Reducing Emissions By Measuring Carbon In Fuel

CA's Air Resources Board has issued a new regulation to reduce carbon from fuels - and the ethanol industry isn't happy.
March 10, 2009, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"The low-carbon fuel standard, if approved next month by the state's Air Resources Board, would be the first in the nation to restrict greenhouse gases produced by a fuel, from its source to its burning.

Some members of California's beleaguered renewable-fuels industry greeted the initiative with outrage. the proposal was "a perversion of science and a prescription for disaster.", said a Pacific Ethanol spokesman.

The fuel standard is a key element in the state's climate plan, along with an initiative to regulate the engines and bodies of vehicles for carbon emissions.

The fuel proposal announced Thursday (3/5) is projected to reduce carbon emissions by 16 million metric tons by 2020. It would result in the replacement of 20% of the fossil fuel used by California cars with cleaner alternatives by 2020, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and other options, the board said.

The corn from which ethanol is derived requires large amounts of water and petroleum-based fertilizer to produce and, according to some studies, diverts land from pastures and rain forests, which store carbon. The result is increased carbon in the atmosphere.

In its proposal, the air board seeks to quantify these so-called "indirect land use changes," a calculation that effectively assigns a high carbon intensity to corn-based ethanol in relation to other fuels."

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

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Published on Friday, March 6, 2009 in Los Angeles Times
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