Biofuels Not in Paris Deal
Obama Administration Doesn't Include Biofuels in Climate Policy Mix
WASHINGTON (DTN) -- Leaders from renewable fuels groups are upset the U.S. plan to combat climate change doesn't include the benefits from biofuels.
As Secretary of State John Kerry joined officials from countries throughout the world in New York on Earth Day to sign the Paris agreement on climate change, U.S. renewable fuels groups complained that the U.S. plan to address climate change does not include their products.
The goal of the agreement is to slow global warming by limiting global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius through the rest of the century. The 171 countries signing the Paris treaty are committing to early goals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions as a way to reduce the rate of temperature increases over the coming decades. The U.S. seeks to hit a target of reducing its emissions by as much as 28% from 2005 emission levels by 2025.
Growth Energy noted the group has been involved in trade missions to promote cleaner-burning fuels as a solution for other nations to lower their carbon footprints.
"It is critical to remember that the Renewable Fuel Standard is the only policy in place that is taking meaningful steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," Growth Energy, a group that represents the builders and operators of ethanol plants, said in a news release.
Tom Buis, co-chair of Growth Energy, added, "Our industry is committed to taking steps to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions that have been shown to be a driving force in environmental damage. That is why we are committed to producing clean, green, renewable, and biodegradable fuels that are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and are better for our environment."
The Renewable Fuels Association noted in a news release that when countries submitted individual plans -- called Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) -- on how they planned to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, 37 countries included biofuels in their INDCs, "but there's one glaring omission -- the United States."
RFA maintained that, according to the Energy Department, corn ethanol from an average dry mill reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34% compared to gasoline.
"It is beyond baffling that biofuels or the RFS were not included in the U.S.' plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. "The U.S. should be proud that it has the most progressive and effective transportation-focused carbon program in the world. As the U.S. signs the Paris Agreement, it needs to look no further than its own backyard and fully implement the most potent and proven weapon to combat climate change -- the RFS."
The U.S. plan for reducing the country's emissions lists several business sectors, but not biofuels. Scientists and environmentalists are in disagreement over the role of renewable fuels in addressing climate change. The U.S. submission, or INDC, can be found here: http://dld.bz/…
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton contributed to this report.
Copyright 2016 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.