After a review of a decade’s worth of biofuels research, scientists with the Environmental Protection Agency have concluded that significant knowledge gaps will likely prevent experts from adequately assessing biofuels’ full environmental impacts (Environ. Sci. Technol., DOI: 10.1021/es2023253). While researchers have paid substantial attention to greenhouse gas emissions, the new study says, they have focused little on how the production and use of biofuels affects biodiversity and human health.
“The last 10 years or so of research may have left us short of understanding what biofuels really may do to global economies, the environment, and society,” says Caroline Ridley, an ecologist with the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Assessment, in Arlington, Va., who led the study.