Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Biofuel Scam

As if to make my previous point about how fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) surrounds the green agenda, The Guardian newspaper in the UK today reported a scam involving the supply of biofuel in Europe.

It seems that in the US there is an agricultural subsidy for blending biodiesel. As a result, the fuel is being shipped from Europe to the US, mixed with a little local product to earn the subsidy, and then shipped back to Europe and sold at a price that undercuts local suppliers.

Firstly, the whole use of biofuel is somewhat suspect, because it increases the price of crops above what local markets can pay. There is also the danger of rain forests being cut down to grow biofuel, which rather defeats the object.

Secondly, both shipping and air transport are excluded from virtually all national and international greenhouse gas measurement (don't ask me why), so the carbon cost of shipping to the US and back is invisible to all concerned.

Thirdly, companies are innocently and with the best of intentions buying biofuel to reduce carbon emissions when the fuel may well end up generated as much or more CO2 than the fossil fuel equivalent.

So the methodology is suspect, no one is counting, the well-intentioned are being duped and someone is making a fast buck. It's no wonder there's a degree of caution in going green.

On the other hand it means that companies will be looking for trusted partners to help them and software and IT services players have a lot of experience in partnering with specialists and managing the sort of business transformation required.

© The Green IT Review

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