2007 began with tortilla riots in Mexico and ended with grain riots in China as high energy prices and ethanol production drove up corn and grain prices. Forests are being cleared from Sumatra to the Congo to make way for oil palm plantations to meet the demand for biodiesel. In the U.S. alone there are 250 million vehicles with tanks that need to be filled with liquid fuels.
The demand for petroleum alternatives — for both energy security and global warming reasons — is not going away.
In 2008, we anticipate some negative reactions to what’s been occurring with biofuel production, first in Europe, then perhaps in the U.S. The European Union will develop standards to exclude fuels created by destroying forests and encourage those made from wastes. Both Europe and the U.S. will focus on more efficient second generation technologies that produce greater climate benefits at lower environmental costs.