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Posts Tagged ‘biofuels’

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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Happy World Water Day! (Celebrate by Saving Energy!)

If you’re all done with your vernal equinox celebrations and looking for another excuse to party, you’re in luck. It may not show up on your run-of-the-mill cute-puppy-dog calendar, but it turns out that today is World Water Day. If you’re looking for a way to celebrate it, you could do worse than finding some way to save energy. Read More

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The Future of Biofuels Part 3: Biodiesel

Faithful readers will have seen my data-based analysis of the US mandates for biofuels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  big choices on how to administer the program looking ahead. These choices highlight how the “food versus fuel” debate extends far beyond corn. The bottom line is that if the agency expands the RFS advanced mandate to make up for the slow commercialization of non-food “cellulosic” fuels, it will undermine the environmental and fuel security goals of the fuel standard, and contribute to food supply problems worldwide. Read More

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