A recent article by Searchinger et al, published February 7 in the on-line edition of the journal Science, concludes that biofuels production leads to land use changes whose greenhouse gas emissions outweigh the climate benefits of the fuels themselves. This study provides a useful contribution to the discussion of sustainable biofuels production. But a growing list of scientists and other experts has taken issue with the assumptions and methodology on which the authors based their conclusion.
BIO's member companies are committed to the sustainable production of biofuels. While we appreciate the authors' effort to further the discussion of this important topic, we share the concerns of the scientific community that the pessimistic conclusions of the Searchinger paper are not justified by the science.
Agricultural and industrial biotechnology are key enabling technologies that will allow the U.S. to sustainably reach the new national renewable fuels standard (RFS) established by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. A critique of the paper, compiled from statements of the scientific community and others, follows.