Tag Archives: carbon debt

Ethanol or Tar Sands?

Those who are pushing the inclusion of indirect land use change (ILUC) in government regulations have thus far proposed ILUC as the only indirect effect and that it only apply to biofuels. A letter from more than 100 scientists pointed out this would create unequal boundaries for transportation fuels and unfairly disadvantage biofuels. But are there indirect effects from producing gasoline? In a March 16 hearing, staff for the California Air Resources Board said they Read More >

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California Proposes Numbers for Indirect Land Use Change Emissions

California issued a staff report last week for its “Proposed Regulation to Implement the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.” As expected, the rule proposes a measure of indirect land use change emissions for select biofuels – corn and sugarcane ethanol and soy biodiesel. The report defines the assumptions behind the analysis – in a word, that use of existing crops for biofuels reduces supplies, increases prices, and thereby induces agricultural expansion: Land use change effects occur Read More >

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New Studies Question Cellulosic Biofuels

A new study from MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change examines what it calls the Unintended Environmental Consequences of a Global Biofuels Program. Unintended consequences seems to be the watchword of the year. The authors posit that there will be a feedback loop from climate change and policies that promote biofuels to address it. Climate change itself will affect the productivity of land, shifting agricultural production to new areas, and Read More >

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New Studies Support Cellulosic Ethanol

A team of researchers led by Jason Hill and David Tilman at the University of Minnesota have published an interesting assessment of the health costs of both greenhouse gas and fine particulate matter from corn ethanol, gasoline and cellulosic ethanol. The study is available in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences early release for Feb. 10. The conclusion is favorable to cellulosic ethanol: The benefits of shifting from gasoline and the current generation Read More >

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EPA Continues to Move Toward Calculation of Indirect GHGs

Dr. Bruce Dale of Michigan State University published a Commentary in the Washington Times on Nov. 26, calling for sound science in development of the EPA’s rule on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Dr. Dale points out, “No actual data exist that connect U.S. domestic ethanol production with, to cite a widely quoted example, the clearing of the Amazon rain forest. Instead, the paper’s conclusions depend entirely on economic modeling and assumptions.” He then discusses his Read More >

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