While tributes to Queen Elizabeth II almost all mentioned her driving a military truck at the end of WWII, I'm going to focus on our King and his interest in finding various ways to solve environmental issues.
Ahead of the COP 26 Summit, he pointed out that it runs on E85 (85 per cent ethanol, 15 per cent petrol), however he faced mockery over it from some in the media, and I believe that was because he gave people's general level of intelligence far too much credit.
Beyond simply stating it runs on mostly biofuel (ethanol), he cited the feedstock used, which in this case was surplus white wine and whey (a cheese byproduct).
One of the UK-based articles I saw at the time claimed that experts said the idea wasn't scalable. But that's bollocks for multiple reasons.
First up, define scalable. Does any one solution have to suit every single person on the planet, or just a big enough number of them to have a noticeable impact?
One thing people seem to really struggle grasping is the concept that there does not, nor can there ever be with a population this size and this developed (and growing), one solitary solution that fits all the transport energy needs of all users.
As such, we need multiple solutions, so apart from more electric vehicles (and ideally, some hydrogen ones as well) being put onto the market (by whatever means regulators find works), other ways to reduce Australia's overall fossil fuel consumption include better public transit for workers and students, more people working from home, and more people choosing workplaces or schools closer to where they live.
Once you have your definition though, tell Brazil that ethanol isn't scalable, because they were consuming more ethanol than petrol as a nation almost 15 years ago, and they are the globe's second largest producer, behind the USA.
Then tell Canada, who have been the top ethanol exporter to the USA most years.
Secondly, there are many feedstocks which can produce ethanol, and none in particular need to be consumed by any living thing (unless your goal is to be a carbon sink, storing it under your skin).
Brazil makes most of its ethanol from sugar cane, which is not only one of the highest-yielding crop options, it's also not something that any human need ever consume.
Anyone who says the wine should be drunk rather than distilled into fuel doesn't work in a medical profession. There was also a staggering quantity of wine grapes lost in Australia either due to smoke taint or issues related to excess rain in recent years.
So to any deforestation argument, I say are you going to stop consuming epic quantities of unhealthy junk that just make you fat? And are you also going to give up meat? Because that is responsible for a ridiculous amount of land clearing worldwide.
Thirdly, with flex-fuel cars, they can switch back-and-forth between any percentage of ethanol and petrol and the engine management system will just deal with it (thanks to a sensor in the fuel line measuring the percentage). For other petrol cars the conversion to E85 is also very easy. I even did it myself a couple of times years ago.
Fourthly, the average age of Australia's fleet for example is over 10 years, and other nations without an age limit are far from new as well. Plus it costs the release of 8-15 tonnes of carbon for each new passenger vehicle produced (with fully electric at least 50 per cent higher than ICE due to the battery) so while a transition to batteries does need to take place, biofuels can play a role right now for those who want, or indeed need (because of affordability), to use an older vehicle.
In fact, it's staggering to me that we're even still having this discussion. We have wasted decades burning more non-renewables than we needed to, and don't look like improving our habits anytime soon, either.
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