Monday, February 11, 2008

Biofuels are worse than regular gas?

Wired magazine has a profile of two research articles published in yesterday's issue of Science that highlights the reality of the amount of greenhouse gases created by the entire process of creating biofuels. Corn-based ethanol would DOUBLE the greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years, while switch-grass, which even President Bush has publicly endorsed, would cause a 50% increase in greenhouse gases compared to regular gasoline. That's what scientists like me call a Type III statistical error or "Fuck, the effect was exactly the opposite of our hypothesis."

What will be interesting is how the Presidential candidates handle the news. All three (McCain, Obama, and Clinton) have made biofuels a cornerstone of their Energy Independance (Republican) and Environmental (Democrat) plans. Isn't it funny how the parties use different terms to describe the same policies? We'll see if anything, including the media's coverage, public's perception or candidates' stances change based on actual science. If I had to guess, I'd put money on the climate changing in hell before any of the above actually occurred.

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