Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Win-Win-Win Solution for Biofuel, Climate, and Biodiversity

26.06.2014

Fossil fuel emissions release billions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere each year, which is changing the climate and threatening the sustainability of life on planet Earth. 

In Brazil, the demand for alternative energy sources has led to an increase in biofuel crops.  A new “News and Views” paper in Nature Climate Change, co-authored by Woods Hole Research Center scientists Marcia Macedo and Eric Davidson, reviews new research conducted by Brazilian colleagues demonstrating the high carbon costs of converting intact Brazilian savanna compared to the carbon gains obtained from converting underutilized pastureland for biofuel crops.


Sugarcane

Compared to corn, soy and palm oil, the rapid growth rate of sugar cane has put it at the forefront of biofuel crops.  Brazil’s national commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, along with rising gasoline prices, has led to the world’s largest fleet of flex-fuel vehicles, fueled by the over 36 million tonnes of sugar cane currently grown in the country.  This number is expected to climb with new technologies and greater global demand.  The challenge for Brazil lies in identifying optimal lands for expanding sugarcane while still meeting demands for food crops and conserving native forests and savannas.

The Cerrado, Brazil’s 2 million km2 savanna region, is the most biologically rich savanna on Earth.  Unlike the Amazon, which remains over 80% forested, over half of the Cerrado has been cleared for agriculture, including sugar cane biofuel crops.  As Drs. Macedo and Davidson note, the new research shows that it would take 17 years of sugar cane production to make up for the carbon losses caused by clearing the Cerrado.  In contrast, converting already cleared pastures to sugar cane production provides a nearly immediate carbon payback when ethanol is burned in lieu of gas and oil. 

With over 2.5 million square kilometers of existing cleared lands in Brazil, much of which is degraded pasture lands, there is already a large potential area for biofuel crop expansion.  For Dr. Macedo, “Because Brazil has a large supply of under-used, low productivity pastures that are suitable for sugar cane, there is no reason to clear additional native Cerrado for sugar cane production.”

Dr. Davidson adds “A study commissioned by the World Bank shows that there is likely room for an all-of-the-above future land-use strategy, which includes using degraded pastures for a combination of reforestation, expansion of biofuel and food crops, and intensification of cattle production.”  In agreement with their Brazilian colleagues, Macedo and Davidson conclude that Brazil can meet today’s demands for food, fiber, feed and fuel with no further biodiversity loss, minimal carbon costs, and even a carbon gain, which would help slow climate change.

Contact: Eunice Youmans, Director of External Affairs 508-444-1509
Email Eunice Youmans

Eunice Youmans | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://whrc.org/news/pressroom/PR-2014-06-25-Macedo-Davidson-Brazil-Biofuels.html

Further reports about: Amazon Biodiversity Biofuel Change Climate agriculture crop crops forests greenhouse sugar

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht How does the loss of species alter ecosystems?
18.05.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Excess diesel emissions bring global health & environmental impacts
16.05.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>