Biofuels could hasten climate changeApril 15th, 2009 - 4:22 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, April 15 (ANI): A new study has found that biofuels can hasten climate change, and it will take more than 75 years for the carbon emissions saved through the use of biofuels to compensate for the carbon lost when biofuel plantations are established on forestlands.
If the original habitat was peatland, carbon balance would take more than 600 years.
The oil palm, increasingly used as a source for biofuel, has replaced soybean as the world’s most traded oilseed crop. Global production of palm oil has increased exponentially over the past 40 years.
In 2006, 85 percent of the global palm-oil crop was produced in Indonesia and Malaysia, countries whose combined annual tropical forest loss is around 20,000 square kilometers.
Conversion of forest to oil palm also results in significant impoverishment of both plant and animal communities.
Other tropical crops suitable for biofuel use, like soybean, sugar cane and jatropha, are all likely to have similar impacts on climate and biodiversity.
“Biofuels are a bad deal for forests, wildlife and the climate if they replace tropical rain forests,” said research scientist Finn Danielsen, lead author of the study.
“In fact, they hasten climate change by removing one of the world’s most efficient carbon storage tools, intact tropical rain forests,” he added.
As countries strive to meet obligations to reduce carbon emissions under one international agreement (Kyoto Protocol), they may not only fail to meet their obligations under another (Convention on Biological Diversity) but may actually hasten global climate change.
According to the study, reducing deforestation is likely to represent a more effective climate-change mitigation strategy than converting forest for biofuel production, and it may help nations meet their international commitments to reduce biodiversity loss.
Alternatively, planting biofuels on degraded grasslands instead of tropical rain forests would lead to a net removal of carbon from the atmosphere in 10 years.
Any biofuel plantations in tropical forest regions should be considered only in former forest land which has already been severely degraded to support only grassy vegetation.
“The EU and the US should only import and subsidize bio-fuel from guaranteed sustainable productions and only from countries which can demonstrate that their forests are sustainably managed,” said Danielsen. (ANI)
- Oil palm on peatlands trigger greenhouse gas: Study - Apr 27, 2012
- Tropical rain forests can fight climate change better than biofuel plantations - Dec 02, 2008
- Indian palm oil firms make Indonesian eco-disaster: Greenpeace - Jun 19, 2012
- Biofuels will worsen CO2 emissions: Study - Oct 24, 2011
- Adapting to warming could worsen climate change - Aug 07, 2010
- 'Green fuels' cause more harm to the environment than fossil fuels - Mar 01, 2010
- Seasonal wildfires can double CO2 emissions above Asia - May 01, 2009
- New climate treaty could save some species, but increase risk to others - Nov 17, 2009
- Massive deforestation leading to climate change, species loss - Dec 08, 2008
- The Climate Change Terminology (To go with Curtain Raiser) - Nov 27, 2011
- Unilever cuts ties with key palm oil supplier to India - Dec 11, 2009
- Logged rainforests can support as much biodiversity as virgin forest within 15 years - Oct 21, 2009
- Reforestation may lower climate change mitigation potential of forests - May 29, 2010
- Asia-Pacific must respond to climate change to survive: UNDP - May 10, 2012
- Biofuels may harm environment: Experts - Dec 07, 2008
Tags: carbon balance, carbon emissions, carbon storage, climate change mitigation, convention on biological diversity, global climate change, international commitments, kilometers conversion, kyoto protocol, mitigation strategy, oil crop, oil palm, oilseed crop, palm oil, research scientist, square kilometers, storage tools, tropical crops, tropical forest loss, tropical rain forests