Swiss Report: Biofuels Not Eco-Friendly
May 22, 2007 (UPI)
The Swiss Federal Environment Office, the Federal Energy Office and the Federal Agriculture Office.
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A study (Rainer Zah, co-author) commissioned by the Swiss governmental agencies reports that though biofuels reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), they produce other potentially harmful forms of air pollution when burned as fuel.
The report was released May 22.
The study was done by scientists in Switzerland.
- The study of production cycles for bioethanol, biomethanol, biodiesel and biomethane found that biofuel production, though saving approximately 1/3 less GHGs than petroleum-derived fuels, generally caused so much more stress on the environment that they could not be termed “eco-friendly.”
- The study also cites greater environmental damage to air and soil from increased fertilizer use resulting from higher demand for biofuel-producing crops, as well as slash-and-burn land-clearing for planting, which also generates GHGs..
- The study did cite ways to make biofuel production less environmentally damaging, an option not available with fossil fuels.
Zah: "The energetic efficiency and the resulting reduced emissions of greenhouse gases cannot be the sole criteria for assessing the environmental friendliness of biofuels…The prefix 'bio' doesn't necessarily mean environment friendly."