration that it takes at least 2/3 gallon of fossil fuel. by the US Department of Energy’s ain figures. to bring forth one gallon of ethyl alcohol. ( 2 ) ( Ethanol manufacturers do non utilize ethyl alcohol to bring forth ethyl alcohol because it is excessively expensive. )

Why do we make this

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Why do we make this? Because our policy shapers have come to believe that the air-born works nutrient C dioxide is a “pollutant” ( 3 ) that must be reduced or terrible harm will be done to the biosphere. Acting on this belief the US authorities is be aftering on turning adequate nutrient into fuel by 2022 that could feed half the population of the United States! Even if C dioxide were a “pollutant” the usage of biofuels produces small or no net decrease in C emanations since by some estimations it takes more energy to bring forth a gallon of ethyl alcohol than what one gets back from it when it is burned. “Adding up the energy costs of maize production and its transition to ethanol. 131. 000 BTUs are needed to do 1 gallon of ethyl alcohol. One gallon of ethyl alcohol has an energy value of merely 77. 000 BTU. ” ( 4 ) Apart from the extremely controversial impression that C dioxide has the power to modulate the Earth’s temperature. what is it? In one word “food”—food for workss. which becomes nutrient for animate beings. including human existences. Carbon dioxide is nutrient because C is one of the indispensable edifice blocks of organic life ( Organic – “Belonging to a household of compounds characterized by ironss or rings of C atoms. ” ( 5 ) ) and most life on Earth is organic life.

Besides. workss thrive in a C dioxide rich environment and along with H2O. N from the air and minerals from the dirt. powered by sunshine. through the procedure of photosynthesis make nutrient for animate beings to eat and oxygen for animate beings to take a breath. Did you know that nurserymans really pump up to four times the current atmospheric degrees of C dioxide into nurseries to advance works growing? So. even at current emanation degrees from the usage of fossil fuels the concentration of C dioxide in the ambiance will non make a degree for optimum works growing for at least 200 old ages and CO2 degrees will non go toxic until good into the following ice age & gt ; 10. 000 old ages from now. That is. of class. if the Earth’s natural procedures of restricting atmospheric C dioxide degrees cease to run.

You see. since C dioxide is invariably being cycled through the natural “carbon cycle” much of the C dioxide that humanity has produced since the beginning of the industrial revolution has already been removed from the ambiance. In fact merely 4 % of the C dioxide presently in the ambiance is from the combustion of fossil fuels. ( 6 ) So. if C dioxide is. so. a pollutant than the Earth is fouling itself since 96 % of the air’s C dioxide content has come from natural beginnings. Beyond these points. planetary heating is a good thing that promotes life. e. g. . human civilisations have ever fared better during warm periods in history than during cold periods ; more people die from cold every twelvemonth than from heat ; many workss die or go hibernating in the winter and come to life in the spring and summer ; the warm equator is teaming with life while the cold poles have sparse life.


Since fossil fuels produce C dioxide as a byproduct. which promotes works growing. they are. in world. the lone genuinely “green” beginning of energy that human existences usage at the present clip. Replacing gasolene with ethyl alcohol will therefore non merely cut down the sum of nutrient that is available for worlds ; it will besides cut down the sum of nutrient that is available for workss. That is. nutrient that is turned into ethyl alcohol is non be available for human ingestion and if ethyl alcohol does. in fact. cut down the concentration of C dioxide in the air so there will be less nutrient available for works ingestion. Wouldn’t it hence be wise to rethink this policy and pattern?


( 1 ) “The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 ( EISA ) requires usage of 36 billion gallons of renewable transit fuels in the U. S. by 2022. Of that measure. 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic biofuels. Ethyl alcohol from maize is capped at 15 billion gallons. ” hypertext transfer protocol: //www. energy. gov/news/archives/documents/Myths_and_Facts. pdf ibid. ( 2 ) “ . . . each gallon of ethyl alcohol produced from maize today delivers one tierce or more energy than is used to bring forth it. ” US Department of Energy ( 3 ) See: Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. 549 U. S. 497 ( 2007 ) ( 4 ) From research performed at Cornell University hypertext transfer protocol: //www. intelligence. Cornell. edu/releases/Aug01/corn-basedethanol. hour. hypertext markup language ( 5 ) Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation ( 6 ) “Man’s part to atmospheric CO2 from the combustion of fossil fuels is little. maximal 4 % found by C isotope mass balance computations. ” Segalstad. T. V. 1996: The distribution of CO2 between atmosphere. hydrosphere. and lithosphere ; minimum influence from anthropogenetic CO2 on the planetary “Greenhouse Effect” . In Emsley. J. ( Ed. ) : The Global Warming Debate. The Report of the European Science and Environment Forum. Bourne Press Ltd. . Bournemouth. Dorset. U. K. ( ISBN 0952773406 ) . pp. 41-50.


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