2015-02-10. A Biofuel Debate: Will Cutting Trees Cut Carbon?

posted Feb 16, 2015, 11:00 PM by Alan Gould
By Eduardo Porter, The New York Times. For GSS Climate Change chapter 10. Excerpt: Does combating climate change require burning the world’s forests and crops for fuel? ...While biofuels account for only about 2.5 percent today, the European Union expects renewable energy — mostly biofuels — to account for 10 percent of its transportation fuel by 2020. In the United States, the biofuel goal is about 12 percent by early in the next decade. ...The reasons for such ambitions are clear: It is nearly impossible under current technology to run cars, trucks, ships and jet planes on energy generated from wind or sun. ...There is a big problem with this strategy, though. ...“Dedicating land to bioenergy always comes at a cost because that land cannot produce plants for other purposes,” said Timothy Searchinger, a researcher at Princeton and the World Resources Institute and a co-writer of a recent report that calls for a rollback of crops dedicated to biofuels. In a nutshell, says Mr. Searchinger, the energy from forests and fields is not, in fact, carbon-free....  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/11/business/economy/a-biofuel-debate-will-cutting-trees-cut-carbon.html.