Washington, D.C. – As the debate over the Renewable Fuel Standard intensifies, the Center for American Progress released an analysis on why the United States should stay committed to the law. What began as a bipartisan effort to decrease oil imports and encourage development of lower-carbon fuels has turned into a highly contentious political battle, pitting powerful interest groups against each other in an effort to sway lawmakers and the public.
President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan calls for the increased use of biofuels as a means of building a 21st-century transportation sector and reducing carbon pollution. Responsible for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, the transportation sector is the second-largest contributor of carbon pollution, behind electricity production. More than 84 percent of transportation emissions are from fossil-fuel combustion in on-road vehicles, such as cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles. Therefore, slashing pollution from these vehicles is essential to meeting the 2020 goal of a 17 percent reduction of greenhouse gas pollution below 2005 levels.
The RFS is a valuable policy that is creating a market for cleaner-burning biofuels that will reduce carbon pollution in the transportation sector and help address the urgent threat of climate change. Although the transition to advanced biofuels has been slower than anyone anticipated, the industry is on the cusp of explosive growth.
“The Renewable Fuel Standard is critical to stimulating the growth of the advanced biofuels industry and will ultimately have a significant impact on transportation emissions,” said Mari Hernandez, Research Associate at the Center for American Progress and co-author of the analysis. “Congress should support this policy to ensure that the United States continues to move forward on cleaner transportation fuels.”
The development of advanced biofuels will only continue with the market certainty provided by the RFS, which enables companies to invest in the development and commercialization of cellulosic and advanced biofuels that are half as dirty as conventional fuels. Without the RFS, the diversification of fuel sources, the investment in advanced biofuels, and the effectiveness of U.S. climate policy will be severely limited. Through the RFS and the development of much cleaner biofuels, the United States can continue to reduce petroleum use, enhance energy security, and effectively address climate change.
Read the analysis: An Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard and Why It Is Good for the Climate by Mari Hernandez and Matt Kasper
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