Tag Archives: rainforest

Wrong Question: Can Biofuels Be Carbon Friendly?

The Science Insider blog last week hosted an interesting debate between Tim Searchinger, Princeton visiting scholar, and John Sheehan, of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, regarding the recent policy proposal in the pages of Science by Searchinger et al. to “fix” the carbon accounting of biomass for bioenergy and biofuels in U.S. legislation and the successor to the Kyoto protocol, by giving credit only to biomass that can be managed Read More >

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Opportunity Costs

The Washington Post this week reported on a carbon-credit proposal being put forward by Ecuador for consideration in UNFCCC Climate Change Talks. Ecuador is asking for carbon credits in exchange for leaving undisturbed one-fifth of its petroleum reserves, which are located beneath a protected national park that is part of the Amazon rainforest. The proposal is similar to one put forward by Brazil last August, called the Amazon Fund, which asks foreign countries to donate Read More >

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Midnight Rule

The EPA apparently missed the statutory deadline (Dec. 19) to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Renewable Fuel Standard. The Bush administration last summer announced that it would not promulgate new rules during its final 30 days, in order to stay away from “midnight rulemaking.” That self-imposed deadline (Dec. 20) also passed. The rule is said to be a victim of lobbying on the part of the biofuel industry and environmental groups. Marianne 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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Do Biofuels Always Bring Rainforest Destruction?

The debate over “carbon debt” created by changes in land use has recently expanded to include the issue of competition between food and fuel and its effect on developing countries. David Tilman of the University of Minnesota, one of the lead authors of the “Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt” article in Science, recently held an interview with Newsweek magazine in which he says, In order to grow biofuels, farmers have gone to fertile Read More >

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