In 1998, Whitley Strieber had never heard of climate change, but the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW).
Biofuels like ethanol lead to hunger. Despite this, the US keeps subsidizing corn crops. The touting of "green" cars, burning ethanol, at this year’s NASCAR race is the start of a season long TV marketing campaign by the ethanol lobby to sell Americans on the merits of fuel made from corn. We are facing a massive energy crunch, because experts don’t think there is much oil left in the world–only about 49 years worth at current consumption levels. Passenger cars account for more than half the demand, which will rise as the Chinese demand for cars is expected to rise from 22 cars-per-thousand-people rise to 350 by 2050. Car ownership in India is expected to increase to 200 from 55. This extra demand for cars will lead to the consumption of 190 million barrels of oil per day, from its current level of 90 million.
In the Financial Post, Yadullah Hussain quotes HSBC bank analysts as saying, "At more than US$100 per barrel, substitutes for crude such as tar sands and synthetic liquids become more viable. Towards US$150 per barrel biofuels come into their own." The US spends about $6 billion a year on federal support for ethanol production through tax credits, tariffs, and other programs. One-sixth of the world’s corn supply is burned in American cars–enough corn to feed 350 million people for a year. In Slate, Bjorn Lomborg reports that this year, that to climate change, the world had a particularly bad growing season, global food prices are the highest they have been since 1990, pushed up mainly by increases in the cost of corn. This means that millions more people will be undernourished than would have been the case if there was no official support for ethanol.
Let’s avoid these problems (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to these shows). How about making fuel from what is, in effect, pond scum? Algae-derived oils could be an alternative to fossil fuels, helping to meet congressionally mandated renewable fuel targets by replacing 17% of the nation’s imported oil for transportation BUT, just like fracking, growing algae can require a lot of water (ANOTHER scarce resource!) Algal biofuel can be made by extracting and refining the oils, called lipids, that algae produce as they grow. A new study shows that water use is much less if algae are grown in the regions that have the sunniest and most humid climates, such as the Gulf Coast, the Southeastern Seaboard and the Great Lakes. Huge algae farms would also bring JOBS to these areas!