Tag Archives: climate change

It’s Carbon Payback Time

A recent study from researchers at the University of Wisconsin takes another look at the “carbon debt” models proposed by Searchinger and Fargione in ScienceXpress earlier this year. Searchinger and Fargione argued that biofuel development in the United States and Europe would lead to the destruction of rainforests and grassland in Brazil and other tropical climates, which would of course release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere (See earlier posting). The new study takes Read More >

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Linking Biotechnology, Chemistry & Agriculture for a better future

Interested in alternative energy sources? BIO’s World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology and Bioprocessing, on April 27-30 in Chicago, IL, is the forum where experts from around the globe come together to discuss this topic, with major themes around sustainability and climate change.  But let’s not stop there. If industrial and environmental biotechnology is your business — this is a meeting you must attend.  We’ll have sessions about: synthetic biology and directed evolution, sustainable biofuels, bioplastics, and 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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Meet the Press (Or at least their editorial boards)

Recently two editorials were written by the NY Times and Washington Post concerning biofuels in which the recent Science papers were referred to. According to the NY Times, “The studies’ authors say that some ethanol sources wood wastes, or grasses planted on previously degraded land — could yield net benefits in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Still, they are one more reminder that regulators will have to design the tightest possible standards for ethanol production. Read More >

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Is the Debate on Land Use Over?

The full implications of the German Marshall Fund and Nature Conservancy articles in Science and the agenda and arguments of environmental and conservation advocates are coming more into focus. Consider comments posted by Nathanael Greene of the Natural Resources Defense Council on his Switchboard: While we still do not have international protocols that pay to protect or simply prohibit clearing of carbon rich lands, emissions from cleared land driven by marginally higher demand is simply Read More >

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