The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) believes that it’s time to throw out the whole debated theory of indirect land use change.
“In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts our corn farmers will produce more than 300 million more bushels than just three years ago, and do so on nearly 5 million fewer acres,” NCGA President Darrin Ihnen said in a news release. “International indirect land use change theory completely ignores or significantly downplays grower ingenuity and modern agronomy. This junk science needs to go the way of the horse-drawn plow.”
The unproven theory and models related to it are being used by the California Air Resources Board to implement that state’s low carbon fuel standard in such a way that ethanol made from corn would not qualify for use. Ihnen points to the recent Purdue study that found California is overestimating the greenhouse-gas impact of land use changes related to corn ethanol by a factor of two.
“The inclusion of model results in policy before the science has been fully established is not just a problem of rushing to judgment; in this case, it goes against the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Ihnen said. “By saddling corn-based ethanol with incorrect emissions, the California standard may actually increase its reliance on petroleum or foreign sources of ethanol, therefore worsening the environment and our national economy.”
The Purdue research also reflects the scientific community’s rejection of the initial paper that brought the land use change theory to the front burner in February 2008, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Since then, the estimated emissions purportedly occurring from the indirect land use change penalty have fallen by nearly 90 percent.