Such has been called the burning of food crops to produce biofuels.
A recent research report by Capt. T.A. Kiefer, “Twenty-First Century Snake Oil: Why the United States Should Reject Biofuels as Part of a Rational National Security Energy Strategy” states that:
“Imagine if the US military developed a weapon that could threaten millions around the world with hunger, accelerate global warming, incite widespread instability and revolution, provide our competitors and enemies with cheaper energy, and reduce America’s economy to a permanent state of recession. What would be the sense and morality of employing such a weapon? We are already building that weapon – it is our biofuels program.”
Here are a few of the reasons for such a severe indictment of biofuels:
- Liquid hydrocarbons are unmatched as transportation fuel. Using hydrocarbons to process biomass into transportation fuel is detrimental to civilization’s energy balance and must be avoided.
- Not even today’s best liquid biofuels have any prospect of simultaneously attaining the 6:1 EROI (Energy Return on Investment) necessary to support a healthy modern civilization while also achieving the massive yields per acre necessary to supplant any significant fraction of the national energy supply.
- Petroleum and natural gas are true primary energy sources and fuel modern agriculture. The use of petroleum to accelerate energy crop growth is ludicrous on its face, as the result is less overall efficiency of energy and greater net consumption of petroleum.
- The best use of agricultural land and water is to produce sufficient food for the United States and a surplus for the rest of the world.
- The only sensible use of biomass as fuel is to harvest unfertilized biomass from unmanaged land and consume it as is (e.g. firewood) without wasteful attempts to transform it into liquid fuel.
- Mandating the use of higher-EROI fossil fuels to make lower-EROI biofuels requires the overall consumption of more energy to deliver the same power output. Current U.S. biofuels policy is accelerating rather than decreasing the use of fossil fuels.
“We must understand that a national energy strategy is nothing less than a national survival strategy.” Is it not obvious that all subsidies and mandates for biofuels, including ethanol, should be ended as quickly and expeditiously as possible?