Wednesday, July 22, 2009

You want "Scientific Truth" on Biofuels?....

Many of the environmental and agricultural special interests and advocates who supported corn ethanol and the development of other annual-crop-ethanol forgot to carefully examine the externalities of their idealism and/or greed. They seem to be always invoking the veil of "scientific truth." Well here is some scientific truth for all to carefully examine. Maybe this scientific truth will set them free and teach all an important intellectual lesson. Scientific "truth" is dynamic, not static, or based upon political and/or economic expediency!

Science 17 July 2009:ol. 325. no. 5938, pp. 270 - 271DOI: 10.1126/science.1177970
Policy Forum for the full article

Energy: Abstract

Beneficial Biofuels—The Food, Energy, and Environment Trilemma
David Tilman,1,* Robert Socolow,2 Jonathan A. Foley,3 Jason Hill,3 Eric Larson,4 Lee Lynd,5 Stephen Pacala,6 John Reilly,7 Tim Searchinger,8 Chris Somerville,9 Robert Williams4
1 Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.2 Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.3 Institute on the Environment, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.4 Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.5 Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.6 Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.7 Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, MIT, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.8 Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.9 Energy Biosciences Institute, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed:

Recent analyses of the energy and greenhouse-gas performance of alternative biofuels have ignited a controversy that may be best resolved by applying two simple principles. In a world seeking solutions to its energy, environmental, and food challenges, society cannot afford to miss out on the global greenhouse-gas emission reductions and the local environmental and societal benefits when biofuels are done right. However, society also cannot accept the undesirable impacts of biofuels done wrong.

Biofuels done right can be produced in substantial quantities (1). However, they must be derived from feedstocks produced with much lower life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions than traditional fossil fuels and with little or no competition with food production (see figure, below). Feedstocks in this category include, but may not be limited to, the following:

The best biofuels. The search for beneficial biofuels should focus on sustainable biomass feedstocks that neither compete with food crops nor directly or indirectly cause land-clearing and that offer advantages in reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Perennials grown on degraded formerly agricultural land, municipal and industrial sold waste, crop and forestry residues, and double or mixed crops offer great potential. The best biofuels make good substitutes for fossil energy. A recent analysis suggests that more than 500 million tons of such feedstocks could be produced annually in the United States (1).

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