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"Philosophical Disinformation", by José Domínguez Abascal, Technical Secretary-General of Abengoa.

June 5, 2008

Long gone are the days when philosophers contributed to the progression and dissemination of all knowledge, from the world of nature to reflections on ethics. The development of knowledge across the centuries has implied a degree of specialization that today hinders a philosopher’s complete knowledge of technical or economic issues. If we add to this difficulty the lack of reliable information, we are faced with an exer-cise in disinformation such as the article by Rubert de Ventós, Del oro negro al petróleo verde (From black gold to green oil), published last Sunday.

Clichés such as the Mexican “tortilla uprising” revealing the author’s ignorance (the white corn used to make tortillas has nothing to do with the yellow corn used in bioethanol production) are interspersed with statements such as “soy ethanols”, when this seed is not used for ethanol production. He states that ethanol produced from cellu-lose biomass (i.e. second-generation ethanol) will be made from forests, when in fact it will be distilled from crop waste and herbaceous crops that do not compete for acreage with either food crops or forest land. He claims that “only 20% of its production (refer-ring to bioethanol) is actually new energy”. Another example of his lack of information: ethanol uses much less fossil energy than it is capable of replacing, and it is gradually using less.

As for his speculations on emerging countries, he adopts a position diametrically opposed to that of the President of the European Parliament’s Development Commis-sion; José Borrell has pointed out that modern industrial agriculture for biofuels will constitute an enormous opportunity for developing countries. Providing, of course, that their governments do not abort it to maintain their control of the mechanisms of power and that developed countries do not maintain their illegitimate protectionism.

José Domínguez Abascal
Technical Secretary-General of Abengoa

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