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Would More Biofuel Use Threaten Food Supplies?
Morning Edition, NPR (Audio)
President Bush promoted the benefits of ethanol during a recent Latin American tour. But the fuel has drawbacks, including the possibility that significant use of corn-based ethanol could mean higher costs for a food staple in many poor nations. Rob Routs, an executive director at Shell Oil, talks with Steve Inskeep.
(15 March 2007)
Hat tip to DM and Miles.
Energy solution is growing on trees
Andrew Lang, The Age
...many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries have turned from nuclear to another option of base-load power that has been effectively ignored here.
Sweden, Finland, Austria, Britain and Germany, among others, are investing heavily in energy plants fuelled by woody waste, often mixed with flammable municipal waste.
Sweden, once a significant importer of Australian coal, has gone well along this path and is now generating about 20 per cent of its energy needs from woody biomass. This nation of about 8 million now has about a quarter of the Australian emissions of greenhouse gases per head, while maintaining a lifestyle most Australians would envy. Some cities and municipalities are as low as a sixth of Australia's per-head emissions, and aim to reduce them further. Many strategies Sweden uses can be readily introduced here, with the scope to rapidly and cost-effectively halve our greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.
Why has Sweden adopted a policy to phase out its reliance on nuclear reactors and fossil fuels and switch to other energy sources? The answer is complex, involving its history, the well-managed forestry resource, and its political philosophy.
(20 Feb 2007)
Ethanol wrong biofuel option say US experts
Christine Nikiel, New Zealand Herald
New Zealand's focus on ethanol production as a replacement for fossil fuels could be misplaced, visiting US experts say. Within 15 years, the biofuel of choice would not be ethanol-based, Professor Basil Nikolau of the Iowa State University said at a biotech conference in Auckland yesterday.
And problems in the production and transportation of ethanol created extra costs, he said. Ethanol could be diluted in water, and so could not be transported through pipelines. And producing the biofuel used more energy than it created. ..
In February the Government said that from next year it would force oil companies to meet a biofuels quota of 0.53 per cent of total fuel sales, rising to 3.4 per cent by 2012. ..
(14 Mar 2007)