“Ethanol vs water”: critics say climate change will make biobased climate change mitigation strategies too water-intensive

June 10, 2013 |

In the EU, researchers from the US, Europe and China, writing in Environmental Science & Technology, warned that climate change could increase water consumption for US ethanol production up by 19 percent over the next 40 years — in meeting the 15 billion gallon corn ethanol mandate. The analysis found that irrigation rates would increase by 9 percent and corn yields would drop by 7 percent by 2050.

The researchers, who noted that the production of corn ethanol demands between 350 and 1400 liters of water from irrigation, depending on location, forecast a jump in irrigated water demand from 10.22 to 12.18 teraliters per year. The findings prompted an editorial in Spectrum to concluding in “Ethanol vs Water” that the strain on water consumption should prompt reconsideration of the US ethanol program.

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Category: International

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