BIO: California LCFS could hamper biofuels

Web exclusive posted April 24, 2009, at 7:48 a.m. CST

California's adoption of a low-carbon fuel standard jeopardizes continued development of the advanced biofuels it is intended to promote. Biotechnology Industry Organization Executive Vice President Brent Erickson issued the following statement regarding the decision today issued by the California Air Resources Board:

"The biotechnology industry supports and applauds California's attempt to mitigate the impact of transportation on climate change through adoption of a low-carbon fuel standard. Unfortunately, the rule adopted today in particular the inclusion of indirect land-use change measurements and methodology may discourage investment in continued research and development of the same low-carbon biofuels that are needed by California to meet its goals.

"California's regulation assigns to both conventional and advanced biofuels responsibility for international land-use changes a source of greenhouse gas emissions as large as those from fossil fuels for transportation. The model incorporated in California's regulations to measure these emissions uses highly uncertain assumptions and may in fact be fundamentally flawed by its assumptions.

"BIO has proposed to California's Air Resources Board that it maintain flexibility in its regulations to consider alternate models in the future that can more accurately measure land-use change. In its official comments on the regulation, BIO references a simple dynamic model currently under development for directly accounting for land-use change. BIO believes that a rigorous scientific and economic analysis will demonstrate that U.S. biofuels can make a positive contribution to the goal of reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuels and overall greenhouse gas emissions.

"California is setting a precedent for the United States and possibly other countries with the adoption of this rule. It is imperative that they consider further development and refinement of the study of indirect land use change."

For a copy of the comments from BIO, contact Paul Winters, director of communications, 202-962-9237, or

Source: Biotechnology Industry Organization