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Tilman et al – Beneficial Biofuels

Tilman, David, Robert Socolow, Robert Williams, Jonathan A. Foley, Jason Hill, Eric Larson, Lee Lynd, Stephen Pacala, John Reilly, Tim Searchinger, and Chris Somerville. “Beneficial Biofuels—The Food, Energy, and Environment Trilemma. “Science Magazine, July 17, 2009. (accessed June 9, 2011).

Keywords: Food, Energy, Environment, Biofuels

This article published in Science Magazine was written by eleven different authors, each affiliated with different universities.  David Tilman is part of the Department of Ecology at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul; Robert Socolow works in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University; both Jonathan Foley and Jason Hill work in the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota; Eric Larson and Robert Williams are employed in the Princeton Environmental Institute; Lee Lynd works at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College; Stephen Pacala is a part of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton as well; John Reilly is at MIT in the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research; Chris Somerville is a part of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton; finally, Robert Williams works at the Energy Biosciences Institute of the University of California at Berkeley.  The primary author, David Tilman won the 2010 Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.  This article focuses primarily on the benefits of biofuels if they are done right, and what would happen if they are done wrong.  Biofuels are a very important thing to use because they can greatly reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we produce.  This article says that with the increased food and energy consumption levels that we have seen, the greenhouse gas levels will also greatly increase and we need a substitute fuel.  One of the main criticisms of biofuels is that crops grown for biofuels could be going to feed people, but this article points out the drastic need for a source of energy that does not contribute to global warming.  This article definitely is in support of biofuels, if they are done right.

This article says that the best biofuels are those that “focus on sustainable biomass feedstocks that neither compete with food crops nor directly or indirectly cause land-clearing and that offer advantages in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  When we use these types of biofuels, they are being done right and can help to solve the global energy crisis.

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