Count Biofuel Emissions, Scientists and Economists Say
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
More than 200 scientists and economists issued a letter today calling on Congress and federal agencies to account for emissions from indirect land use change in biofuel laws and regulations.
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which organized the letter, is running advertisements in Congress Daily this Wednesday and Thursday to publicize the letter.
Including "indirect land use change…in the lifecycle analyses of heat-trapping emissions from biofuels…," the letter states, "will encourage development of sustainable, low-carbon fuels that avoid conflict with food and minimize harmful environmental impacts."
The letter's release coincides with the end of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) public comment period for the Renewable Fuels Standard, which would significantly increase biofuel production. EPA is required to consider these emissions under current law.
The ethanol industry is promoting policies that would prevent the EPA from even considering the science underpinning indirect land use change. To do that would ignore the scientific evidence, according to the scientists and economists on the letter. "Grappling with the technical uncertainty and developing a regulation based on the best available science is preferable to ignoring a major source of emissions," they write.
A copy of the letter, the ads and more information about indirect land use change can be found on UCS's Smart Bioenergy page.