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A Big Week Ahead for RFS and Biofuels

Hoosier Ag Today by: Gary Truitt

The long awaited Paris Climate Conference gets underway this week. The purpose of the international meeting is to focus on how the world can address factors that are impacting our climate, including carbon and greenhouse gasses. Participants will also  try to agree on the text of a new international treaty. Countries will discuss related matters such as forests and funding for poorer countries to deal with climate change. All of the nations are working towards the common goal of limiting greenhouse gas emissions to prevent climate change from getting out of hand. Trying to get 196 countries to agree to anything makes the process slow going.

 

President Obama will present recommendations from the US on how to reduce carbon and GHG.  The oil lobby has been pressuring the administration not to mention biofuels or the Renewable Fuel Standard.  Geoff Cooper with the RFA is hopeful the White House will mention one of the few US programs that has been successful in reducing GHG: the RFS, “We are hopeful the President  will mention the RFS or renewable fuels in his speech. The RFS has been huge success in reducing carbon emissions in our transportation fuels.” The US is aiming for a reduction of at least 26 per cent below 2005 levels by 2025. How the President plans to achieve this without renewable fuels is baffling to Cooper.

 

Cooper admits the powerful oil lobby has been working hard to keep renewable energy out of the Paris discussions, “But we are hoping the administration will see through that fog  and include the RFS in its discussions in Paris.”

Obama, who has stated he is a climate change authority, has had a mixed record on supporting the RFS and biofuels. In advanced materials sent by the US to the Paris conference, there was no mention of biofuels or the RFS.

 

Ironically, as the Parris conference begins, the EPA will be releasing its final rule on the level of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline. It is likely the EPA will allow less than the ethanol industry wants and can produce. The RVO rule is expected to be released on Monday.

The location for the conference moves around each year. In 1997, it was in Kyoto, where the famous Kyoto Protocol was written up. In 2009, it was in Copenhagen, a meeting which ended in anti-climax. It was decided two years ago in Warsaw that the 2015 COP21 meeting would be in Paris. Country representatives also have smaller meetings throughout the year, mostly in Bonn, Germany.

 

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