Category Archives: Biofuels & Climate Change

An Interesting Coincidence?

The papers published in Science two weeks ago continue to make headlines, as a quick search of Google News will show. Also this week, oil reached the $100 per barrel mark. Meanwhile, debate over the Science papers continues, and some truths are out there, as we said when we began this public forum. Nathanael Greene of the Natural Resources Defense Council notes the media have made rather simplistic assessments of the Science papers.Greene writes that the Read More >

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Scientists Respond to Carbon Debt Issue

Reaction to the ScienceXpress articles by Searchinger et al. and Tilman et al. has focused on the assumptions the teams of authors used in measuring greenhouse gas emissions from changes in land use. As Michigan State University Professor of Chemical Engineering Bruce Dale points out, Both of these papers are modeling studies and are therefore completely dependent on the validity of the models themselves and also of the basic assumptions and data input to the Read More >

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Biofuels and Carbon Debt

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 establishes an ambitious renewable fuel standard that increases biofuel production and use to 36 billion gallons by 2022. The standard also mandates that renewable fuels produced in new facilities constructed after enactment of the Act, which occurred in December 2007, “achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to baseline lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.” The Act does not specify a specific instrument for measuring Read More >

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The Truth is Out There

The journal Science published two papers: Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land Use Change Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt in their online, early publication ScienceXpress that suggest that the production and use of biofuels may be worse for climate change than gasoline. The study and papers argue that cultivating more land to produce biofuels will create a “carbon debt” that has to be repaid. The conclusion Read More >

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