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Posts Tagged ‘biofuels’

5 Things I Learned in Iowa about Biofuels

In July my colleagues and I, together with the Great Plains Institute, organized a Cellulosic Summit in Iowa. We brought together experts in clean transportation (many from California) with experts in sustainable agriculture (many from Iowa) to see for themselves the latest developments in cellulosic biofuel commercialization.  Read More

Categories: Biofuel, Vehicles  

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The Opportunity for Agricultural Residues and Manure to Fuel a Sustainable Future

Not all ethanol is created equal. The benefits, or consequences, of this ubiquitous ‘home-grown’ fuel that is blended in nearly every gallon of gasoline sold across the country vary depending on how it is produced and what it is produced from. As my colleague and uber biofuels-wonk Dr. Jeremy Martin has explained, ethanol produced from food, like corn or soybean, does little to reduce the carbon intensity of our transportation fuel and, in some cases, can actually be responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions on a lifecycle basis compared to gasoline. Read More

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Cows Are the Real Hogs: The IPCC and the Demand Side of Agriculture

One small but important breakthrough in the new IPCC report on climate mitigation, released Sunday in Berlin, is that the chapter on agriculture, forest, and other land use (AFOLU) looks at the demand side, not just supply. In other words, it not only asks how we can create less global warming pollution in producing food and wood products, but also what kinds of food and wood products we ought to be producing and consuming if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. Read More

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What Are We Doing with our Planet’s Land? A Report from Berlin

I’m in Berlin at the Global Land Project conference, a biennial gathering of about 1000 scientists who study how we Earthlings use our world. I gave a talk on beef compared to other meats in the informal “Pecha Kucha” format, which requires you to use only 20 slides, each displayed for only 20 seconds. It was fun, but the big excitement has been hearing new ideas presented by researchers from all over the world.
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Germany Goes for Oil Savings Gold

For the past several weeks the eyes of the world were glued on Sochi, watching the XXII Olympic Winter Games. But that’s not the only global contest I’m interested in. The U.S. and countries around the world are also racing to reduce their oil use and global warming emissions from transportation. Developing a cleaner transportation economy may not seem as exciting as a ski-cross photo finish, but it has major implications for our future. Read More

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Biodiesel Update: Now with More Soy

I’ve said before that the food versus fuel debate is about more than corn, and specifically that using a large share of America’s vegetable oil for fuel would be counterproductive, and would do more to expand unsustainable palm oil production than to sustainably cut oil use and reduce carbon emissions. Read More

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Through the Blend Wall or Not: Experts Weigh in on Ethanol Blends and the Future of Biofuels

How much ethanol can we use? Not as much as the corn ethanol lobby says, but considerably more than the oil industry wants you to think. The trench warfare between oil and corn ethanol interests over the future of biofuels policy distracts us from the more important questions. To understand the practical constraints facing the near term implementation of biofuel policy, it’s important to remember that there are 15 million flex fuel cars on America’s roads today capable of running on blends of 85 percent ethanol (E85) – it just isn’t broadly available. The implications reach beyond just corn ethanol. Read More

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The EPA and Biofuels: Smart Goals, but an Outdated Roadmap

It may sound backwards, but the EPA’s proposal at the end of last week to reduce the 2014 biofuels mandates in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) is just what we need to make sure we realize the promise of truly low carbon biofuels that cut oil use while minimizing competition with food. But while adjusting mandates in light of up-to-date data is smart, the EPA’s proposal goes too far, and could slow forward progress. Before finalizing the rule, the EPA should carefully balance near term challenges with the need to maintain progress toward long term oil saving and climate goals. Read More

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Clean Up on Aisle Six! Tax Reform and an Opportunity for Better Biofuels

There are folks who will tell you that as American citizens, we have a solemn responsibility to complain about taxes. And ideological bluster aside, they have a point: our tax code is a complete mess. The latest attempt at taking a legislative mop to this mess comes from the Senate Finance Committee, led by Chairman Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Hatch (R-UT). These two members recently outlined a proposal to “wipe the slate clean” and start tax policy over from scratch. Read More

Categories: Vehicles  

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Save Money, Cut Emissions, and Create Jobs: The Benefits of Half the Oil

Let’s be real. You probably already know that our oil use causes problems. It’s dirty, hard to clean up, tied to large corporations that wield significant influence over our political system, and is the largest single source of CO2 emissions in the U.S. We also use a lot of it – almost 2 million barrels (roughly 78 million gallons) every single day. So, it should be no surprise that UCS is working on a realistic plan to cut our projected oil use in half – in only 20 years. Read More

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