I'm having a cow over beef-tallow biodiesel
I heard about this on the radio this morning, and couldn’t believe the uncritical reporting on it:
The City of Calgary’s entire fleet of trucks and buses may soon be partly fueled by biodiesel produced from Alberta beef tallow.
Tallow is all that’s left over after an animal has been processed. The city has been experimenting with tallow from the meat-packing plant in High River, Alta., as part efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Not only is the tallow in ready supply locally, turning it into biofuel recycles a product that would normally be thrown away, he said.
Tallow-waste biofuel is also more ethical than other alternative fuels, since it does not displace food crops such as corn, which is used in the production of ethanol, he said.
That’s a neat trick of sunk-cost accounting. Sure, beef production is ridiculously carbon-intensive, making this biodiesel probably more climate-hostile than even corn ethanol, but hey, we’ve already got all this surplus cow fat to get rid of. I’m all for waste recycling, but reducing the production of waste is the first step, right?
I’ll confess this is a first-blush impression, and welcome the opportunity to be proven wrong. But doesn’t this sound like a poor excuse to support beef prices?