Ethanol? You cannot be serious!
updated Feb 29, 2008
There is quite an extraordinary letter today in the Richmond News.
I have of course written a letter to the editor which they printed uncut. Anyway I came across this rebuttal in of all places a site called cars.com the last item of the Google News search. It is called The Dark Side of Ethanol?
By the way though they provide a link to a Science article, it just goes to the front page, and only subscribers get the whole article, so to save you time here is the abstract
Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. Using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.