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.