Document Detail

Use of U.S. croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18258860     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.
Timothy Searchinger; Ralph Heimlich; R A Houghton; Fengxia Dong; Amani Elobeid; Jacinto Fabiosa; Simla Tokgoz; Dermot Hayes; Tun-Hsiang Yu
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.     Date:  2008-02-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science (New York, N.Y.)     Volume:  319     ISSN:  1095-9203     ISO Abbreviation:  Science     Publication Date:  2008 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-02-29     Completed Date:  2008-03-13     Revised Date:  2008-11-03    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0404511     Medline TA:  Science     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1238-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Carbon Dioxide* / analysis,  metabolism
Crops, Agricultural* / economics,  growth & development
Energy-Generating Resources*
Ethanol* / metabolism
Greenhouse Effect
Time Factors
United States
Zea mays* / growth & development,  metabolism
Reg. No./Substance:
124-38-9/Carbon Dioxide; 64-17-5/Ethanol
Comment In:
Science. 2008 Jun 13;320(5882):1419   [PMID:  18556531 ]
Science. 2008 Jun 13;320(5882):1419-20   [PMID:  18556532 ]
Science. 2008 Jun 13;320(5882):1420-1   [PMID:  18556533 ]
Science. 2008 Oct 17;322(5900):371-4; author reply 371-4   [PMID:  18927374 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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