Greenfail Number–What Are We Up To Now? Ethanol

From the Telegraph, a report on a new study that finds “Biofuels are ‘worse than petrol’ for the environment.”

“Green” biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel are in fact worse for the environment than petrol, a landmark new study has found.

This, of course, assumes that emitting CO2 is bad.

The alternative energy source has long been praised for being carbon-neutral because the plants it is made from absorb carbon dioxide, which causes global warming, from the atmosphere while they are growing.

But new research in the US has found that the crops used for biofuel absorb only 37 per cent of the C02 that is later released into the atmosphere when the plants are burnt, meaning the process actually increases the amount of greenhouse gas in the air.

The details:

Professor John DeCicco, from the University of Michigan, said his research was the first to carefully examine the carbon on farmland where biofuels are grown.

“When you look at what’s actually happening on the land, you find that not enough carbon is being removed from the atmosphere to balance what’s coming out of the tailpipe,” he said.

“When it comes to the emissions that cause global warming, it turns out that biofuels are worse than gasoline.”

Professor DeCicco said the study, which is published in the journal Climatic Change, reset the assumptions, that biofuels, as renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, are inherently carbon neutral simply because the C02 released when burned was originally absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

However, the scientists from Michigan ignored the prevailing models and analysed real data on crop production, biofuel production, fossil fuel production and vehicle emissions.

A radical approach, apparently. The scientists are asking governments to rethink their policies (e.g., ethanol mandates) as a result of their findings:

The scientists behind the study have called on governments to rethink their carbon policies in light of the findings.

Did anyone ever actually believe it was a good idea to burn 40% of America’s principal food crop? I doubt it. Don’t expect anything to be rethought, because ethanol has never been anything but a means of raising the price of corn.

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