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How the EPA Encourages Climate Change

Posted Jul. 28, 2011 / Posted by: Michal Rosenoer

A new report by Friends of the Earth, Corn Ethanol and Climate Change, demonstrates how the Renewable Fuel Standard, in spite of its climate protections, increases environmental degradation.

The RFS, which mandates the production of 36 billion gallons of biofuels a year by 2022, is being heralded as a tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also bolstering renewable energy markets. However, recent scientific analyses -- including an analysis from the Environmental Protection Agency -- proves that the RFS is doing little more than building a market for corn ethanol, an environmentally damaging  alternative to gasoline. In fact, according to EPA data, corn ethanol may actually produce 36 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than regular gasoline.

With the inclusion of indirect land use change in the lifecycle analysis of corn ethanol, it becomes increasingly obvious that the “renewable” fuel is neither sustainable nor environmentally-friendly. According to the report, “due to its low yield, large-land footprint, and likelihood to compete with food production for land,” corn ethanol poses a threat to international food prices, soil and water health, air quality, and forest conservation. Nevertheless, EPA chose to skew its data, purposefully suppressing the overwhelming results: corn ethanol mandated by the RFS is already producing more greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and will continue to do so for decades.

Moreover, although the RFS mandates a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for all biofuels, the vast majority of corn ethanol produced in the US has been “grandfathered” into the bill, and exempted from the climate protection requirement. By exempting existing ethanol plants from the emissions standard, the RFS eliminates any incentive for existing ethanol plants to change their ways. Thus, not only is EPA supporting the growth of environmentally-damaging corn ethanol, it is also removing incentives to improve the fuel in the future. And it’s doing this all under the guise of climate protection and renewable energy.

To read more how the RFS and EPA are manipulating data -- and the public -- read the full report.

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