SF Green Party Sustainability co-chair on the "Terrible Illusion of Biodiesel"

We just revisited the moves that San Francisco is making to add biodiesel to the city fleet, with the latest news being the establishment of SF Greasecycle. In response to the city's latest progress on the biofuel front, Eric Brooks, the co-chair of the San Francisco Green Party sustainability working group, has lashed out at the idea of biofuels in general and biodiesel in particular. The response comes in a guest editorial in Beyond Chron called "The Terrible Illusion of Biodiesel." Brooks writes with the gloves off. Check out these selections:

  • Those who trumpet "the valor of biodiesel and other biofuels, need to knock it off immediately.
  • The new biofuels boom is -worse- than global warming. And unwitting starry eyed supporters of it like Willie Nelson and E. "Doc" Smith are the keystone that is helping massive multi-national corporations get the planet's increasingly environmentally conscious public to become blindly hooked on a devastating, diseased, biofuels illusion.
  • The problem is one of sheer scale. The amount of fuel that can be produced from recycling used cooking oil is only a tiny fraction of the total fuel used every day by diesel automobiles. What this means is that projects like San Francisco's waste oils biodiesel program will quickly run out of those waste oils long before even a small part of San Francisco's fleet of diesel cars, trucks and construction equipment is converted to biodiesel. At that point there is only one place to get the supposedly magical biodiesel; from massive corporate plantations of monocrops grown specifically to produce biodiesel.
You can read the whole thing here.

I take Brooks' point that biodiesel won't solve everything. Long-time reader can guess (sorry I'm so predictable) that I'm once again about to point out the Australian government's advice to its citizens last year: Drive less. Of the three Rs of the green movement (reduce, reuse, recycle), the one that has the best chance of helping our planet is the first. Reducing the amount of stuff we use is key. I don't think criticizing someone who is following that last R is a good way to go about enacting positive change, though. Turning a waste product into a usable fuel is good news. No question.

[Source: Beyond Chron]

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