Challenges Undermine Clean Energy Future

Cindy Zimmerman

“If we refuse to take into account the full costs of our fossil fuel addiction — if we don’t factor in the environmental costs and the national security costs and the true economic costs — we will have missed our best chance to seize a clean energy future.”

That is what President Obama said in his speech at Carnegie Mellon University on Wednesday. He stressed the need to fully embrace a clean energy future because “without a major change in our energy policy, our dependence on oil means that we will continue to send billions of dollars of our hard-earned wealth to other countries every month — including countries in dangerous and unstable regions. In other words, our continued dependence on fossil fuels will jeopardize our national security. It will smother our planet. And it will continue to put our economy and our environment at risk.”

Renewable Fuels Association LogoHowever, the Renewable Fuels Association notes that environmental activists continue seeking to undermine the growth of biofuels as a way to displace fossil fuels by using unproven theories like Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) and Global Rebound Effect.

RFA points to a new paper published this week in Environmental Research Letters by the originator of the ILUC theory, environmental attorney Tim Searchinger, that suggests the climatic effects of using biomass for energy are no different than using fossil fuels. “By using Searchinger’s logic, a beverage can made from recycled aluminum is the same as a can made from aluminum that was just mined from the ground,” said RFA president Bob Dinneen. “That simply doesn’t make sense, nor does it do anything to break America’s addition to oil.”

According to RFA, the latest scientific evidence clearly shows ethanol production is both environmentally responsible as well as increasingly sustainable, and they are calling on California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) to keep its promise to use the “best available science” in reevaluating its Low Carbon Fuels Standard (LCFS). RFA has written the board twice, urging the immediate adoption of new research from Purdue University that shows ARB overestimated corn ethanol’s potential land use effects by a factor of two. In a letter sent last week to the board, Dinneen expressed concern that ARB is “shirking its commitment to use the best available science and is taking the new Purdue results too lightly.” Adopting new scientific data from Purdue University would reduce corn ethanol’s potential indirect land use change (ILUC) penalty by 50 percent.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, Government, RFA