Ethanol Production May Increase Greenhouse Gases
A new report in Science magazine [reported by Yahoo! News] claims that "using good cropland to expand biofuels will probably exacerbate global warming." The researchers worry that farmers looking to cash in on ethanol will continue to plow up more forests and/or grasslands. Biofuels boosters have cited studies stating corn-based ethanol produces 20 percent less greenhouse gases than gas, while celluosic ethanol results in a 70 percent reduction. The Science study says the analysis was "one-sided;" it didn't include the carbon costs of land use change. Factor in that variable, and corn-based ethanol production would increase greenhouse gases by 93 percent (compared to gasoline over a 30-year period). The Renewable Fuels Association dismissed the researchers' conclusions as simplistic. "Assigning the blame for rainforest deforestation and grassland conversion to agriculture solely on the renewable fuels industry ignores key factors that play a greater role." The ethanol industry cheerleaders didn't speciify those "key factors."
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