I have written before that I don’t think that biofuels are the way of the future, and it seems that the Nature Conservancy and the journal Science think the same. A new study says that biofuels will actually make global warming worse, rather than helping us escape from it.
From the NY Times:
Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded. The benefits of biofuels have come under increasing attack in recent months, as scientists took a closer look at the global environmental cost of their production. These latest studies, published in the prestigious journal Science, are likely to add to the controversy. These studies for the first time take a detailed, comprehensive look at the emissions effects of the huge amount of natural land that is being converted to cropland globally to support biofuels development. The destruction of natural ecosystems , whether rain forest in the tropics or grasslands in South America , not only releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere when they are burned and plowed, but also deprives the planet of natural sponges to absorb carbon emissions. Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than the rain forests or even scrubland that it replaces.
I will say it again – we need to get away from the idea of using anything that needs to be burned to produce power. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but whenever you burn something it cannot be good for the environment, and we need to stop thinking this way of the future of energy.