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Wind vs. Biofuels: Addressing Climate, Health and Energy

The favored approach for addressing global warming today is to promote a variety of options: biofuels, wind, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear energy and to improve efficiency. Yet the greatest emphasis, by far, has been on biofuels.

"The push for biofuels is mostly driven by lobbyists, who are interested in a new market for fuels and less in remediating air pollution," Stanford civil and environmental engineering Associate Professor Mark Jacobson said.

In next week's colloquium, Jacobson will explain why today's biofuels cannot address global warming and may in fact increase death and illness due to ozone-related air pollution. Future biofuels may theoretically slow global warming, but only temporarily and with the cost of increased air pollution mortality. In both cases, the land required renders biofuels an impractical solution.

"It's time we start addressing real solutions to the problem of air pollution," Jacobson said, "instead of 'solutions' that offer little or no benefit."

In his lecture "Wind vs. Biofuels: Addressing Climate, Health and Energy," Jacobson will describe recent Stanford measurements and statistical analyses which suggest that wind combined with other options can simultaneously address global warming, air pollution mortality, and energy needs.

The colloquium takes place Monday at 4:15 in Panofsky Auditorium. All are invited to attend.

—Alison Drain, January 26, 2007

Above image: Mark Jacobson, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford. (Image courtesy of the Stanford Report.)