Came across this on Digg, and it’s very though provoking if not a very long and detailed read.
On The Oil Drum|Sustainability, Energy Independence and Agricultural Policy the case is made for using biomass (I.E. Not just corn mind you, but all the by-products of agricultural production)
In short – we could:
a) Cut our dependence on foreign oil and natural gas. I mean completely cut imports. Imagine how hard the spread of radical Islam would be when they have no money.
b) Decrease carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere. There still seems to be mixed opinion on whether or not our current society produces an excess of carbon dioxide that influences our atmosphere. I happen to think we do, while others including friends think it doesn’t. But we’ve had some seriously weird weather past decade or so which leads me to believe that things are changing for the worse or better depending upon your perspective.
c) Finally come damnably close to achieving Type 1 status on the Kardashev Scale. A Type 1 civilization uses all the energy resources of its planet, or approximately 10^16 watts of power. That’s 100,000,000,000,000,000 watts.
It’s worth it to think about how we could make life better for every one of us.