Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources last week denounced ethanol as an alternative to petroleum-based motor fuels.
In a speech to the International Oil Summit in Paris, Minister Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi said, “Let’s be realistic, ethanol and biofuels will not contribute to the protection of the global environment by reducing (carbon dioxide) emissions, they will not increase energy security, nor will they reduce dependency on fossil fuels to any appreciable degree.”
“Their cultivation eats into the human food supply, reduces the absorption of carbon dioxide as forests are cut down, has not improved the security of energy supply and has not reduced petrol prices,” he added.
Not surprisingly, Renewable Fuels Association President Bob Dinneen took exception to Minister Al-Naimi’s assertions about the energy, economic and environmental impacts of ethanol.
“For the Saudi Oil Minister to assert that biofuels are not an effective energy alternative is no different from the wolf complaining that Little Red Riding Hood was interrupting his dinner plans,” Dinneen wrote. “As a leader of a country that opposes strict limits on carbon emissions and favors continued expansion of petroleum production, it is not surprising that you express opposition to the development of biofuels.”
“What is also galling about your statement is the claim that biofuels negatively impact the ‘food market.’ The evidence demonstrates that the number one negative impact on the food market is the high price of your primary export – oil,” Dinneen continued. “One hundred dollar per barrel oil has driven up the cost of everything from fertilizer to diesel oil used to transport food, to plastics used in food packaging.”