Corn Ethanol Harms Consumers, Climate and Renewable Energy Development
The federal requirement to blend corn ethanol into gasoline is polluting America’s air and water, contributing to climate change, hurting consumers and hindering the development of cleaner biofuels, Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group’s senior vice president for government affairs, told a Congressional panel today.
Faber’s remarks came during testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power. The two-day hearing focused on the Renewable Fuel Standard, also known as RFS.
“It’s time to face the facts: the RFS is producing too many ‘bad biofuels’ that increase greenhouse gas emissions, increase food and gasoline prices and pollute our air and water—and not enough ‘good biofuels,’” Faber said.
“Once heralded as a way to combat climate change, the RFS has actually increased greenhouse emissions by encouraging farmers to plow up more than 23 million acres of land—an area the size of Indiana—releasing more carbon and nitrous oxide into the atmosphere.”
Faber highlighted a lifecycle analysis by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that found that the rapid expansion of corn ethanol production raised carbon emissions in 2012 and will continue to do so for years to come.
Corn ethanol is produced overwhelmingly in plants powered by natural gas or coal, which increases lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent and 66 percent respectively compared to gasoline. Most of this production is exempt from greenhouse gas reduction requirements under a provision of 2007 legislation that expanded federal biofuels mandates.
Faber also noted that growing corn for ethanol requires huge amounts of fertilizers and other farm chemicals that ultimately wash off fields and pollute nearby waterways. This pollution contributes to the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, a vast area of low oxygen that cannot sustain marine life.
“Advanced biofuels made from non-food sources are promising alternatives, but in a market dominated by corn ethanol, progress is too slow,” Faber testified. “To allow second-generation fuels to gain a foothold in the marketplace, Congress must phase out the corn ethanol mandate. There is no simply reason to think RFS, as currently designed, is providing a sufficiently powerful incentive to develop these fuels.”
Visit EcoWatch’s ENERGY page for more related news on this topic.
Hot, dry and windy conditions fueled a wildfire southeast of Los Angeles Thursday that injured two firefighters and forced 25,000 to flee their homes.
- 'Explosive' Southern California Lake Fire Spreads to 10,000 Acres ... ›
- A Gender-Reveal Party Started a Wildfire That Burned Nearly ... ›
- Wildfire in LA Burns 7,000 Acres During Record-Setting Heat Wave ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The climate crisis already has a death toll, and it will get worse if we don't act to reduce emissions.
- 'Every Child Born Today Will Be Profoundly Affected by Climate ... ›
- Coronavirus Response Proves the World Can Act on Climate Change ›
- 5 Things About Climate Change and Coronavirus From WHO ... ›
By Stuart Braun
The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the dire threat of climate change Wednesday in a speech on the state of the planet delivered at Columbia University in New York.
- UN: Climate Crisis Has Doubled Natural Disasters in Last 20 Years ... ›
- Countries Pledge to Reverse Destruction of Nature After Missing ... ›
- 13 Must-Read Climate Change Reports for 2020 - EcoWatch ›
- The UN Wants to Protect 30% of the Planet by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
If you've been wanting to try CBD oil but have been concerned about the price, know that not only can you purchase affordable CBD oil, but you also can purchase high quality CBD oil at those affordable prices.
By David Coman-Hidy
The actions of the U.S. meat industry throughout the pandemic have brought to light the true corruption and waste that are inherent within our food system. Despite a new wave of rising COVID-19 cases, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently submitted a proposal to further increase "the maximum slaughter line speed by 25 percent," which was already far too fast and highly dangerous. It has been made evident that the industry will exploit its workers and animals all to boost its profit.