Biofuels and Land Use Change

by: Heather on 05/17/2011

Biofuels are one of those ideas that can work incredibly well when applied at an appropriate scale, but which can rapidly spiral out of control if implemented at an industrial level.  For example ethanol can be an excellent renewable fuel when created from agricultural cull and waste feedstock, and when distilled on the farm or as a cooperative community venture. However large-scale production can threaten existing croplands, drive deforestation and actually increase the emissions of greenhouse gases. Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) is a very real consequence of the short-sighted implementation of policies that increase biofuel production without taking into account sustainability standards, such as is happening right now in the EU. Check out this (very) short film produced by the group Stop Bad Biofuels which illustrates the problem with biofuel targets:

There is, of course, a better way. Just off press, Lyle Estill's Industrial Evolution is an inspiring example of how to create abundance and a thriving local economy through community-scale solutions tailored for a post carbon future.

 

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