Free Custom «Situation Analysis: Biofuel» Essay Sample
Table of Contents
The intended audience of this informative paper is quite wide. It includes the drivers searching for alternative fuel, as well as business owners involved into the system of biofuel production and selling. Moreover, the information should be considered by the government and institutions that release permission for growing massive plantations of oil palms on the territories of the rainforests or various ancestral forests as the representatives responsible for the biofuel business development or limitations. Finally, there are definite reasons to inform younger generation including students as people interested in decreasing their ecological footprint, as well as future scientists who would conduct the research in the area of environment-friendly fuel. This intended audience is likely to be familiar with the fact that carbon footprint of each person is crucial and aim to search for the possibilities to decrease the total greenhouse gas emission in the atmosphere. They also should be aware of diesel and ethanol disadvantages to be able to make a deep comparison between the alternative types of energy and their pros and cons.
The relevance of the discussed topic lies in the fact that carbon emission has become an urgent problem of the 21st century. Mainly due to incredible damage it brings, all people living on the Earth have to think about the threat of industrialization, their own actions, and their consequences for the future of the planet. The setting of the project is relevant because the number of people using cars has considerably grown. For many drivers, biofuel undoubtedly becomes the best choice to show their care about the future of the Earth.
Timelessness of the topic is based on the latest attempts to minimize this harm which were mostly connected with invention of the alternative ways to produce energy. Among them, biofuel is becoming more and more advertised as the most environment-friendly and harmless substitution for oil derivatives.
This goal of the paper is to raise awareness among people about the other side of the coin in the context of biofuel. It is important because unaware choice can make people take wrong decision and unconsciously bring much damage to nature. Moreover, ecosystems are very fragile. Hence, it is important to search for the best answers regarding banning biodiesels or keep developing them till global warming has not become a real threat for the Earth.
Biofuel: Not So Environment-Friendly?
Nowadays, renewable energy has become essential for future economic development and environmental protection. Many experts persuade people that biofuels are the foundation for a better future. Primarily, their environment-friendliness and low carbon emissions are emphasized as the main advantages. Moreover, renewability that implies no or minor harm to the nature is another factor that encourages wide usage of the product. However, one should put the idea of biofuel superiority under hesitation. In reality, few investigations were made to find out the disadvantages of such renewable alternative. With widely advertised biofuel advantages, there appeared another point of view that also deserves attention. Thus, the paper will demonstrate the issue of biofuel from all angles to inform the audience not only about its advantages, but also disadvantages and encourage the audience thinking more deeply when making a choice in favor of palm oil-based renewable energy.
Widely-known advatage of the biofuels is its role in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Such fuels should be much better than petroleum from the perspective of maintaining a natural balance of oxygen and protecting the environment. Hence, gasoline or more clean biofuels have to be used by those who are worried about the future of the planet (Dinneen). The governments of the countries start implementing some fuel standards and particularly the standards for ethanol production. More and more subsidies and investments are provided to the alternative sources of energy to prove that Obama’s administration supports “the renewable fuel standards” (Dinneen). Together with numerous scientists’ feedbacks and GREET model of Department of Energy, the American policies encourage people and companies to prefer biofuel rather than ethanol or diesel (Dinnenn). However, the latest research has raised the question on appropriateness of this approach.
The negative consequences of biofuel were introduced in the article Slash and Burn by Heather Rogers. The author pays particular attention to biofuel production from oil palms to emphasize the damage it can bring to ecosystems, indigenous peoples, and their culture. Replacement of the rainforests with palm plantations has become a real problem for the Indonesians. To produce raw material for biofuels, Duta Palma Nusantara has destroyed thousands acres of forest not far from the village Pareh (Rogers). Such actions uprooted the wild animals and led to the “community supply raiding” by monkeys and wild boars (Rogers). Moreover, the damage was not final and more forests had to be destroyed in the future. With no reaction from the officials, such actions have led not only to natural disbalance and villagers’ concerns, but even to the armed protests. In such a way, the article represents an idea that renewable energy is not a key to the future economic development which will help to enhance environmental protection. Instead, it is likely to lead to more serious ecosystem problems and ruin peaceful interrelations between humans. For these reasons, the life example described by Rogers encourages the readers to think about both pros and cons of biofuels. His article also demonstrates that the ecosystem is very fragile and people have to consider numerous options to find the most effective ways to fight against global warming.
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The common idea is supported in the writing by Hedeggaard. According to the research it presents, one of the most negative aspects of biofuel production is its influence on the natural balance. “Planting crops solely for biofuel” is defined as a real catastrophe for the Earth (Hedeggaard). However, the author does not try to persuade to stop producing biofuel at all. Instead, he warns the readers to be careful with this product as long as this source of energy is not balanced enough to promote ecological and human safety. Moreover, Hedeggaard reminds that forests work better for producing oxygen and consuming carbon dioxide than any other crops (Hedegaard). Therefore, palm oil plantations in Asia, Papua, New Guinea, or thousands hectares of soy plantations in Latin America have become the contribution to global warming and “health problems…caused by smoke and forest fires” (Hedeggaard). With these reasons, Hedeggaard insists that it is highly important to accept the environmental standards that would govern all biofuel trades.
Lack of such standards is catastrophic for the planet. However, these sttandards should also regulate the need of people. Nowadays, the amount of biofuel production is not enough for “feeding the biofuel-powered car” since the car population grows very rapidly (Schoon 30). In his article, Schoon focuses on the changes in farming caused by an increased need in biofuels. However, the statistics show that there is not enough land to produce biofuel that can meet the needs of every person. As a result, Schoon warns the readers that crops used for biofuels can become a serious damage for the environment causing deforestation. According to scientific reports, consequences of deforestation will demand “17-420 years to repay the carbon debt” (Schoon 31). Intensified supply of biofuel can also lead to soil compaction, dried out rivers, soil and water contamination.
In addition, wild animals’ extinction will rise significantly as long as thousands of animals will lose their homes (Schoon 32). USA Today Magazine points out its “severe environmental effects”: the reduction of biodiversity as a serious threat for the natural balance, negative impact on climate and carbon emission (USA Today Magazine). The environmental problems caused by an increased tendency of using biofuels comprise destruction of nature, carbon debt, and climate changes in the next 93 years (Searchinger). Even though it is quite difficult to calculate the footprint of each separate crop, special regulations are necessary. The most widely spread in the U.S. corn-based ethanol is “the most environmentally damaging” (USA Today Magazine). However, the demand is very high. Hence, focusing on the small spaces of producing biofuels rather than planting huge fields full of crops can be a solution that would help to reduce the effect on gas emissions. Some fuels can be superior to the traditional ones, but it is important to support the carbon balance by limiting the plantations’ sizes and avoiding “clearing biologically-rich habitats” (USA Today Magazine).
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In addition to the above mentioned ideas, Martin offers the research conveying that the previous results of biofuel usage were misleading. The amounts of carbon dioxide absorbed by biofuel production offset “carbon dioxide admitted when the biofuel is burned” (Martin). Hence, this results in large damage to the environment. Moreover, inaccurate results cannot be used to define petroleum production as more harmful than production of biofuels. The land should be tested according to what was grown on it before soy or palms in order to estimate all possible consequences of the emissions. Specific number of crops should be grown to produce biofuels without negative consequences for the planet (Martin). In his work, Searchinger also supports the idea that biofuels have a damaging effect on the environment as long as the expected result of using biofuels is opposite to the notions and expectations of scientists. Biofuels increase harmful gas emissions instead of reducing them. According to the calculations, they can even exceed the emissions from ethanol corn-crops on 30% (Searchinger).
To conclude, the analysis of the biofuels’ advantages and disadvantages is quite a disputable issue. Carbon emissions, damage to nature balance, further life of the animals, and climate changes have to be considered when making decisions regarding the proper bioethanol production regulations. The information covered in the essay should become appropriate to push the audience on reflections and further decisions regarding the superiority of biofuels.
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