Producing biofuels also requires massive quantities of pesticides, fertilizers, fossil fuels – and water. The US Department of Energy calculates that fracking requires 0.6 to 6.0 gallons of fresh or brackish water per million Btu of energy produced. By comparison, corn-based ethanol requires 2,500 to 29,000 gallons of fresh water per million Btu of energy – and biodiesel from soybeans consumes an astounding and unsustainable 14,000 to 75,000 gallons of fresh water per million Btu!
Moreover, biofuels bring no net “carbon” benefits. In terms of carbon molecules consumed and carbon dioxide emitted over the entire planting, growing, harvesting, refining, shipping, and fuel use cycle, ethanol, biodiesel, and other “green” fuels are no better than conventional gasoline and diesel.
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Put bluntly, giving politicians, bureaucrats, and eco-activists power over our energy would be even worse than having them run our healthcare system and insurance websites. Spend enough billions (much of it taxpayer money) on subsidies and propaganda campaigns – and you might convince a lot of people they should pay more at the pump and grocery store, and maybe lose their jobs, for illusory environmental benefits. But low-carbon mandates are a horrid idea that must be scrutinized in open, robust debate.
It’s time we stopped letting ideology trump science, economics, and sanity. We certainly cannot afford to let despotic presidents and governors continue using executive orders to trample on our legislative processes, government by the people, constitutions, laws, freedoms, livelihoods, and living standards.
Fiats are fun cars to drive. Executive fiats are dictatorial paths to bad public policy.
Photo credit: OnceAndFutureLaura (Flickr)
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