Biofuels from Cleared Natural Ecosystems Worsen Warming

Plant based biofuels are no climate change solution [ark | moreark] because as farmers clear natural ecosystems huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released. A study in the journal Science takes a comprehensive look [ark] at emissions from land clearance to grow biofuels. The study finds that the production of most biofuels globally results in land clearing [ark], directly or indirectly, intentionally or not; and the cost/benefit in terms of carbon emissions saved is not subtle.

Clearing grassland for corn ethanol [search] releases 93 times the greenhouse gas (its carbon debt) that would be saved by the fuel made annually on that land. Clearing rainforest habitats for biofuel production [search] generally has a carbon debt of 86 years, but peatland of the sort cleared for oil palm in SE Asia [search] has a whopping carbon debt of 423 years, and soybeans in the Amazon [search] 319 years. Some biofuels such as sugar cane in Brazil [search] are efficient and only have a carbon debt of 17 years. Only biofuels that do not destroy natural habitats should be allowed.

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1 Response

  1. Steven Carew says:

    The world is in a turmoil over climate change and global warming, I see your concern (as in this article) as being a very short term thing. While trying to do my part for myself, the rest of the population, and the world in general, I have invented a way of creating electrial energy for virtually nothing that is 100% pollution free. Although I must admitt that I am having trouble bringing this thing to market, it will impact global warming and climate change as fast or as slowly as we desire. An off shoot of this invention is a propulsion system. Until then I also abhore the things that are happening on our planet, but I know that these things will hopefully be short lived.

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