Canada’s New-Found Ethanol Love

May 12, 2009 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

According to the Globe and Mail, Environment Minister Jim Prentice has gained cabinet support for proposed regulations requiring 5% ethanol be included in gasoline by September 2010. Yup, Canada’s jumping on the Ethanol bandwagon, just as America is contemplating stepping off.

Obviously Ottawa missed all the studies that suggest corn ethanol is not a solution, but part of the problem. The fact that it raises food prices by displacing food crops for fuel crops aside, ethanol doesn’t magically pop out of the ground. It takes energy to grow (using fossil fuel based chemical fertilizers), to cultivate (using fuel burning machinery) and to process (using natural gas or coal). And that fuel-growing land was once used for living things that sequestered CO2- ethanol production has led to more land-demand. But “the department does not include indirect land use emissions in its calculations.”

[here are 3 studies on the matter, for starters: “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change“; “Climate change and health costs of air emissions from biofuels and gasoline“; “Effects of Ethanol Versus Gasoline Vehicles on Cancer and Mortality in the United States”]

Or maybe they did hear the news, but don’t care:

Industry consultant Barry Bower, a former official in the Ontario government, said governments are often less concerned about emissions from ethanol plants than they are about providing markets for grain growers and incentives to build plants in rural constituencies.
“Environmental analysis of how ethanol plants perform is not allowed to impinge on the decision whether or not that plants gets built,” he said.

I’m tired of the Big Thinkers proposing quick solutions instead of getting at the heart of the problem. WE NEED TO EVALUATE OUR LIFESTYLES. Giving us a green-washed excuse to continue to live as thoughtlessly as we have is not helping anyone. Well, except the farmers, but I have a lot more respect for farmers that “feed cities” literally, not figuratively.

Here’s where you can find the contact information for your MP. I, for one, would like them to know that quick fixes aren’t going to cut it.


Entry filed under: Activism, consume less, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , .

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