Tag Archives: Searchinger

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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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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Questioning the Relationship Between Biofuels and Food Costs

A new study released by Texas A&M’s Agricultural and Food Policy Center undermines one of the key assumptions used in the studies that attributed a huge “carbon debt” to biofuels. The assumption used by Searchinger et al. is that biofuel production increases the cost of all commodity grains, encouraging countries to convert additional land – such as rainforest, peat land, and savannah – to agricultural production. The Searchinger paper calculates that agricultural production will have Read More >

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British Government to Study Indirect Impacts of Biofuels

Last week, Britain’s Renewable Fuels Agency (RFA) launched a series of studies of the indirect land-use impacts of biofuels, following a lecture by Princeton’s Tim Searchinger, lead author of “Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land Use Change” published in Science in February. The RFA intends to publish a draft report in May, prior to negotiation of EU-wide biofuels targets to 2020 in Brussels later this year. Britain is set 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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