Tuesday, August 23, 2011
The article, entitled "The False Promise of Biofuels," is a blatantly biased, one-sided and thoroughly pessimistic view of ethanol and biodiesel that misrepresents the research and leaves out important and pertinent information. "Breakthroughs remain possible," the articles says, "and the scientific quest for a better biofuel continues, but investors and politicians might be wise not to stake much money or policy on a high-risk bet." The author, David Biello, is referring to the whole biofuels industry as a "high-risk bet."
Here's another gem from the article: "Replacing all U.S. transportation fuel with corn ethanol...would require a farm three times the size of the continental U.S."
Biello is apparently not even a scientist (usually Scientific American articles are written by research scientists — specialists in their field).
I looked through the board of advisors to see who might be motivated to support such a blistering excoriation, expecting to find someone from the petroleum industry. It would not have been a surprise to see them carrying on their long-running tradition of slandering the competition (they've been doing it since the early 1900s). But I didn't find anyone obviously connected to the oil industry.
I searched through the magazine expecting to find a big ad by an oil company, but there were none.
A week later, Lilly discovered in the previous month's Scientific American issue a double page ad on the first two pages of Scientific American from Chevron, the second largest American oil company (which has been posting enormous profits).
Did Scientific American sell out? After reading about what happened to David Blume, I wouldn't be surprised.
I invite you to answer to the Scientific American article, which you can read here: The False Promise of Biofuels. Letters to the editor go to email@example.com.