Posted by: energyblogwalter | April 12, 2006

Re: Clinton calls biofuels key to creating jobs :: Toronto Star April 12, 2006

Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Star:

The growth of the biofuel industry is widely under-reported by the mainstream newsmedia and the growth in the USA has no Canadian parallel. This is why Clinton is there. Canadian farmers are protesting their failures here while in the US they’re making biofuels.

While I appreciate the biofuel industry aims and any news regarding alternatives in dealing with the pending oil crisis, the sad reality is that we are going to need to use our agricultural land for food rather than as another competition point. We’re just going to have to drive a lot less, bicycle more, live in walkable cities, and stop thinking we’re going to continue our growth economies without end.

Basic supply and demand, with demand never falling as supply takes a dive. Yes folks, a growth wall is in sight. This will come to make the oil wobbles of the 70s look like a night out. This is called Peak Oil.

Although biofuels are interesting and worth it on a small farm scale, in terms of large production the amount of Energy Returned on Energy Invested (ERoEI) comes no where close to be considered economical. There’s just not enough land to make it practical. Case in point, the ERoEI on oil was 20:1, hence why it was so successful in propelling industry for the last 150 years. Corn biofuel however results are 1.6:1, like running faster to stand in the same place. Our own tar sands produce 3 barrels of oil for every 2 consumed, so only 3:2 since it’s gas limited. Does either look like a replacement for oil to you? I thought not.

As more and more oil experts, geologists, bank financial advisors, engineers and scientists go to the Internet to be heard as newsmedia continues to ignore them, they show us time and time again that Peak Oil will not be won by alternative technology, no matter how deluted we want to be. The psycology of previous investment prevents us from even imagining that the suburban way of life is unsustainable. We don’t connect the dots. Nor does the newsmedia. This spells a Peak Oil crisis perfect storm. We don’t have a lot of time.

We must consolidate our resources and stop wasting our oil, if we and our families are to not suffer needlessly during the next pending oil crisis. All it takes is Iran to be a problem, or another hurricane in the Gulf to hit Texas etc. We all deserve a more stable financial life.

Biofuel may not be the single answer, but it is one that we need to look at now. But this is only the beginning.


some sources:

EROEI: What does it mean? (good EROEI primer)

(where I got my 3:2 tar sands ratio, under Sand Castles post) | News, articles and commentaries – that really matter
… what it produces – while other ones, more “optimistically”, talk
about a 1.5 EROEI – that is, tar sands produce 3 barrels of oil for
every 2 consumed). …

(ouch, nobody is talking about this of course…)
Canadian Tar Sands: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
Dr. Joe Duarte Tuesday, March 28, 2006

(a wonderful site updated daily regarding peak oil issues. Has a Peak
Oil Primer. If you count the number of articles, why doesn’t the Star
have any? Get reading 😉
Energy Bulletin


  1. Toronto Star article is here :: April 12, 2006 :: Clinton calls biofuels key to creating jobs

  2. another article:

    full text of speech here:

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