Cutting Greenhouse Gas Questions

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Questions

Cutting Greenhouse Gas Questions. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.

The state of California has adopted new regulations aimed at cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels by 10 percent by the year 2020.  American Farm Bureau Energy Specialist Anne Steckel says that’s an admirable goal, but the methods are seriously flawed and set a bad precedent.

STECKEL: The effect will be to decimate the ethanol industry and to move to any kind of cellulosic, next-generation ethanol will be impossible if we set these sort of impossible standards.

The impossible standard she’s referring to is a measure of the indirect environmental impact of using ethanol and that would include... 

STECKEL: Tilling the land, trucking the corn to the ethanol plant, the emissions from the ethanol plant and so forth.  They measured that for biofuels but they did not measure that for gasoline.

Which, on paper, makes it look like using petroleum products is better for the environment than using biofuels, which Steckel says is not only ridiculous, but defeats the purpose of the new rules.

STECKEL: Their whole intent is to get to cellulosic ethanol.  So their intention is good, but by using this indirect land use and unfairly penalizing biofuels we will never get to the second generation cellulosic ethanol industry.  Because the infrastructure and the investment will not be there if the demand is not there currently.

Steckel explains why new California regulations are bad news for biofuels. 

STECKEL: AFBF is not happy with the ruling that came out of the California air resource board on a low carbon fuel standard because it unfairly penalizes biofuels in relationship to gasoline.  It’s only fair if you’re going to measure one form of transportation fuel with indirect land use that you measure every form for indirect land use.  And so we would urge the California air resource board to measure the indirect land use for gasoline as well. 

Steckel talks about a serious flaw in California’s new low-carbon fuel standard.

STECKEL: It’s ridiculous to say that gasoline is more environmentally friendly than biofuels.  Several scientific studies have shown that greenhouse gas reductions for biofuels are greater than for petroleum. 

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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