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Let’s Talk Trash: What the EPA’s Methane Rules Lack on Landfills

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas—34 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In our battle against climate change, we need to limit methane’s release into the atmosphere, which is exactly what the EPA’s methane rules, released earlier this week, attempt to do. But as documented in our recently released fact sheet, we can do more with methane than just limit its release. In fact, in the case of landfills, we can actually optimize methane production and capture it as a low-carbon biofuel. I’ll have much more to say about reducing climate emissions from the oil and gas sector over the next several months—stay tuned—but for now, let’s talk trash. Read More

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WSPA Lies: Oil Companies Are At It Again… And California Is The Target

This month my mail has included a handful of very sad and frustrating reminders of what a heavy hit truth and integrity can take when oil profits come into play, and I’m not alone. Read More

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Clearing the First Hurdle: Regaining Momentum for Federal Fuels Policy

There are no quick or easy answers, but the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to get the Renewable Fuels Standard back on track is balanced and flexible. It will take more than one rulemaking process to clean up our fuel system, but the EPA’s proposal is a good start, helping accelerate the transition from oil to clean, renewable alternatives. Read More

Categories: Biofuel  

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Interview with Harvard’s James Stock: Navigating a Sensible Middle Path Forward on the Renewable Fuel Standard

Earlier this month I had the chance to sit down with Professor James Stock of Harvard University to discuss the future of biofuels and the key federal policy governing them, the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

Professor Stock served as a member of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors in 2013 and 2014. He was deeply involved in deliberations about the RFS during his tenure, and it was in that context that I first met him, back in October 2013, when I went to the White House to offer perspective on how best to implement the RFS. Read More

Categories: Biofuel, Vehicles  

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Major Surgery or Physical Therapy? Why Stability, Balance and Flexibility are the Right Prescription to Put the Renewable Fuel Standard Back on Track

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is in rough shape after a couple years of controversy and uncertainty, and some critics are calling for the removal of major elements of the policy.  But the RFS is needed to maintain steady progress on clean fuels, and such invasive surgery is the wrong prescription to fix what ails it. Instead something like physical therapy is required. Read More

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Is Small Farmers’ Firewood Use Burning up the Forests?

For many years, small farmers in developing countries have been blamed for deforestation because of the way that they make breakfast. While in developed countries nearly everyone cooks with fossil fuels, or with electricity generated by fossil fuels or hydroelectricity, in developing countries firewood still predominates, especially among the poorest people in rural areas. But is this really an important driver of deforestation—and thus a major contributor to global warming? A new study—the most in-depth and comprehensive look at the subject yet—says no.

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Low Carbon Fuels: How Clean Fuels Can Power the West Coast and Beyond

UCS-commissioned research released today is the latest to find that, with stable policies, we can achieve ambitious clean fuels goals. Recent publications from UC Davis, the International Council on Clean Transportation and E4Tech have drawn similar conclusions. As California prepares to readopt their 2010 Low Carbon Fuel Standard, we are seeing clear evidence that diverse types of clean fuel can be make a significant contribution to cutting oil use and transportation carbon pollution. Read More

Categories: Biofuel  

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How Oregon Can Fill Up On Clean Fuels

Something big is brewing in Oregon. No, it’s not a new IPA from Portland-based Bridgeport Brewery—though that sounds delightful. It’s the next phase of Oregon’s Clean Fuel Program, a forward-thinking regulation that requires transportation fuel to get steadily cleaner on average, ultimately achieving a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions per unit of fuel in 10 years. Extending this rule is a big deal because approximately one-third of Oregon’s greenhouse gases come from transportation, and Oregon has the in-state resource potential to produce significant amounts of clean fuels. Read More

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The Latest on Biofuels and Land Use: Progress to Report, but Challenges Remain

Carbon pollution caused indirectly by the increasing use of crops to produce biofuels has been a contentious topic for the last 7 years. In this post I look back at what we have learned since then about indirect land use change (ILUC) emissions, as this phenomena is generally called. The headline 7 years ago – that crop-based biofuels are far worse than fossil fuels – no longer holds. Read More

Categories: Biofuel, Global Warming, Vehicles  

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The Day After: What the Mid-Terms Mean and How To Move Forward

While this morning’s headlines naturally focus on the change in leadership in the U.S. Senate, nothing in the results should change anyone’s mind on these clear truths: we know Americans trust science, support cutting global warming emissions, and want help for communities struggling with the very real consequences of climate change.   Read More

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