Friday, January 11, 2008

Study says some biofuels are worse for the environment than fossil fuels

Biofuels are touted as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, but not all live up to the claim, according to a new study. Commissioned by the Swiss government, researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) analyzed 26 biofuels in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions and other factors and found some biofuels have their own environmental problems, reports Science Daily.

The study said fuels made from U.S. corn, Brazilian soy and Malaysian palm may do more damage to the environment than fossil fuels. The most environmentally-friendly fuels include ethanol from plants or wood and fuel made from recycled cooking oil.

William Laurance, staff scientist at STRI, claimed in a letter published by Science magazine last month, that the ethanol boom and U.S. farm subsidies have to greater deforestation of rain forests in the Amazon. Since more American farmers have switched from soy to corn, Laurance argued, Brazilian farmers have added acreage to cash in on rising soy prices. (Read more)

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