Argument: Let forests grow on unused farmland, not cellulosic ethanol

Issue Report: Cellulosic ethanol


David Schneider. “Loser: Grassoline’s Dark Side.” IEEE Spectrum. January 2010: “The benefits to wildlife and the carbon storage [of planting switchgrass are] valid if your baseline is traditional farming. But as Searchinger and his colleagues pointed out in their 2008 Science article, truly excess cropland eventually reverts to forest. And when that happens, you’d get all the wildlife-friendly, carbon-storing benefits that ensue. If you plant switchgrass there instead, those benefits are lost. ‘You have to look at what you give up,’ says Searchinger. As for growing switchgrass along highways or under power lines, that’s all good, but it would put just a small dent in the problem.”