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Biofuels under the microscope


Zuleika Henderson
22 July 2008
If you have ever paused at the petrol pump wondering about the real environmental advantages and ethical issues of using E10 fuel, then a presentation at Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus this week could provide some answers.

‘Biofuels: curse or cure for climate change,’ takes place this Friday 25 July and aims to clear up some of the confusion surrounding this increasingly controversial topic.

Head of the School of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University, Professor Jerry Vanclay, said the presentation aimed to examine the various kinds and sources of biofuels and their environmental and social consequences.

“Biofuels have been proposed as having benefits like reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuel use to create a sustainable fuel supply for the future,” said Professor Vanclay.

“But there is concern that some biofuel production can threaten the environment if it is not done sustainably, by creating high carbon emissions and causing deforestation.

“It is also being questioned from an ethical angle, with concerns that increased use of biofuels is aggravating food shortages and third world instability.

“The reality is that some biofuels are good, some are bad, and some could be manufactured locally using biomass that currently goes to waste. By examining the issues we hope to provide some clarity on this controversial topic.”

The presentation is the second in a series of monthly seminars designed to promote discussion within the community on important environmental issues.

The ‘Science Conversation Series’ is tackling subjects such as hazardous waste dumps, the global threats facing whales and dolphins and the use of plant resources for food, fuel and conservation.

Each seminar will be available as a download after each event from the website

‘Biofuels: curse or cure for climate change’ will be presented by Professor Jerry Vanclay on Friday 25 July from 3pm-4pm in lecture theatre U2.31 at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University.

More information on the Science Conversation Series is available from Dr Anja Scheffers on 02 6620 3392 or [email protected]

Photo: Professor Jerry Vanclay. (High resolution image available on request.)