Contrary to the popularly held belief, biofuels increase carbon emissions. This new paper by scientists from the University of Michigan was published in the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change.
Their study was based on crop production data from the United States, amidst the recent explosion in biofuel farming. The results indicated a net increase in carbon emissions from the combustion of biofuels.
Analysing real-world data instead of using a simulation, the scientists conducted their research without the assumption that biofuels are carbon neutral.
Questions to explore:
- Would a mathematical model agree with their results? Why/Why not?
- Do we still need alternative methods to tackle global warming?
- Are biofuels worth their cost?
DeCicco, J., Liu, D., Heo, J., Krishnan, R., Kurthen, A., & Wang, L. (2016). Carbon balance effects of U.S. biofuel production and use Climatic Change DOI: 10.1007/s10584-016-1764-4