Biofuels could hurt Earth more than help it, two new studies conclude. Over 30 years, argues one, corn-based ethanol would spout twice the greenhouse gas of regular gasoline; the other notes environmental damage likely to be wreaked by chopping rainforests and other areas for production, the Washington Post reports. The findings question international focus on using biofuel to combat climate change.
“We can't get to a result, no matter how heroically we make assumptions on behalf of corn ethanol, where it will actually generate greenhouse-gas benefits,” one author said. But, argue biofuel workers and some congressmen, while today’s ethanol might not be a solution, the fuel’s efficiency will improve as technology does. “We can make better biofuels,” says one researcher.