Researchers: LCFS Would Help America
by Joanna Schroeder (DomesticFuel.com) During a bipartisan briefing on Capitol Hill, researchers from six institutions advocated that adopting a national Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) would be a positive step for America. Renewable fuels, they said, will be cleaner, cheaper and “Made in America”. This consensus by the group of researchers was met after conducting an extensive series of peer-reviewed LCFS studies. The research will be published in The Energy Policy Journal’s special issue on Low Carbon Fuel Policy over the next several months.
…Yet not everyone agrees that an LCFS would be a positive move for the country. The Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) has publicly come out against any national LCFS policies citing other studies that found such a move would cost millions of Americans to lose jobs, double gasoline prices and raise greenhouse gas emissions. READ MORE and MORE (Ethanol Producer Magazine) and MORE (University of California-Davis) and MORE (Biodiesel Magazine) Download reports Access related Journal articles
Excerpt from Ethanol Producer Magazine: While the corn ethanol industry has challenged some aspects of the California LCFS, Sperling (Dan Sperling, director of the national LCFS project and director of the Institution of Transportation Studies, University of California) suggests that a national LCFS could solve some of the limitations of the RFS for the corn ethanol industry and incentivize further carbon intensity reductions. “The RFS has thresholds, 20 percent for corn ethanol, 50 percent for advanced fuels and 60 percent for cellulosic,” he pointed out. An LCFS gets rid of those thresholds in favor of performance standards, “and every step in the energy chain receives credit for improvements made.” Corn ethanol producers continue to make efficiency improvements and corn producers continue to improve yields and improve fertilizer use, he said, all of which could be incentivized and rewarded in a LCFS. The RFS also picks winners, he said, whereas a LCFS is designed to be technology neutral and would include all biofuels and other renewable transportation technologies such as electric vehicles.
The policy recommendations report addresses a number of the objections raised by the ethanol industry on life cycle analyses, land use change measurements and baseline comparisons with crude oil, among other issues. The policy recommendations suggest land use change be addressed through a combination of short-term and long-term policies encouraging feedstocks that do not require additional land, such as wastes, agriculture residues, cellulosic feedstocks and algae. It also recommends adopting measures that lower land use change risk from land-using feedstock by enhancing carbon sequestration and encouraging the use of marginal, degraded or abandoned land while prohibiting the conversion of high-carbon, high-biodiversity and environmentally sensitive areas. The policy section also addresses incorporating sustainability goals into a LCFS.
The discussion of policy recommendations also covers the criticism that using a crude oil baseline unfairly subjects alternative fuels to life cycle analyses while not looking at the increasing carbon intensity (CI) of newer sources of crude oil, such as oil sands. READ MORE