Biofuels' Green Cred in Dispute

Some say producing more of the greener fuel makes world less green overall
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2008 12:16 PM CST
A soybean producer drives a tractor as he prepares to plant in Pulinopolis, Brazil, in this 2006 file photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Biofuels, once hailed as a planet-saving alternative to gasoline, are now savaged as much the opposite, the Wall Street Journal reports, with critics charging the “ripple effect” on land use globally actually adds climate-harming carbon. The EPA has signaled plans to modify biofuel emissions measurements to reflect that, but interested lobbyists are already lining up to refute those findings.

Increased demand for crops has caused farmers to level more forests in places like Brazil, detractors say. Consider these ripples, as the EPA was instructed to do in 2007, and ethanol increases emissions by 93%, according to one study. But some doubt anyone can precisely measure such indirect forces. “All this stuff is accounting,” said one professor.