Study Says Biofuel Crops Increase Carbon Emissions

By Barbara Kessler

The virtues of growing corn for fuel have been so widely lauded, everyone knows the formula: Convert vast corn fields to ethanol production, burn cleaner fuel, save the atmosphere and kick foreign oil. And yet this magic formula has lately been showing its flaws.

First, there was the nagging problem of all that fish habitat-destroying fertilizer being dumped on those super-size corn fields. Then came concerns that growing corn (or soybeans or sugar cane) for fuel was displacing farmland needed for food. Now, the ultimate question – Does it work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? – has been raised, and the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear.