Biodiesel Board Moves to Set Record Straight on Deforestation Issue

John Davis

nbb-logoThe National Biodiesel Board is attempting to set the record straight and debunk some research the NBB sees as faulty.

The research in question comes from Holly Gibbs, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Gibbs contends that the biodiesel production is contributing to deforestation.

But NBB CEO Joe Jobe argues the biodiesel industry is built on sustainable practices that produces “a fuel proven to lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide energy from a renewable resource.” Jobe also challenges Gibbs’ methodology:

“Holly Gibbs’ research measured deforestation based on images spanning the eighties and nineties, long before biodiesel became a viable alternative to foreign oil. Agriculture expansion is spurred mainly by the demand for food and feed, particularly in developing nations. The solution to reducing deforestation is improving global sustainable agriculture practices and addressing the major causes of deforestation, such as logging and infrastructure development. Biodiesel is a part of that solution, driving research that increases crop yields, and improves supplies of protein and higher outputs for food and feed on the exact same acres of land.

“Biodiesel is also among the most powerful tools to fight carbon emission, chipping away at the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions-fossil fuels. In fact biodiesel has a 78 percent life cycle carbon reduction according to the USDA/DOE.”