Plants at the pump: biofuels, climate change, and sustainability

Biofuels — liquids produced from plant matter that can substitute for gasoline or diesel — are attracting significant public support and, in hot pursuit, private investment. The biofuels dream envisages a seamless transition from the age of oil, with its overly powerful suppliers, erratic prices, and high levels of pollution, to a world of clean fuels produced from lush fields by prosperous farmers. Sugarcane, corn, soy, and canola will supply our fuels today; wood, grasses, and even algae will meet our fuel needs in just a few years. For those concerned about climate change, biofuels look timely. Transport fuels account for about 20 per cent of CO2 emissions today, but the proportion is much higher in some wealthy countries, and the share is rising globally. Many alternative fuels for transportation are even more highly polluting than oil , and so far electric vehicles and hydrogen have failed to meet motorists' demands at acceptable prices. Meanwhile, auto companies, eager to protect their more profitable niches (particularly bigger, heavier vehicles), have embraced biofuels, as enthusiasm for "green" fuels has reduced political pressure to improve corporate average fuel economies.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 52p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01384395
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • ISBN: 9781569736708
  • Files: ATRI
  • Created Date: Aug 22 2012 4:32PM