Critics argue against biofuels

BIOFUELS produced from biomass feedstocks are, by definition, carbon neutral. Yet, in a newly published article in Science, frequent biofuel critics argue that this widely held scientific convention is erroneous. They argue that biofuels and other bio-based energies should be accountable for the biogenic tailpipe and smokestack CO2 emissions that are absorbed by growing feedstocks and carbon emissions that could result from land clearing. They say existing and proposed regulations create an accounting loophole that will lead to increased deforestation. But, according to the Renewable Fuels Association, the release of CO2 from recently living organisms has no overall effect on atmospheric CO2 levels and is therefore carbon neutral. In effect, biofuels recycle organic carbon. Conversely, accepted carbon accounting for fossil fuels such as petroleum does include tailpipe emissions from combustion. This is because the carbon in fossil fuels has been sequestered underground for millions of years rather than recently sequestered by growing organisms and cannot be naturally offset by feedstock uptake. The Renewable Fuels Association says that...
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