Final Thoughts: National biofuels advocate evolves
July 28, 2016
By Andrea Kent
Aug. 10, 2016 - As all levels of government look for ways to fight climate change, bio-products and a diversified fuel mix are essential options to replace high carbon products and fossil fuels. Producers of renewable fuels and bio-based products reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and provide economic opportunity to the benefit of all Canadians.
The Canadian Renewable Fuels Association recognized the importance of the complete bio-based industry in the fight against climate change, and has expanded its mandate to become Renewable Industries Canada (RICanada). The association’s focus now goes beyond renewable fuels to include advanced biofuels, bio-based products and policy programs that will support greater product research, development and commercialization. The evolution is a natural extension of what RICanada is and what it does best.
RICanada member companies have been growing their businesses and diversifying their products for some time. These value-added products provide governments with more and better ways to reduce carbon emissions. The federal government has made climate change a top priority, initiating ambitious emission reduction targets – and provinces such as Ontario are creating climate change plans that will fundamentally alter our economies and potentially our way of life. These targets will not be met without the use of RICanada-member products, which are integral to reducing transportation sector emissions, transitioning our country to a low-carbon economy and securing a sustainable energy future.
RICanada will build on decades of success that resulted in federal and provincial renewable fuel mandates, and an industry that generates billions in economic activity, returns billions on government investment, and reduces 4.2 megatonnes of GHGs annually. RICanada will work tirelessly to advocate for increased use of renewable fuels, carbon pricing systems that are designed to ensure a fair value for GHG reductions, and for increased support for clean technology and Canada’s bioeconomy.
While the association has evolved, it is clear that renewable fuels will always be a focus and proud part of RICanada’s work. Canadian renewable fuel producers already help remove the equivalent of one million cars worth of carbon emissions from Canada’s roads every year. More can be done, as liquid fuels will be required for years to come while the potential of other renewable energy sources and electric vehicles are being harnessed sufficiently.
With that in mind, RICanada is proposing a strategy to reduce emissions equivalent to another one million cars by increasing the mandated amount of ethanol blended into Canadian gasoline from five per cent to 10 per cent and the biodiesel content of diesel fuel from two per cent to five per cent. These two simple mandate increases can be achieved in the short term, requiring no changes to existing infrastructure, vehicles or consumer behaviour; helping governments to meet their emission targets; helping our environment; and providing more economic benefits here at home.
Extending RICanada’s reach to the overall bioeconomy represents an opportunity for further industry growth. Advocating for increased use of renewable fuels and bio-based products, as well as further research and development, could result in more efficient production methods, products and environmental and economic benefits. This opportunity cannot be ignored if Canada is to transition to a low carbon economy.
Founded in 1984, Renewable Industries Canada (RICanada) is a non-profit organization that represents the interests of over 30 member companies and is Canada’s leading voice in promoting the role of renewable fuels and value added products in reducing GHG emissions through consumer awareness and government liaison activities.
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