[OPINION] Burning Trees for Electricity Is a Bad Idea
– by Bill McKibben, September 8, 2016, Grist
Climate change is such a vast and systemic problem that almost every large industry has tried to figure out how to make some money off it in the last couple of decades. That’s OK — money is one motivator, and someone has to build all those solar panels.
But that greed also leads to some very bad ideas. They can seem — at least to some people — like good ideas at first. And hey, when you’re in a crisis, it’s worth trying out all sorts of things. The trouble is, even when it has become clear from a scientific standpoint that these approaches aren’t working, companies and politicians keep doubling down, simply because there’s money to be made.
Turning corn into ethanol, for instance. That sounded smart, until it became clear that it took almost as much energy to grow the corn as you got from the biofuel you produced. One new study, in fact, found that powering an American car on corn ethanol generates more carbon pollution than using gasoline.