Wednesday, November 4, 2009
The Global Significance of Project Jatropha
I have met several environmentalists in the past eight months during workshops, presentations, and conferences. Most of them are very impressed with what Project Jatropha is doing, but some of them have asked me how the project helps America when the project site is all the way across the other side of the planet. In order to answer this question, we have made some changes in the web site home page and I thought of making a blog post too.
Carbon dioxide emissions are local, but their effects are global. There are one hundred and ninety four countries on this globe, big and small; their boundaries are fixed but the air that they breathe is shared. No matter who contributes how much to the CO2 burden, all nations suffer together. The USA is one of the largest producers of carbon dioxide in the world, and if we don't start decreasing emissions and transitioning away from fossil fuels, the repercussions will be felt throughout the world. We are looked upon as a world leader but if we do not lead by example, we are destined to be followers. It is of the utmost importance that this transition starts now, because if emissions are not curbed significantly by 2050, then the tipping point of climate change will be reached. In addition, a transition away from fossil fuels is key to not only creating countless new jobs in green industries, but also in mitigating the impact of peak oil and decrease the amount of pollutants in our atmosphere. This is where Project Jatropha comes in. Jatropha curcas is a carbon sink, taking carbon dioxide out of the air and putting it into the ground. The bio fuel produced by the seeds provides a clean, alternative source of energy that not only helps reduce emissions, but also is able to be used in all kinds of vehicles. In addition, by providing an alternative crop to tobacco for rural farmers, the burning of large quantities of firewood, which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, can be reduced. By demonstrating that biofuels can be produced in a sustainable and economical way, Project Jatropha hopes to start a mass movement to mitigate climate change across the entire world.