Friday, April 11, 2008

Obama and Clinton Still Calling for More Biofuels

So far it appears that neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton have adjusted their policies on biofuels to the new scientific realization that large scale production of both ethanol and biodiesel are contributing to global warming rather than being a partial solution. The other major presidential candidate, John McCain, doesn’t seem to have any policy on biofuels or for that matter on how to reduce greenhouse gases from transportation as his website simply says that he offers to limit carbon emissions “by harnessing market forces that will bring advanced technologies, such as nuclear energy, to the market faster, reduce our dependence on foreign supplies of energy, and see to it that America leads in a way that ensures all nations do their rightful share.” At least Obama and Clinton do get down to some specifics.

Barack Obama’s website says that he “will require 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be included in the fuel supply by 2022 and will increase that to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced biofuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030.”

Hillary Clinton’s website says that she will have “60 billion gallons of home-grown biofuels available for cars and trucks by 2030.”

That’s a lot of biofuels to be promising considering that so far the use of biofuels has led to increasing food prices around the world and increased emissions of greenhouse gases in instances where land was cleared for planting. Cellulosic ethanol at this point remains unproven as a source of fuel and hardly something to count on.

What we should be hearing from all three candidates is that they want to put a halt to large scale production of ethanol and biodiesel and carefully review whether the using these fuels in place of petroleum-based fuels at this time makes any sense. Unfortunately that is not what they want to hear in Iowa or neighboring farm states so there is little if any chance anyone will be hearing it from the candidates very soon.

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