Bloomberg: global warming "just as lethal" as terrorism
February 12, 2008

New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Monday that global warming is as big a threat to humanity as terrorism, according to Reuters.

"Terrorists kill people, weapons of mass destruction have the potential to kill enormous numbers of people, global warming has the potential to kill everybody," Bloomberg told reporters after addressing a UN General Assembly debate on climate change. "This is really just as lethal, it's just that the results are something we will face long term."

Bloomberg has proposed reducing New York City's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 through energy efficient building standards, converting the taxi cab fleet to hybrid cars by 2012, and implementing "congestion pricing" to curtail car use.

Corn ethanol not the solution

On the heels of a pair of reports published in Science showing that U.S. corn ethanol subsidies are driving deforestation in the tropics and fueling greenhouse gas emissions instead of helping mitigate global warming, Bloomberg blasted a new law that would require 15 billion gallons of biofuels come from corn ethanol by 2022.

"People literally will starve to death in parts of the world, it always happens when food prices go up," said Bloomberg, adding that corn ethanol requires more energy to produce than it yields.

Bloomberg said that instead of subsidizing inefficient ethanol production from corn, tariffs on higher-yielding Brazilian sugarcane ethanol should be reduced. Analysts report that sugarcane-derived ethanol carries a lower environmental cost than U.S. produced corn ethanol.

In comments made at the UN General Assembly Richard Branson, the billionaire British entrepreneur who has invested in next-generation biofuels, agreed.

"I think if America got rid of the importation duty on sugar-based ethanol, that's what would happen and I think the world would benefit from that," Branson was quoted as saying.

Biofuels are worsening global warming
Converting native ecosystems for production of biofuel feed stocks is worsening the greenhouse gas emissions they are intended to mitigate, reports a pair of studies published in the journal Science. The studies follow a series of reports that have linked ethanol and biodiesel production to increased carbon dioxide emissions, destruction of biodiverse forest and savanna habitats, and air and water pollution.

U.S. biofuels policy drives deforestation in Indonesia, the Amazon
(1/17/2008) U.S. incentives for biofuel production are promoting deforestation in southeast Asia and the Amazon by driving up crop prices and displacing energy feedstock production, say researchers.

CITATION: (February 12, 2008).

Bloomberg: global warming "just as lethal" as terrorism.