Biofuels May Be Worse For The Environment Than Fossil Fuels

Illustration for article titled Biofuels May Be Worse For The Environment Than Fossil Fuels

The European Union's Parliament has taken a step back on biofuels, revising its renewable energy goals to limit biofuel production to 6%, with a goal of 2.5%. This is a big reversal from previous goals, which had a much greater focus on biofuels.

The reason for the change is that more research has revealed that biofuel production is actually turning out to have a worse carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuels, as the farming releases more carbon into the atmosphere and the increased need for cropland is destroying forests, which scrub the air much better than agricultural crops.

Nusa Urbancic, of the Transport and Environment NGO, refers to the EU's commitment to biofuels until 2020 like this:

“What is certain though is that Europeans will have to keep paying for another seven years for biofuels that pollute more than the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace.”


So that's not so great. The US, though having less specific goals of biofuel usage, should probably pay attention to what's going on in Europe. Biofuel production is also increasing the cost of food, which isn't unexpected, and the biofuel growing boom is also causing sub-par farmland to be pushed into service at rates not seen since the Dust Bowl.

The idea of being able to grow fuel sure sounded great, so it's a shame the reality hasn't yet lived up to the dream.

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Arch Duke Maxyenko, Shit Talk Extraordinaire

That's because they're using the edible parts to make the biofuel. Until they can use the scraps, stalks, and stems it will never work out right.