Saturday, February 16, 2008

Biofuels and global warming

A couple of papers got published online in Science last week that gave me pause, and that I think everyone should know about them. The basic message of both papers is that even though biofuels are theoretically carbon neutral (carbon taken in from the atmosphere when the plants are growing is then released when they're burned), converting land for the production of biofuels leads to such a huge release of stored CO2 that the overall effect is to increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The papers are here and here. An interview with one of the authors is the first bit of this podcast. A very nice set of interviews on NPR's Science Friday, including a discussion of alternative ways of producing biofuels, is here.

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About Me

I'm a biochemist at a small college.