NEWS: Biofuel Producers Lobby for CO2 Credits in Climate Bill

Dispatch from SSC Intern Emilia Pramova

Producers of biofuels, plastics and chemicals made from crops want U.S. senators to change the climate bill and include free pollution permits for them, Reuters reports.

Companies that make the alternative motor fuel ethanol and plastics from renewable biomass, have started lobbying Senate offices with their demand to acquire 1% to 5% of the emissions permits outlined in the 2012- 2050 cap and trade program.

Such credits were not included for those industries in the House of Representatives version of the bill passed in June. Democratic leaders hope the full Senate will vote on the legislation in October.
The biofuels industry, which can also produce bio-plastics and chemicals similar to the petroleum-based ones, is far smaller than the oil refining industry, which has secured 2% of the bill’s permits. But Brent Erickson, executive vice president at the Biotechnology Industry Organization, argued that makers of biofuels and plant-plastics should get a share of the permits exactly because their products are renewable.

No offense to refiners, but they're taking carbon that's been buried in the ground for millions of years and releasing it into the atmosphere. And we're taking carbon that's in the atmosphere and recycling it through plants, and it ought to be treated differently.
A study in Yale University's Journal of Industrial Ecology published this year found that ethanol made from corn had lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions about 50 percent lower than gasoline. Ethanol producers say cellulosic ethanol, a second generation fuel made from non-food crops that's not available yet in commercial amounts, is even cleaner.

The industry also hopes that companies aspiring to make fuels and products from algae will also get incentives under the climate bill.

Read the entire Reuters article by clicking here.