Biofuels not all they’re cracked up to be, study finds

Categories: Big picture
Published on: January 29, 2015

Common Dreams / Deirdre Fulton / 29 January 2015

ethanol“The quest for bioenergy at a meaningful scale is both unrealistic and unsustainable,” says a new report from the World Resources Institute that calls into question Western governments’ support for energy policies that encourage large-scale conversion of plants into fuel.

The study, “Avoiding Bioenergy Competition for Food Crops and Land” (pdf), published Thursday, is a wide-ranging look at the costs and benefits associated with producing plant-based energy, or biofuels. It finds that dedicating crops, such as corn or sugarcane, or land to generating bioenergy—as the U.S. and some European countries are already doing and aiming to do even more—is an inefficient use of the world’s natural resources.

Further, the report states: “[B]ioenergy that entails the dedicated use of land to grow the energy feedstock will undercut efforts to combat climate change and to achieve a sustainable food future.”

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