The biofuel industry in the U.S. is a multi-billion dollar industry that has been promoted and expanded over the course the last decade under the assumption that it is better for the environment. But according to a new study by the University of Michigan published today, that notion may actually be based on false assumptions.
Biofuels are created from corn or soy beans and have been thought to emit less carbon dioxide than traditional gasoline. But that’s not the case according to the study from U-M Energy Institute research professor John DeCicco.
“This pulls the rug out from under over a decade’s worth of public policy in this area,” DeCicco said. “Carbon neutrality has really just been an assumption. To verify the extent to which that assumption is true, you really need to analyze what’s going on on the farmland, where the biofuels are being grown. People haven’t done that in the past — they felt like they didn’t need to. I swallowed hard when I first, on a mathematical basis, uncovered the problem, which was about four years ago. A lot of interests have kind of congealed around this assumption.”
Most gasoline sold in the U.S. contains some ethanol so this study is very controversial.
Following the hottest month on record globally, and with temperatures nearly 2°F warmer and tides more half a foot higher than they were in the 1800s, the implications of biofuels causing more harm to the climate than good would be sweeping.