Biofuels are not as green, claim scientists from UMich

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

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