The Truth is Out There: But you have to look

Biofuels & Climate Change

Biofuels are great! There. I’ve been wanting to say that. And I say that not just because I work here at BIO, but because the science in the Science papers needs a little examining. There is misinformation all over the blogosphere. For example, Siko, in the German Carzone posting the following comments today,

“Two studies shows that replacing fossil fuels with corn-based ethanol would double greenhouse gas emissions over the next three decades. The studies show that switchgrass, an alternative to ethanol that’s more weed than plant, would boost emissions by 50%.

How? It’s because, as I described in my piece, so much energy is required to fertilize, harvest and refine the fuels. It’s also because the growing of fuel plants replaces the growing of vegetation that actually consumes harmful greenhouse gases.”

One thing Siko fails to mention is the use of new cropping practices that are reducing the green house gas impacts of corn and other bioenergy crops, such as no-till farming: No till farming results in carbon being stored in the soil in the plant’s ‘root ball’, increasing sequestration 2-3 fold. Biotech corn varieties and collection of agricultural residues for biofuels production both allow for greater adoption of no-till farming. (See BIO report at http://bio.org/ind/biofuel/SustainableBiomassReport.pdf.)

Unfortunately the studies in Science also fail to take this critical piece of information into account. And this is only the beginning of a list of inappropriate assumptions. Stay tuned for more to follow.

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