Alas, we are all indeed doomed. On "the sidelines at the Clinton Global Initiative" (a grandiose moniker if ever there was one) scientist Jane Goodall claims that biofuel production is hurting the rainforest.
NEW YORK, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Primate scientist Jane Goodall said on Wednesday the race to grow crops for vehicle fuels is damaging rain forests in Asia, Africa and South America and adding to the emissions blamed for global warming.
"We're cutting down forests now to grow sugarcane and palm oil for biofuels and our forests are being hacked into by so many interests that it makes them more and more important to save now," Goodall said on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative, former U.S. President Bill Clinton's annual philanthropic meeting.
This on the heels of the news that biofuels produce more greenhouse gases than petroleum-based fuels.
Growing and burning many biofuel crops may actually raise, rather than lower, greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the conclusion of a new study led by Nobel prize-winning chemist Paul Crutzen, best known for his work on the ozone layer. He and his and his colleagues have calculated that growing some of the most commonly used biofuel crops releases around twice the amount of the potent greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O, also known as ‘laughing gas’) than previously thought – wiping out any benefits from not using fossil fuels and, worse, probably contributing to global warming.
‘The significance of it is that the supposed benefits of biofuels are even more disputable than had been thought hitherto,’ Keith Smith, a co-author on the paper and atmospheric scientist from the University of Edinburgh, told Chemistry World magazine. ‘What we are saying is that [growing many biofuels] is probably of no benefit and in fact is actually making the climate issue worse.’
I guess that's a problem if you believe that greenhouse gases are the driver for global warming, a point which remains under considerable, if denied by one side, debate. File this under "damned if you do, damned if you don't." Could oil be not only the most plentiful and easily obtainable fuel, but the best currently available mass fuel and the most environment friendly? You know, if only there weren't so many darn earthlings in need of cheap energy ...