Tag Archives: greenhouse gas emissions

Discounting the Future of Biofuels

It appears that global leaders’ faith in energy technologies that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to oil is waning, particularly for biofuels, as reported in GreenInc. Respondents to the survey, which included 1,000 environmental experts, ranked energy conservation and efficiency technologies as having the greatest potential impact, both short- and long-term. Some 44 percent of respondents also said they expect that the current economic crisis will hinder progress toward an effective international climate agreement. Read More >

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EPA Continues to Move Toward Calculation of Indirect GHGs

Dr. Bruce Dale of Michigan State University published a Commentary in the Washington Times on Nov. 26, calling for sound science in development of the EPA’s rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Dr. Dale points out, “No actual data exist that connect U.S. domestic ethanol production with, to cite a widely quoted example, the clearing of the Amazon rain forest. Instead, the paper’s conclusions depend entirely on economic modeling and assumptions.” He then discusses his Read More >

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EPA Gets Input on Sustainable Biofuels

On Monday Oct. 27, the EPA’s Science Advisory Board held a workshop in Washington on “Looking to the Future.” The stated purpose of the workshop was “to stimulate SAB thinking about priorities for meeting critical environmental problems with an integrated approach to interdisciplinary science and research” and gather data on the net environmental implications of biofuels. A number of experts on biofuels and agriculture gave SAB presentations on land use change and other possible climate 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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Does Oil Cause Indirect Land Use Change?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention recently to new analyses attempting to model carbon emissions from indirect land use change, which is the conversion of land needed to maintain an international balance of supply and demand for agricultural crops, an effect that is heavily determined by crop prices. These new analyses raise a question about the existing assumption that oil has zero effect on land use change. Tim Searchinger, the lead author of one Read More >

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