Ethanol is a Good Alternative Energy Solution
Is ethanol the solution to global energy shortages, pollution and oil dependency?
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Ethanol is sustainable
Ethanol can be made with replenishable, biological materials, unlike oil which has a fixed amount and cannot be replenished.
Ethanol may cause less harmful emissions, but the increase in farming and the manufacture of new and expanded cropland hurts the environment in more serious ways. A cut in carbon emissions should not trade off with soil health.
The increase of manufacture of high-nitrogen synthetic fertilizer is a terrible pollutant, and strips the soil bare of key nutrients – as well as killing micro-organisms and earthworms – both of which are key to a sustainable ecosystem.
The land will be wasted in the production of crops like corn for Ethanol – do we want to trade our atmosphere for barren soil? There must be a better way to solve the emissions problem.
Ethanol has less harmful emissions
Ethanol does not contribute to the emissions problem because it does not result in the release of harmful greenhouse gasses, sulphur dioxide, or other toxins such as gasoline. Ethanol’s emissions consist of water vapour, and other inert gasses.
Ethanol may cause less harmful emissions, but the increase in farming and the manufacture of new and expanded cropland hurts the environment in more serious ways. A cut in carbon emsissions should not trade off with soil health.
The increase of manufacture of high-nitrogen synthetic fertilizer is a terrible pollutant, and strips the soil bare of key nutrients - as well as killing microorganisms and earthworms - both of which are key to a sustainable ecosystem.
The land will be wasted in the production of crops like corn for Ethanol - do we want to trade our atmosphere for barren soil? There must be a better way to solve the emssions problem.
Ethanol Creates Food Shortages
Ethanol is often made from basic foodstuffs such as corn. When it becomes an energy source, this spikes the global price for corn as food. This ends up harming people in lesser-developed countries who can no longer afford basic sustenance
Ethanol can be easily made from the non-food parts of the plants – stalks and leaves of corn, or the roots – which wouldn’t hurt the global food price.
This might actually lower the global food price because it would still increase demand for more corn, lowering the price for the food portion but putting a market value on the part that usually gets ploughed under.
Ethanol Creates Harmful Environmental Effects
Ethanol - especially if corn based - creates an equal amount of environmentally harmful effects as gasoline.
Ethanol encourages increased growth of plants such as corn that are very detrimental to the soil as they suck up nutrients that are very difficult to replace if they can be replaced at all.
Ethanol plants require a large amount of fertilizer in order to grow them in such conditions, as well as insecticide to prevent damage from insects. Both chemicals harm other natural plants and animals in the area.
Ethanol agriculture encourages the genetic modification of plants, which may have incredibly harmful effects on the natural state of these plants in the world, as many genetically modified plants have been found growing miles away from their origin.
This can also affect human health, as the effects of genetic modification are virtually unknown, and people could be eating products with the genetic modifications without their knowledge.
Finally, the environmental effects from oil drilling and transport can be stopped, cleaned and repaired - it just takes some time. The environmental problems from genetic manipulation, fertilizer and insecticide cannot be curtailed, or repaired without more damaging chemicals and invasive procedures.
Compared with the environmental effects of fossil fuels, ethanol is clearly a less harmful solution. By using efficient methods of crop rotation and natural fertilizers we can minimise the impact of the extra crops on the land. As for genetic modification, there is no evidence that altered crops can harm human health- anyway, these plants are not being produced for human consumption.
Ethanol supports already established fuel giants
One reason ethanol has much of the support that it does in the media is that it is being pushed by establishments and corporate bodies that have major standing in the current oil/gasoline fuel industry. These bodies could keep themselves at the top of the economic food chain in the coming energy revolution as long as ethanol is the major technology that replaces the use of oil. These fuel giants are arguably the source of much of the hardship among the lower working classes of US citizens in the 20th century. They are also an opposing force to technological innovation, and on occasion have been documented as having directly or indirectly halted progress in fields that could potentially overturn the fuel industry. This is a reason to distrust their motives and deny them whatever power we as a species possibly can.
What do you think?