A new analysis shows implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) has resulted in a reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent since 2008.
Findings of the analysis, conducted by California-based Life Cycle Associates, have important implications for both the pending final rule for 2014–2016 RFS volumes and upcoming global climate talks in Paris, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which sponsored the study.
According to the report, “The RFS2 has resulted in significant GHG reductions, with cumulative CO2 savings of 354 million metric tonnes over the period of implementation. The GHG reductions are attributed to greater than expected savings from ethanol and other biofuels.”
Specifically, the authors ascribe the larger-than-anticipated GHG emissions reductions to: technology improvements in grain ethanol production, increased consumption of low-carbon advanced biofuels, and the steadily rising carbon intensity of petroleum fuels. The study found that conventional corn ethanol reduced emissions by an average of 29 percent when compared to the petroleum actually used in 2008, with that reduction growing to 39 percent by 2015. Importantly, these estimates include the best available estimates of prospective “indirect land use change” emissions from Argonne National Laboratory.
“This report, which uses globally accepted GHG accounting methods, demonstrates that the RFS has been tremendously successful in reducing the carbon intensity of our transportation fuels. In fact, the study found the RFS has actually exceeded expectations in terms of GHG reduction,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen.