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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • The not-so-funny thing is, biofuel is not an answer, it’s a disaster. It cannot solve either crisis, climate or energy, it only creates plentiful new problems.

    The environmental cost of biofuel is much higher than the cost of fossil fuels – it will cause rainforest to be replaced by palm farms, which is a ludicrous carbon balance bottom line. In other words, biofuel is the most carbon-intensive source of energy ever .

    Not only that, but according to a 2003 calculation by Jeffrey Dukes, our carbon consumption of fossil fuels is roughly 44E18 grams per year; 400× the net primary productivity of the planet’s current biota. In other words, every year, we use up the stored energy of 4 centuries. Biofuel will never ever be able to meet this demand, not on man-relevant timescales.

    Biofuel is the most uninspired possible answer about getting out of the crises we’re facing. It’s naught but a way to continue doing what we’ve been doing for a century. What we need instead is to change our primary sources energy to ones that can actually sustain our energy needs out to geological timescales. In the long run, that means nuclear fusion – unfortunately, no one knows how far away from it we are, even though we’ve made steady progress. So we need interim solutions – ideas like this [].

    Biofuel isn’t. All it is is a disaster.

    • Well, it's causing rainforest in brazil certainly to be replaced by sugar cane, and also soy (for different reasons).

      I'm not sure if 400 is entirely correct there, or it may be out of context? I'd certainly believe we're using 400 times as much as is STORED normally. But your original figure may well be correct too.

      The earth is already powered by nuclear fusion, there's a giant reactor that goes over our heads every day.

      We just collect it in myriad different ways, including via biomass, wind power, and from
      • I’m not sure if 400 is entirely correct there, or it may be out of context? I’d certainly believe we’re using 400 times as much as is STORED normally.

        I think my phrasing was a bit muddled. What I mean is, we use 400× as much energy every year as the entire Earth can store in plants in a year. We would need to harvest the entire Earth’s flora for 4 centuries in order to run our society for one year on that harvest.

        The earth is already powered by nuclear fusion, there

        • > They don’t; not by a long shot.

          US $35 per "barrel" for sugar cane ethanol seems pretty decent to me.

          And if all of the processes involved in the manufacturing are also run off ethanol, you get something very close to carbon neutrality.