Canadian Biomass Magazine

Biomass, biofuels shouldn’t have CO2 emission cap

October 23, 2009
By Canadian Biomass

Oct. 23, 2009, Washington, D.C. – Treating renewable energy the same as fossil energy thwarts the goal of reducing climate change, says the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Oct. 23, 2009, Washington, D.C. – Treating renewable energy the same as fossil energy
thwarts the goal of reducing climate change. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) has released
its reaction to the publication in Science magazine of a proposal to count international
emissions against U.S. renewable biomass production.

“Biofuels and biomass energy recycle atmospheric carbon, while fossil energy takes carbon
that has been stored for millions of years in the earth and releases it into
the atmosphere,” explains Brent Erickson, executive vice-president of BIO’s
Industrial and Environmental Section. “The policy proposed distorts this simple fact. It also fails to take
into account that well-managed biomass production can sequester more carbon in
the soil than is released into the atmosphere through combustion of biofuels
and bioenergy. Biomass carbon can also be sequestered in production of biobased
products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis earlier this year
shows that well-managed cellulosic sources of biomass can actually take more CO2
from the air, and sequester it in the soil, than is released through combustion
in automobiles.”

“The proposal put forward, similar to a previous proposal for accounting of
life-cycle emissions from biofuels, would hold U.S. production of renewable
energy and biomass accountable for emissions in other countries, limiting the
ability of the United States to reduce its own emissions. This is a misguided
policy proposal to protect foreign habitats by penalizing American farmers and
biofuels producers who may be having no impact on land-use practices in
developing nations.”

“Renewable energy should not be treated in the same manner as fossil fuels under any
climate change cap and trade legislation or treaty. Rather, biofuels should be
recognized for their unique role in helping attain a low-carbon future. To
date, climate change legislation being considered by Congress has focused
primarily on limiting emissions from stationary sources such as power plants
and factories. But we cannot have a low-carbon future without low-carbon
transportation fuels. Congress should not be penalizing low-carbon biofuels,
but instead should be rewarding their production, since they can help reduce
the carbon footprint of the transportation sector.”


BIO previously sent a letter to Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
members asking that biofuels not be subject to additional requirements for
greenhouse gas reporting because they are regulated under the Renewable Fuel

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