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View Diary: Biofuels Are Only As Green As Their Feedstocks (69 comments)

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  •  and reduce monocropping and factory farming (6+ / 0-)

    Another problem illustrated by Jerome a Paris' piece is monocropping, and how ag subsidies encourage it. We've lost incredible amounts of biodiversity in our food supply over the last century, and we stand to lose even more as we move to biofuels.

    Perennial plants like switchgrass should also be given priority over annuals like corn.  Reducing tillage is very important, both for soil conservation and for removing the energy required to manage the biofuel crops.  And organics should be given priority over feedstocks that require fertilizers and pesticides.

    But in general, I think you're right... using the same plants for both food and fuel can cause problematic market distortions, in addition to reducing diversity.  I want to see as much diversity as possible in both our food and fuel supplies.

    None of this should be taken as a knock on biofuels, though.  I think biofuels and direct/semi-direct solar power (that includes wind) are the ONLY viable energy sources in the long run.

    I guess anyone can be a winner if their definition of victory is flexible enough.
    -The DM of the Rings

    by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 12:41:17 PM PST

    •  Can humans eat switchgrass? (0+ / 0-)

      or its relevent related question:  Can cows eat switchgrass?

      •  cows should eat grass (0+ / 0-)

        I'm sure they can eat switchgrass too.  It's native pasture in much of the US anyway.

        But I'd love to see us encourage grass-fed beef and discourage corn and other processed cattle food.  It'd raise the price of beef and reduce consumption, but that's a Good Thing.

        I guess anyone can be a winner if their definition of victory is flexible enough.
        -The DM of the Rings

        by Leggy Starlitz on Mon Feb 26, 2007 at 03:33:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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