Switch to Switchgrass
But in a study published today in the journal Science, researchers from UC Berkeley claim otherwise. Quoted in the Contra Costa Times, Dan Kammen, one of the study's authors, said: "The long-standing debate over whether ethanol is good or bad on an energy basis ... we believe that 20-year-old argument is now solved. You can get more energy out. What we don't know is, is that good for the planet?"
For one thing, says Kammen, ethanol made from corn would reduce greenhouse gas emissions only marginally. And currently, thanks in no small part to the corn lobby, virtually all ethanol comes from corn. It would be far better, nearly everyone agrees, to make the stuff from no-till, high-energy crops like switchgrass, an acre of which can produce as much energy as up to 10 tons of coal. Too bad there's no switchgrass lobby.