Last update : 28.10.2010
The billion gallon challenge: Getting biofuels back on track
Union of Concerned Scientists
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Biofuels hold out the promise of reducing two major problems: oil dependence and global warming emissions from transportation. Yet despite numerous government programs and subsidies, biofuels are not yet measuring up to their potential. Corn ethanol production has more than tripled in the last five years, driven by mandates for biofuel consumption, tax credits, and other programs. While this support has launched a major industry, it has also had unintended consequences. Most important is that the increased demand for corn is straining the agricultural system and environment. Food prices have gone up, water supplies have been put at risk, and habitat and biodiversity have been sacrificed, all without making any progress toward reducing the emissions responsible for global warming. Instead, growth depends on the successful and timely commercialization of the next generation of biofuels: cellulosic biofuels made from grass, wood waste, or even garbage. Unfortunately, this nascent alternative is stalled, a victim of inadequate policies and the global economic downturn, which have dried up investments. This report lays out a plan for accelerating cellulosic biofuels to commercial scale and for cleaning up all biofuels.
Added on 6 September 2010
United States & Canada
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