Portland Indymedia (pdximc) has a long and interesting post on the ecological costs of shifting from fossil fuels to biodiesel in particular that is very interesting. In short, it states that we use 1 billion gallons of fossil fuel per day and that we only generate 1.5 billion gallons of vegetable oil per year. He posits that were we to shift radically from fossil to bio fuels, we would simply shift the burden over onto unsustainably producing the necessary bio feed stocks – feeding human food to cars as it were. He finishes by saying that looking for another fuel – any fuel – to continue our unsustainable energy usage patterns simply props up a flawed energy usage culture for a little bit longer, while shifting the costs around to another place, making us feel better, and gaining some air quality.
Of course, all energy sources have pros, cons, weaknesses, strengths. And of course, varying outputs per dollar invested and varying environmental, social, and cultural costs.
However, I am going to explore this topic more in future postings. It is an interesting counter-point to my recent thinking about the benefits of biofuels.