Well, I have resisted the urge to post on this subject for over a week now. Take a look at this picture from BirdLife International. Like a bolt from the blue, a number of environmental organizations and individuals (BirdLife, the World Wildlife Fund, Friends of the Earth, Forest.org, Mongabay.com, Greenpeace, and the European Environmental Bureau) have suddenly and collectively realized that biofuels may not be such a great idea. A divide is growing between environmentalists who are enamoured with or will profit from a fuel you can grow (call them the enthusiasts) and environmentalists who do not think biofuels are worth destroying rainforests for (me).
George Monbiot sums it all up in an amazing article. Take the time to read it, especially if you don’t think you want to hear what he has to say. The quote at the top of his web page is especially poignant:
Tell people something they know already, and they will thank you for it. Tell them something new, and they will hate you for it.
Two paragraphs of interest:
The last time I drew attention to the hazards of making diesel fuel from vegetable oils, I received as much abuse as I have ever been sent by the supporters of the Iraq war. The biodiesel missionaries, I discovered, are as vociferous in their denial as the executives of Exxon. I am now prepared to admit that my previous column was wrong. But they’re not going to like it. I was wrong because I underestimated the fuel’s destructive impact.
All this illustrates the futility of the technofixes now being pursued in Montreal. Trying to meet a rising demand for fuel is madness, wherever the fuel might come from. The hard decisions have been avoided, and another portion of the biosphere is going up in smoke.