Southern US: Dogwood Alliance report says biofuels will double carbon emissions

Dogwood Alliance, released a position paper on the potential environmental and economic impacts of the cellulosic ethanol industry in the Southern United States, exposing the false environmental and economic benefits of tree-based biofuels. Over the last couple of years, policy makers and investors have been quick to jump on the biofuel bandwagon in hopes of cashing in on the climate and energy crisis, though little to no research supports the positive benefits of this fuel. In fact evidence seems to be mounting to the contrary.

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“Between the climate crisis and a growing dependence on foreign oil we are facing a grim future unless big ideas and bold policies are enacted. Unfortunately, tree-based biofuels are a short-sighted and false solution,” said Scot Quaranda, campaign director for Dogwood Alliance. “At best this is an economic boondoggle, and at worst, we are setting ourselves up for a disaster for our forests which will exacerbate global climate change rather than combat it.”


Key Findings from the position paper, include:

–Regions already known for their forest products are likely to dominate the market, increasing already unsustainable levels of clearcutting, conversion of natural forests to plantations, and use of toxic chemicals in forest management.

–Due to the vast amount of carbon released from Southern forest clearcuts, biofuel production could actually double the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

–While it is clear we need to reduce fossil fuel consumption, research shows that we could reduce global warming pollution two to nine times more by conserving or restoring forests and grasslands than by razing them and turning them into biofuels plantations — even if we continue to use fossil fuels as our main source of energy.

–Total government support for all biofuels in the United States reached approximately $ 6.3″$ 7.7 billion in 2006. Total support is projected to reach around $ 13 billion in 2008 and almost $ 16 billion by 2014. Money that could instead fund critical research into conservation and efficiency and proven solutions.

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Forest4Fuel08.pdf (8879 KB)

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