It's Final -- Corn Ethanol Is Of No Use

OK, can we please stop pretending biofuel made from corn is helping the planet and the environment? The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released two of its Working Group reports at the end of last month (WGI and WGIII), and their short discussion of biofuels has ignited a fierce debate as to whether they’re of any environmental benefit at all.

In 2013 the U.S. used 4.7 billion bushels of corn (40% of the harvest) to produce over 13 billion gallons of ethanol fuel. The grain required to fill a single 25-gal gas tank with ethanol can feed one person for a year, so the amount of corn used to make that 13 billion gallons of ethanol did not feed the almost 500 million people it was feeding fifteen years ago. This is the population of the entire Western Hemisphere outside of the United States. Some estimate that 30 million people are actually starving as a direct result of biofuel production (The Telegraph). Source: YES! Magazine

The IPCC was quite diplomatic in its discussion, saying “Biofuels have direct, fuel‐cycle GHG emissions that are typically 30–90% lower than those for gasoline or diesel fuels. However, since for some biofuels indirect emissions—including from land use change—can lead to greater total emissions than when using petroleum products, policy support needs to be considered on a case by case basis” (IPCC 2014 Chapter 8).

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