Tag Archives: biofuels

Don't Rush to Judgment

In 1953 Linus Pauling and Robert Corey published their structure of DNA, 3 strands twisted around each other. Shortly after that James Watson and Francis Crick published the correct structure of DNA, the one on which the biotechnology industry is built.That is the way science goes. Scientists make discoveries, publish their work, and others come along to either support or dispute those discoveries. Imagine if we had just rushed to judgment back then and gone Read More >

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Clouding Assumptions

Science magazine this week published an exchange between Vinod Khosla, the venture capitalist who has invested a great deal in alternative energy, and Timothy Searchinger and coauthor Richard Houghton critiquing and defending the February 2008 study, “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change” The exchange reveals some of the nuances of indirect land use change arguments that have not been addressed. Khosla’s comments raise two important issues, allocation Read More >

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High Food Prices Hurt Consumers and Biofuels Companies

Yesterday, the New York Times wrote: “A United Nations food agency called on Tuesday for a review of biofuel subsidies and policies, noting that they had contributed significantly to rising food prices and the hunger in poor countries. With policies and subsidies to encourage biofuel production in place in much of the developed world, farmers often find it more profitable to plants crops for fuel than for food, a shift that has helped lead to Read More >

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EPA Denies Texas Request to Waive RFS

Today, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson announced the decision to deny Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s request for a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard. Johnson said in a press release: “After reviewing the facts, it was clear this request did not meet the criteria in the law. The RFS remains an important tool in our ongoing efforts to reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions and lessen our dependence on foreign oil, in aggressive yet practical ways.” In Read More >

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UK Study Highlights Uncertainty in Calculating Indirect Land Use Emissions

Britain’s Renewable Fuels Agency this week released the Gallagher Review, a report on the indirect effects of biofuels production that was prompted by the Searchinger and Fargione studies published in Science earlier this year. (See this blog’s earlier post on the forthcoming study.) The summary of the conclusions of the Gallagher Review include some very telling comments: Quantification of GHG emissions from indirect land-use change requires subjective assumptions and contains considerable uncertainty. “Current lifecycle analyses Read More >

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