Navigation Links
Biofuels could hasten climate change
Date:4/14/2009

April 14, 2009 A new study finds that it will take more than 75 years for the carbon emissions saved through the use of biofuels to compensate for the carbon lost when biofuel plantations are established on forestlands. If the original habitat was peatland, carbon balance would take more than 600 years. The study appears in Conservation Biology.

The oil palm, increasingly used as a source for biofuel, has replaced soybean as the world's most traded oilseed crop. Global production of palm oil has increased exponentially over the past 40 years. In 2006, 85 percent of the global palm-oil crop was produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, countries whose combined annual tropical forest loss is around 20,000 square kilometers.

Conversion of forest to oil palm also results in significant impoverishment of both plant and animal communities. Other tropical crops suitable for biofuel use, like soybean, sugar cane and jatropha, are all likely to have similar impacts on climate and biodiversity.

"Biofuels are a bad deal for forests, wildlife and the climate if they replace tropical rain forests," says research scientist Finn Danielsen, lead author of the study. "In fact, they hasten climate change by removing one of the world's most efficient carbon storage tools, intact tropical rain forests."

As countries strive to meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions under one international agreement (Kyoto Protocol), they may not only fail to meet their obligations under another (Convention on Biological Diversity) but may actually hasten global climate change.

According to the study, reducing deforestation is likely to represent a more effective climate-change mitigation strategy than converting forest for biofuel production, and it may help nations meet their international commitments to reduce biodiversity loss.

Alternatively, planting biofuels on degraded grasslands instead of tropical rain forests would lead to a net removal of carbon from the atmosphere in 10 years. Any biofuel plantations in tropical forest regions should be considered only in former forest land which has already been severely degraded to support only grassy vegetation.

"The EU and the US should only import and subsidize bio-fuel from guaranteed sustainable productions and only from countries which can demonstrate that their forests are sustainably managed," says Danielsen.

Tropical forests contain more than half of the Earth's terrestrial species. They also store around 46 percent of the world's living terrestrial carbon, and 25 percent of total net global carbon emissions may stem from deforestation. There is therefore an inherent contradiction in any strategy to clear tropical forest to grow crops for so-called carbon-neutral fuels.

There are signs that part of the oil-palm industry is trying to minimize the impact its plantations have on biodiversity, but there is currently little effort to mitigate potential climate impacts.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sean Wagner
journalnews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net
781-388-8550
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ceres and Texas A&M to develop and market high-biomass sorghum for biofuels
2. If corn is biofuels king, tropical maize may be emperor
3. The race for biofuels driving alternative sources of biomass
4. Smithsonian scientists highlight environmental impacts of biofuels
5. Biofuels Sustainability
6. GM, Coskata partnership builds on Oklahoma State University biofuels research
7. Iowa Staters talk biofuels, healthy oils and pharma crops at AAAS meeting
8. MIT professor to discuss future of biofuels
9. Global Biopact on biofuels can bring benefits to both rich and poor nations
10. University of Colorado at Boulder awarded $1 million for biofuels research
11. Study finds concerns with biofuels
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2017)... May 16, 2017  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ... age and identity verification solutions, announced today they will ... 2017, May 15 thru May 17, 2017, in ... International Trade Center. Identity impacts the ... in today,s quickly evolving digital world, defining identity is ...
(Date:4/18/2017)...  Socionext Inc., a global expert in SoC-based imaging and computing ... M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec technology. A demonstration utilizing ... Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming Medtec Japan at Tokyo ... Las Vegas Convention Center April 24-27. ... Click here for an image ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... DUBLIN , Apr. 11, 2017 Research ... Tracking Market 2017-2021" report to their offering. ... The global eye tracking market to grow at ... The report, Global Eye Tracking Market 2017-2021, has been prepared based ... report covers the market landscape and its growth prospects over the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:7/27/2017)... ... July 27, 2017 , ... Margot Connor, CEO ... on Baltimore Business Journal’s 2017 Tech 10 List of “outstanding professionals in the ... for contributions to the technology industry within their local community. Honorees are “CEOs ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... July 26, 2017 , ... ... (AI) and leading supplier of Semantic Graph Database technology for Knowledge Graphs, today ... and discovering connections within data. Gruff provides novice users and graph experts the ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... , ... July 25, 2017 , ... ... proud to announce that its regenerative stem cell therapy has been used on ... a successful treatment for horses with potentially fatal injuries to tendons and ligaments. ...
(Date:7/26/2017)... Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) , ... July 26, 2017 ... ... All of Us Research Program at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will ... Medicine Conference. This annual conference provides a platform for a multi-stakeholder discussion on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: