Energy sources now and in the future
From: Brian Tremback (
Date: Sat, 16 Jul 2011 18:07:47 -0700 (PDT)
Wayne Tyson: ""Biofuels" are only possible because of fossil energy inputs, now, and the basic con is that outputs exceed inputs. However, that is doubtful, and even the "calculations" made to justify this practice (which diverts agricultural space and products from food production, thus raising food prices, and increasingly lays waste to complex ecosystems) can claim only marginal net outputs in excess of inputs (like sugar-cane)."

Apologizing for continuing an issue mostly peripheral to cohousing, I couldn't resist adding my own concerns about biofuels. Cellulosic ethanol is commonly held out as a way to alleviate objections to diverting food crops from people to vehicles. What is typically ignored is that the so-called "waste" products that would be used for ethanol feedstock (eg. corn stover and wheat straw) is valuable for maintaining soil organic matter that is already usually well below optimal levels in agricultural soils, even those using organic practices. Because these crop residues reduce erosion, increase the soil's ability to hold fertilizers against leaching, increase infiltration/decrease runoff, decrease compaction, etc., we can expect degradation of farmland if this type of ethanol takes off.

Brian Tremback
Burlington Cohousing East Village
Burlington, VT<mailto:brian.tremback [at]>

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