FARGIONE, Joseph et al.: "Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop–based biofuels ... creates a "biofuel carbon debt"

Dr Joe Fargione is The Nature Conservancy Regional Science Director, Central U.S. Region and   “manages a Central U.S. Conservation Science team of six, including GIS, data management, and climate change specialists. He coordinates scientific input to regional issues of planning, threats, and measures. He also serves as the chief science advisor to the Central U.S. Regional Director, represents the field on Peter Kareiva’s Science Leadership Team, and represents Conservancy science on the U.S. Government Relations Cabinet. His current work focuses on biofuel impacts, wind energy siting, grassland carbon offset projects, and climate change impacts and adaptation” (see: http://www.nature.org/tncscience/scientists/misc/art22011.html ).

Dr Joseph Fargione and colleagues on land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt (2008): “Increasing energy use, climate change, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels make switching to low-carbon fuels a high priority. Biofuels are a potential low-carbon energy source, but whether biofuels offer carbon savings depends on how they are produced. Converting rainforests, peatlands, savannas, or grasslands to produce food crop–based biofuels in Brazil, Southeast Asia, and the United States creates a "biofuel carbon debt" by releasing 17 to 420 times more CO2 than the annual greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions that these biofuels would provide by displacing fossil fuels. In contrast, biofuels made from waste biomass or from biomass grown on degraded and abandoned agricultural lands planted with perennials incur little or no carbon debt and can offer immediate and sustained GHG advantages.”

[1]. Dr Joseph Fargione and colleagues (“Land Clearing and the Biofuel Carbon Debt”, Science 29 February 2008, Vol. 319. no. 5867, pp. 1235 – 1238: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1152747 ).

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