Area Development
A study in the journal Science has concluded that widespread use of ethanol may actually result in more greenhouse gas emissions than the gasoline it would replace. Researchers found that prior studies failed to take into account the changes that would occur in worldwide land use if ethanol from corn and feedstocks such as switchgrass become valued commodities. Farmers would, according to the study's authors, need to replace the cropland they would divert to biofuel production, and in doing so would dig up more forest or grasslands, releasing much of the carbon formerly stored in plants and soils. The Renewable Fuels Association disputed the study's findings as "simplistic," pointing to the dangers of continuing dependence on petroleum and encouraging continued research into alternative energy.