Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mandate For Biofuels Production Requires Science-based Policy And Global Perspective

Date:
October 2, 2008
Source:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
In his State of the Union Address on Jan. 23, 2007, President Bush stated that, in order to substantially lower foreign oil imports, "We must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017."

In his State of the Union Address on January 23, 2007, President Bush stated that, in order to substantially lower foreign oil imports, "We must increase the supply of alternative fuels, by setting a mandatory fuels standard to require 35 billion gallons of renewable and alternative fuels in 2017."

This mandate coupled with a $1.01 ethanol refiner subsidy promised in the 2008 Farm Bill and a $45 subsidy per ton of biomass production for growers are putting energy needs ahead of environmental sustainability, according to a new article in the journal Science.

"Whether or not the benefits of biofuels are realized will depend on which, where and how these crops are grown," said Michelle Wander, University of Illinois soil scientist and one of the 23 authors of the Science article.

"Even though there are many questions about biofuel sustainability that remain unanswered, we do know enough to move in the right direction right now by aggressively developing and implementing best management approaches in both the grain and cellulose-based systems," Wander said.

"Increasing the production of cellulosic materials to produce alternative fuels could have many social and environmental benefits, but it could also create problems for the environment and society that we haven't anticipated. In some instances we haven't had time to do the research while, in others, we have overlooked the obvious."

Wander said that the article in Science cautions that although cellulosic feedstocks show promise by lessening the need for nitrogen fertilizer and other chemical inputs, the effects on biodiversity, water and soil could be negative if marginal land is claimed in order to prevent competition with food crops.

"We are going to have to tailor systems and crop choice to site conditions. For example, selection of miscanthus over switchgrass as a cellulosic bioenergy crop would produce more biomass and require less nitrogen but would require more water and would not feed wildlife."

The article goes on to state that globally, to produce an important amount of energy with biofuels requires a large amount of land. This will change the landscape of the Earth, not just in the United States. "One of the least understood aspects of the biofuels roll out is how it will play out on the international stage. U.S. decisions can influence the magnitude and direction of land-use change elsewhere, and vice versa," Wander said.

It calls for research that assesses the energy yield and carbon implications as well as the full impact of biofuel production including implementation of land-management approaches and a better understanding of how policy and management practices will impact food access, food security, farmland, forests, watersheds and the globe.

The article concludes that "sustainable biofuel production systems could play a highly positive role in mitigating climate change, enhancing environmental quality, and strengthening the global economy, but it will take sound, science-based policy and additional research effort to make this so."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sustainable Biofuels Redux. Science, October 3, 2008

Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Mandate For Biofuels Production Requires Science-based Policy And Global Perspective." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172607.htm>.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (2008, October 2). Mandate For Biofuels Production Requires Science-based Policy And Global Perspective. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172607.htm
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. "Mandate For Biofuels Production Requires Science-based Policy And Global Perspective." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081002172607.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

The New York Times Backs Pot Legalization

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The New York Times has officially endorsed the legalization of marijuana, but why now, and to what end? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins