Friday, June 5, 2009

Indirect Land Use: Science or Junk?

junk science indirect land use
If you go to the store and buy groceries, are you causing massive deforrestation somewhere in the world, increased greenhouse gases and contributing to global warming?

Many critics of biofuels have developed "scientific" models that support that argument.  And they've extended that model to any land that is used for food AND fuel such as ethanol.  Use some biofuels and you've wiped out a forrest, or so their theory goes.

But the scientific community is hardly convinced that this model is valid. Recently, a group of leading scientists submitted comments(pdf) regarding the indirect land use model developed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  The scientists called out two major issues:
  • The Science Is Far Too Limited and Uncertain For Regulatory Enforcement
  • Indirect Effects Are Often Misunderstood And Should Not Be Enforced Selectively
And renown author Robert Zubin also takes on the irrational Indirect Land Use analysis in a recent Roll Call article:  The Irreationality of Indirect Analsysis":
"the proper, scientific, ethical and sane way to proceed in assessing carbon emissions, whether of ethanol use or any other human activity, is to base such judgments strictly on the direct effects of the activity itself. These can be measured and therefore reduced in detail as technological alternatives permit. If we operate otherwise, then no constructive solutions will be possible."
Let's hope that in the rush to kill the renewable fuels, calmer heads will prevail.  

Because creating models against ethanol that includes biased assumptions only hampers our efforts to break free from the well-known dangers of foreign oil.

Source: Roll Call

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