Thursday, May 22, 2008

New biofuel crop species just like weeds

Some of the most commonly recommended species for biofuels production are also major invasive alien species," the paper says, adding that these crops should be studied more thoroughly before being cultivated in new areas.

Controlling the spread of such plants could prove difficult, the experts said, producing "greater financial losses than gains." The International Union for Conservation of Nature encapsulated the message like this: "Don't let invasive biofuel crops attack your country."

To reach their conclusions, the scientists compared the list of the most popular second-generation biofuels with the list of invasive species and found an alarming degree of overlap. They said little evaluation of risk had occurred before planting.  (NY Times)
How to prevent farmers in corruption-prone countries of Asia or Latin America from turning to these potentially dangerous crops?  First, the elimination of agricultural subsidies in the developed world ought to make biofuel crops less profitable than growing food.   Second,  government policies which provide incentives for farmers to grow biofuels need to be eliminated.  

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