(1) Biofuels are "green" or environment friendly, allegedly because they are "carbon neutral" -- taking up carbon dioxide while living and giving up the same when they are fed to the cars.
(2) Biofuels will help the Philippines achieve energy independence from imported fossil fuels.
(3) Biofuel production won't compete with food production because the government has already identified sizeable areas for additional rice planting.
They haven't been paying attention to the recent scientific research on this matter, they aren't listening to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or doing the simple arithmetic needed to see what a dangerous and possibly deluded idea biofuels actually are as a solution to the energy crisis and the sharp increase in global food prices.
(1) Scientists at Princeton University strenuously disagree with Nene and Migz in this recent Scientific American article, Biofuels Are Bad for Feeding People and Combatting Climate Change.
"Prior analyses made an accounting error," says one study's lead author, Tim Searchinger, an agricultural expert at Princeton University. "There is a huge imbalance between the carbon lost by plowing up a hectare [2.47 acres] of forest or grassland from the benefit you get from biofuels.In other words, biofuels, better called agrofuels, won't be any cleaner to burn than fossil fuels like gasoline, from the point of view of climate change or global warming. They are likely to be worse, especially if they utilize so called wastelands and forests. The impact of converting such lands to agrofuel production is not GREEN at all.
By turning crops such as corn, sugarcane and palm oil into biofuels—whether ethanol, biodiesel, or something else—proponents hope to reap the benefits of the carbon soaked up as the plants grow to offset the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted when the resulting fuel is burned. But whether biofuels emit more or less CO2 than gasoline depends on what the land they were grown on was previously used for, both studies show.
Tilman and his colleagues examined the overall CO2 released when land use changes occur. Converting the grasslands of the U.S. to grow corn results in excess greenhouse gas emissions of 134 metric tons of CO2 per hectare—a debt that would take 93 years to repay by replacing gasoline with corn-based ethanol. And converting jungles to palm plantations or tropical rainforest to soy fields would take centuries to pay back their carbon debts. "Any biofuel that causes land clearing is likely to increase global warming," says ecologist Joseph Fargione of The Nature Conservancy, lead author of the second study. "It takes decades to centuries to repay the carbon debt that is created from clearing land."
(2) Slate Magazine asks Why Are Global Food Prices Soaring? Some good answers are coming from Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, whose recent presentation on the global food pricing situation is sobering.
"In 2007, the FAO Food Price Index averaged 157, up 23 percent from 2006 and 34 percent from 2005. Except for sugar, prices of which declined sharply, international prices of other major food commodities rose significantly in 2007."
Surging oil prices have been the big factor, but so has the surge in biofuel production in traditional exporting countries. From Slate's The Explainer, "High oil prices have also created a secondary problem: The burgeoning interest in biofuels. In 2006, 14 percent of the total corn crop in the United States was converted into ethanol; by 2010, that figure will rise to 30 percent." The United States feeds the world, in more ways than one. So when Iowa farmers feeding the corn crop to the cars in the form of ethanol, expect the rest of the world to get the hungries, or pay more to eat.
The Biofuels Law of 2006 is bound to benefit only the Sugar Barons, whose lobby fulsomely supports Migz and Nene.
(3) Finally, it is hard to imagine how the biofuels idea could be of any significant benefit, given the limited land area this Archipelago of mostly mountains and sensitive wetlands possesses not already needed for present and future food requirements. I did the simple arithmetic for the biofools when they passed that law in 2006, based on yield information from the Washington Post's own computation of the possible impact on a continental nation like America.