Photo: Cote, CC
Going Against the Grain
Anyone who's kept informed about green issues lately knows that corn ethanol isn't a very good idea (except maybe for the farmers who get subsidized by tax dollars). First, there are the land use problems, the water use problems, the food competition problem (leading to higher food prices), etc. Yet governments keep on passing mandates (historically, subsidies of all kinds have been very hard to repeal) for more corn ethanol, and Canada's not doing anything different...From the Global and Mail:
Environment Minister Jim Prentice has won cabinet approval to proceed with regulations requiring refiners to include at least 5 per cent ethanol in their gasoline by September, 2010. [...]
Ottawa claims Canadian grain-based biofuels can reduce emissions by 40 per cent compared to gasoline. But it has not begun to factor in indirect land-use emissions, a highly controversial measure of greenhouse gas emissions that result from deforestation and increased land cultivation needed to feed the demand for biofuels. [...]
Including those indirect factors, the EPA said the corn-ethanol producers that use natural gas in production processes produce 5 per cent more emissions per gallon of fuel than gasoline producers over a 30-year period, while ethanol producers that use coal create 34 per cent more emissions.
This comes right after California's CARB ruled that corn ethanol is actually worse than oil.
A 5% mandate would represent about 2 billion liters (528 million gallons US) annually—a volume that is 50% higher than Canada currently produces.
Come on Canada, don't do it! Maybe if you had refineries that could produce advanced second and third generation ethanol from forestry and agricultural waste, it would be w beneficial (though there could be problems with that too), but right now, the vast majority of that ethanol will come from non-green sources and just make things worse on many levels (including the fact that once the mandate is passed, it will be very hard to repeal or change significantly).
Via The Globe and Mail
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