Corn and Rapeseed Biofuels Release More Greenhouse Gases Than Petroleum
Shockingly, a new scientific study finds that two prominent biofuels release more total greenhouse gases (GHG) [more] than burning comparable amounts of oil and petroleum. This is because their release of nitrous oxide — a particularly potent GHG — has been vastly underestimated. Corn based biofuel [search], prevelant in the United States, was found to release up to 50% more GHGs than oil; and rapeseed based biofuel [search] which is the norm in Europe was found to release as much as 70% more GHGs. This finding highlights the fact that carbon is not the only GHG to be considered in fuel emissions.
Agrofuels produced by burning food crops have been tauted as a climate change solution with great economic benefits. In fact they have intensified deadly climate change and terrestrial ecosystem decline. Major concerns have emerged regarding food based biofuels and resultant increases in food prices [search], human rights issues [search], and loss of rainforests [search] and other natural habitats. And now we find it was all a lie that these biofuels protect the climate.
This current finding further illustrates the extent to which failure to reduce energy consumption through conservation and efficiency has lead to half-assed measures to try to maintain our wasteful levels of energy consumption that are doing more damage than good. We need real efforts to dramatically reduce the use of energy and resultant GHG emissions now if advanced human and natural systems are to survive.