Kevin Bullis

A View from Kevin Bullis

Less Money for Evaluating Biofuels

Producing ethanol might increase greenhouse emissions, but the funding to find out is being cut.

  • February 25, 2008

The EPA is slated to get less money than in previous years to analyze the effects of biofuels use. The proposed cut comes at a time when that money may be needed more than ever.

Energy Washington Week reports that President Bush’s proposed 2009 budget for an EPA program related to analyzing biofuels would cut funds by almost 10 percent compared with this year. If anything, the funding should be going up. Congress recently passed, and President Bush signed into law, legislation that would dramatically increase the amount of biofuels used in the United States. At the same time, researchers have published work in the journal Science suggesting that producing biofuels could increase rather than decrease greenhouse-gas emissions. Biofuels, in other words, could make worse the very problem that they are supposed to help solve.

The results are not definitive, and much depends on how the biofuels are produced. (See this Science article.) But before biofuels production ramps up too much, it would be good to know whether they are making things better or worse.

Become an MIT Technology Review Insider for in-depth analysis and unparalleled perspective.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Sustainable Energy

Can we sustainably provide food, water, and energy to a growing population during a climate crisis?

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Premium.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.