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Published on March 1st, 2009 | by Matthew Phelan


Corn-Based BioFuels Still Counterproductive

March 1st, 2009 by  

Here comes more dour empirical data.

Ongoing deforestation in countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia has been further linked to the rising demand for biofuels, according to speakers at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS):

“If reduced U.S. soybean production results in a parallel increase in Brazilian soybean production, a potential net release of 1,800 to 9,100 Tg (trillion grams) of CO2-equivalents of greenhouse gas emissions due to land-use change is possible,” [Michael Coe of Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts] wrote in a summary of his talk. That is equivalent to more than 9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Let’s just hope someone has that cellulosic biofuel breakthrough we’re all hoping for.

Image: Wikimedia Commons 

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About the Author

Matthew Phelan is a former research chemist who worked on developing next-generation lithium-ion batteries before breaking into journalism. He is a contributing editor to Current Science magazine (which runs his recurring educational cartoon "Lab Rats") and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Chemical Engineering magazine, Anthem, Flak and MTV Iggy.

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