Should We Burn Our Food for Fuel?

Topics: Carbon dioxide, Global warming, Carbon Pages: 3 (971 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Bashir Muttawa
Ecology essay
Nov 16
Should we burn our food for fuel?

Why do we do this3

Why do we burn fossil fuels
The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates that by 2022 36 billion gallons of biofuels will be produced in the United States.  15 billion gallons of this biofuel is expected to come from corn. (1) This will require the sacrifice of enough food to feed 166,000,000 people--over half the current population of the United States.  This doesn't even take into consideration that it takes at least 2/3 gallon of fossil fuel, by the US Department of Energy's own figures, to produce one gallon of ethanol. (2)  (Ethanol producers do not use ethanol to produce ethanol because it is too expensive.)

Why do we do this

Why do we do this?  Because our policy makers have come to believe that the air-born plant food carbon dioxide is a “pollutant” (3) that must be reduced or severe damage will be done to the biosphere. Acting on this belief the US government is planning on turning enough food into fuel by 2022 that could feed half the population of the United States!  Even if carbon dioxide were a “pollutant” the use of biofuels produces little or no net reduction in carbon emissions since by some estimates it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than what one gets back from it when it is burned.  "Adding up the energy costs of corn production and its conversion to ethanol, 131,000 BTUs are needed to make 1 gallon of ethanol. One gallon of ethanol has an energy value of only 77,000 BTU." (4)   Apart from the highly controversial notion that carbon dioxide has the power to regulate the Earth’s temperature, what is it?  In one word “food”—food for plants, which becomes food for animals, including human beings.  Carbon dioxide is food because carbon is one of the essential building blocks of organic life (Organic - “Belonging to a family of compounds...

Bibliography: (1) “The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) requires use of 36 billion gallons of renewable transportation fuels in the U.S. by 2022. Of that quantity, 16 billion gallons must be cellulosic biofuels. Ethanol from corn is capped at 15 billion gallons.” ibid.
(2) ". . . each gallon of ethanol produced from corn today delivers one third or more energy than is used to produce it."    US Department of Energy
(3) See: Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, 549 U.S. 497 (2007)
(4) From research performed at Cornell University
(5) Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999 Microsoft Corporation
(6) "Man 's contribution to atmospheric CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is small, maximum 4% found by carbon isotope mass balance calculations."  Segalstad, T. V. 1996: The distribution of CO2 between atmosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere; minimal influence from anthropogenic CO2 on the global "Greenhouse Effect". In Emsley, J. (Ed.): The Global Warming Debate. The Report of the European Science and Environment Forum. Bourne Press Ltd., Bournemouth, Dorset, U.K. (ISBN 0952773406), pp. 41-50.
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