Monday, January 08, 2007

Real Costs of Bio-Fuels

The Green Party strongly supports the development of biofuels

But at what cost? The death of the Wheat Board so that the big agribusiness corporations that are producing bio-fuels, like Archer Daniels Midlands, can gain more state subsidies

And increase the profits they make as the
market price for grain increases in response to market speculation on state funding of bio-fuels.

Not for farmers of course, but for the big agribusiness buyers and sellers,
who also dominate the bio-fuels market.

"The Wheat board's marketing efforts are worth $500 million a year to farmers,"
said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. "The question is why is Stephen Harper so intent on selling out
Canadian farmers to agricultural conglomerate like Cargill and ADM?"

The answer is Bio Fuels, which the Green Party supports. The problem is that they are not economical, without massive state subsidies. And the Green Party knows that.

Major food processors like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland Company are investing heavily in biofuels. On the energy front, Chevron and BP are pouring millions into biofuels production or processing.

Ethanol is the best reference biofuel when discussing options for biodiesel support. In the last 3 years, Canadian ethanol capacity has grown from 175 million litres to 1.2 billion litres. To initiate the rapid growth of a Canadian ethanol industry, the government of Canada provided $123.9 million in capital subsidies to corporations during the first two rounds of the Ethanol Expansion Program ethanol production has increased as a direct result of the capitalization assistance

"Ethanol Production Update"

Currently, 110 grain ethanol biorefineries have the capacity to produce more than 5.3 billion gallons of ethanol ethanol. An additional 79 (81 according to their latest update of their list) construction projects are underway that will add nearly 6 billion gallons of new ethanol production capacity.

Archer Daniels Midland remains the largest producer with 1,070 mgy of capacity at six sites and 275 mgy under construction or planned. VeraSun comes in second and US Bioenergy third, each with less than half of ADM's capacity.

And the biggest critcs of the biofuel hoax are environmentalists, not political opportunists like May and her Party.

Biomass for biofuel isn't worth it

Although Pimentel advocates the use of burning biomass to produce thermal energy (to heat homes, for example), he deplores the use of biomass for liquid fuel. "The government spends more than $3 billion a year to subsidize ethanol production when it does not provide a net energy balance or gain, is not a renewable energy source or an economical fuel. Further, its production and use contribute to air, water and soil pollution and global warming," Pimentel says. He points out that the vast majority of the subsidies do not go to farmers but to large ethanol-producing corporations.


Wheat Board


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BlueBerry Pick'n said...

false dichotomy: its just not addressing the truth.


Spread Love...
... but wear the Glove!

BlueBerry Pick'n
can be found @
"Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced"

eugene plawiuk said...

Cryptic response. The contradiction is that biofuels are not a solution to the problem but part of the problem. They do not address the need to expand public transit versus use of the automobile. And as grain and other seed feed stock, such as Canola, are used for biofuels those who will benefit are not producers but processors.

Anonymous said...

I am a strong supporter of biofuels.
While I do agree with you, Eugene, that public transportation has to be further promoted as the real sustainable alternative, I have a funny feeling that we not ever have everyone taking the bus. As Jack Layton says in his book, Speaking Out Louder, we live in a car culture, and even though he, too, would like everyone to take the bus, there are a few problems: a) people love cars; and b) Canadian industry relies heavily on the auto sector. What about all those jobs? Sure, we can start building busses and trains, but seeing a bus replaces 30 or so cars on average, there will be a lot less busses in demand than cars (also, buses last longer. In Saskatoon, many of our busses are still from the early '80s, and they work great. Same with street cars in Toronto, too).

In respect to your problem that companies like Cargill are investing heavily in biofuels, and that we can't have large corporations doing this, again, there are a couple of arguments against that: a) gasoline is produced by companies much larger and richer than Cargill; and b) many farmers and rural groups are investing in this and making ethanol and biodiesel plants of their own.

So, what do else do you support to make our car culture a little greener. Remember, hybrid-electric cars use electricity, which often comes from coal.