Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The Sierra Club and Worldwatch Institute have released a new report, “Smart Choices for Biofuels”, that highlights the need for policy reforms to increase the use of biofuels in the U.S.
“At a time of volatile gas prices and rising concern about global warming, it has become clear that biofuels can play a role in reducing dependence on oil and curbing climate change,” said Christopher Flavin, president of Worldwatch Institute. “However, the large and growing scale of the industry make it critical that Congress now make smart choices that promote sustainable biofuels-rather than just more biofuels-as part of a clean energy economy.”
The Sierra Club said that U.S. biofuels production in 2008 topped 9 billion gallons. The majority of this was corn ethanol, and successive Congressional mandates call for the use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by the year 2022. Domestic biofuels output has more than doubled since 2005.
The steps proposed in the report to increase production include an accelerated transition to cellulosic feedstocks such as switchgrass and the use of more effective agricultural practices to decrease erosion and soil nutrient depletion. The report also recommends complementary steps beyond improvements in biofuels production, such as the promotion of plug-in hybrid vehicles and increased investments in public transportation, which could also help achieve crucial energy and climate goals.
Finally, the report concludes that if a renewable fuels mandate is to contribute effectively to reducing foreign oil dependence and curbing global warming, it must be reevaluated in light of changing circumstances. Changes in four broad policy categories-sustainability standards, advancing biofuels production and new technologies, creating green jobs, and promoting policy coherence across energy sectors-are detailed in the report.
To download a copy of the report, click here.