Sourcing the Future of Wood Bioenergy

Some of the biggest bioenergy debates stem from a “food or fuel” problem, where agricultural lands have been devoted to growing grain as inputs for biofuels, at the cost of food production. According to a study by Searchinger et. al. of corn-based ethanol production, the large scale substitution  of corn ethanol over traditional fossil fuels […]

The Next Decade of Forest Management

In last week’s RFF First Wednesday discussion, the inaugural event in RFF’s Resources 2020 anniversary series of lectures, experts emphasized urgently the need to tackle the problem of rapidly declining forest health. Biotechnology (in the form of genetically modified trees) offers promise but it is pushing the boundaries of regulatory institutions. For example, three agencies […]

RFF POLICY COMMENTARY: The Carbon Footprint of Wood for Bioenergy

This week, the RFF Policy Commentary series is relaunched with an exploration of a controversial topic—carbon emissions from biomass energy. Proponents claim that biomass is an abundant source of energy with no net carbon emissions—a closed carbon loop. Critics argue that that biomass use will directly or indirectly lead to greater carbon emissions, and that […]

Is Bioenergy Carbon Neutral?

In the fall of 2010, two noteworthy letters were sent to the Congress by eminent scientists examining the merits – or demerits – of biofuels in the climate debate. The first, from about 90 scientists, questioned the treatment of all biomass energy as carbon neutral, arguing that such treatment could undermine legislative emission-reduction goals. The […]

Green Power? The Limits of Cellulosic Biofuel

As the Senate Agriculture Committee considers The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, Roger Sedjo takes a closer look at the importance of carefully-crafted biofuels policies in this commentary originally published in the July 22, 2009 edition of The Energy Daily. Concerns about energy independence and global warming have generated careless and counterproductive […]