Biofuel Production Increases Greenhouse Gases In Atmosphere

For several years, Nobel Laureate Al Gore and his media sycophants have been telling the nation that a movement away from fossil fuels to biofuels is necessary to save the planet from the Left's bogeyman known as global warming.

A new study by the Marine Biological Laboratory raises series questions about this premise.

According to MBL's Thursday press release, "Carbon emissions caused by the displacement of food crops and pastures may be twice as much as those from lands devoted to biofuels production."

Beyond this, "increased fertilizer use for biofuels production will cause nitrous oxide emissions (N2O) to become more important than carbon losses, in terms of warming potential, by the end of the century" (h/t Glenn Reynolds):

"Our analysis, which we think is the most comprehensive to date, shows that direct and indirect land-use changes associated with an aggressive global biofuels program have the potential to release large quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere," says [MBL senior scientist Jerry] Melillo. [...]

"Large greenhouse gas emissions from these indirect land-use changes are unintended consequences of a global biofuels program; consequences that add to the climate-change problem rather than helping to solve it," says Melillo "As our analysis shows, these unintended consequences are largest when the clearing of forests is involved."

In their model, Melillo and his colleagues also simulated N2O emissions from the additional fertilizer that will be required to grow biofuel crops in the future. They found that over the century, N2O emissions will surpass CO2 in terms of warming potential. By 2100, Melillo and his team estimate that in both study scenarios, biofuels production will account for more than half of the total N2O emissions from fertilizer. "Best practices for the use of nitrogen fertilizer, such as synchronizing fertilizer application with plant demand, can reduce N2O emissions associated with biofuels production," the scientists say.

Nice. So rather than acting as the well-touted global warming panacea, biofuel production is anything but.

Given pending cap and trade legislation currently before Congress, one would think this study would be of great importance.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.