Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)

Canadian Renewable Fuels Association (CRFA)

May 02, 2008 10:40 ET

Rex Murphy Reality Check

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 2, 2008) - Last night on CBC's The National, Rex Murphy got his facts wrong on biofuels. Here are the facts.

Rex Murphy Myth 1: "Biofuel releases 93 times the amount of greenhouse gas that would be saved..."

Reality: Mr. Murphy references a Science magazine article which is inherently flawed, and has been roundly discredited in the academic community. It bases its GHG calculations on 36 billion gallons of ethanol from corn in the U.S. The fact is the U.S. will never make that much corn ethanol. By law, it will max out at 15 billion gallons - the rest will be nonfood derived cellulosic ethanol. So much for Rex's commitment to "rationality and real science."

Rex Murphy Myth 2: Mr. Murphy says he won't go as far as the U.N. calling biofuels "a crime against humanity."

Reality: While the U.N. F.A.O. has distanced itself from that statement, Mr. Murphy also won't go as far as quoting the head of the U.N. Environment Program, who on April 28th said, "We have enough food on this planet today to feed everyone." The U.N.'s Achim Steiner added, "The way that markets and supplies are currently being influenced by perceptions of future markets is distorting access to that food."

Rex Murphy Myth 3: Ethanol is driving up the cost and diminishing the stock of food for the world's poorest people.

Reality: Oil and gas prices are up 100% in one year. Oil at over $100/barrel has a disproportionately negative impact on the developing world, where annual incomes are dramatically lower than in the developed world. Mr. Murphy should note the price of rice and fish are way up. Both are staples in the developing world and neither has anything to do with biofuels production.

Rex Murphy Myth 4: Biofuels over their life add more CO2 than they save.

Reality: Government of Canada studies and the peer reviewed science is clear. Ethanol and biodiesel reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and have a positive energy balance. Mr. Murphy's claims are based on those of a bug doctor at Cornell, who, by the way, also wants state-sanctioned population control to reduce the world population from over 6 billion to 2 billion.

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