Energy Independence

One of the major drawbacks to an economy based on fossil fuels, is their regional availability. Fossil fuels cannot be found in many locations and major liquid petroleum deposits are found in very limited geographical regions. The result of such limitations is that certain countries, due primarily to happenstance, have undue influence over world energy supplies. This results in conflict and threats to National Security for countries that have limited supplies of natural fossil fuel reserves. Many have predicted that Biofuels could have a net positive effect on this rather slanted distribution of power.

Despite this utopian ideal, the reality of biofuel energy independence is not so clear cut. First, not every country has the resources needed to grow biofuels. Many countries do not have the land area, access to water, or ability to produce fertilizer for crops and thus would still need to rely on others for their fuel to some degree.

As a second point, the shift in power could have a highly disruptive effect. First, national economies around the world depend on oil revenue to survive. Many Middle Eastern countries have a vested interest in ensuring that oil remains important and profitable given that as much as 90% of government revenue in these places comes from oil exports. To compound this problem, most of these countries would go from net energy exporters to net energy importers, further damaging their economies and forcing them to completely shift their industrial and commercial focuses.

Major Oil Producing Regions (From: CIA World Factbook and in Public Domain)

Oil Reserves

Finally, other countries with vast land resources and access to good growing conditions stand to become hew hotbeds of conflict. It is unlikely that the fight over energy will cease given that the location of suppliers will change and not everyone will be able to meet their energy needs from biofuels.

Dry Regions of World (From: USDA and in Public Domain)

 

Regions of world

In the map above, dry regions are shown in grey. Red regions indicate areas that are not considered desert, but are at high risk of becoming desert. Blue regions are too cold to grow crops.