Author Archive: Paul Winters

Paul Winters

Paul is a communications director for BIO. An alumnus of UCLA and the University of California Davis, he moved to Washington, DC, in 2000.

Latest Posts

Questioning the Relationship Between Biofuels and Food Costs

A new study released by Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center undermines one of the key assumptions used in the studies that attributed a huge “carbon debt” to biofuels. The assumption used by Searchinger et al. is that biofuel production increases the cost of all commodity grains, encouraging countries to convert additional land – such as rainforest, peat land, and savannah – to agricultural production. The Searchinger paper calculates that agricultural production will have Read More >

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Uncontrollable Forces

Two editorials in the New York Times this week have claimed that rising oil prices are “uncontrollable forces” and “not anyone’s fault.” (See The World Food Crisis, 4/10/08 and Grains Gone Wild, Paul Krugman, 4/7/08). The implication is that biofuel policy in the United States IS controllable – and eliminating use of food crops for biofuels will allow U.S. grains to fill markets throughout the world. This scenario ignores the effect that oil prices have Read More >

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British Government to Study Indirect Impacts of Biofuels

Last week, Britain’s Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) launched a series of studies of the indirect land-use impacts of biofuels, following a lecture by Princeton’s Tim Searchinger, lead author of “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land Use Change” published in Science in February. The RFA intends to publish a draft report in May, prior to negotiation of EU-wide biofuels targets to 2020 in Brussels later this year. Britain is set Read More >

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Do Biofuels Always Bring Rainforest Destruction?

The debate over “carbon debt” created by changes in land use has recently expanded to include the issue of competition between food and fuel and its effect on developing countries. David Tilman of the University of Minnesota, one of the lead authors of the “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt” article in Science, recently held an interview with Newsweek magazine in which he says, In order to grow biofuels, farmers have gone to fertile Read More >

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Trying to Define the Indirect Land Use Issue

Michigan State University Professor of Chemical Engineering Bruce Dale recently sent a letter to colleagues interpreting the analyses by Searchinger et al. and Fargione et al. in Science. In the letter, Dale says, “The Searchinger and Fargione argument at its root is this: corn (and perhaps cellulosic) ethanol is not sustainable because it will divert land use for animal feed (over 70% of corn is fed to animals) to new lands that will release large Read More >

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