Study reaffirms lack of link between biofuels, land use changes

By Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance | May 24, 2011

A new study by the Michigan State University branch of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which is led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, shows that biofuel production in the United States in recent years has likely not resulted in any indirect land use changes.

Critics of biofuels have long claimed that increased demand for biofuel feedstocks like corn and soybeans has led to land use changes around that world, which ultimately result in greater greenhouse gas emissions. 

But the Michigan State study found that based on the most recent data available, from 2002 to 2007, biofuel production “is not significantly correlated with changes in croplands for corn (coarse grain) plus soybean in regions of the world which are… trading partners of the United States.”

“This study is yet another nail in the coffin for the tired argument that biofuel production is causing harmful indirect land use changes around the world,” said Joshua Morby, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance (WBIA).  “The fact is that biofuels are significantly more environmentally friendly than traditional fossil fuels, and have a large role to play in reducing fuel costs, growing our economy, and increasing our energy independence.”

Another study late last year, conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on behalf of the US Department of Energy, found that the impact of ethanol expansion over the past decade has had a “minimal to zero” impact on land use changes. 

A copy of the Michigan State study is available here.  


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