SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
April 24, 2009

Biofuel loses fight with California pollution regulators

Posted: 10:00 AM ET

The biofuel industry has lost its battle against California regulators over rules aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from various fuels, including corn-based ethanol.

artcorngi

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) late Thursday approved the controversial Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which would force fuel producers to lower their “carbon intensity” of their products by 10 percent by 2020.

“They have made a huge mistake in demonizing first generation biofuels,” said Brooke Coleman of the New Fuels Alliance, a biofuel lobbying group. Coleman called the new rules a “biased regulation that drives investment away from all biofuels.”

Carbon intensity is what fueled the controversy. It’s a rating system meant to classify each fuel by how much greenhouse gases they produce for every unit of energy that they create.

CARB Chairman Mary Nichols touted the board’s decision, predicting that the new rules will reduce air pollution, create new jobs and “continue California’s leadership in the fight against global warming.”

Makers of ethanol said the rating system unfairly ties their U.S.-made corn-based fuel to mass deforestation – not in the United States – but in developing nations. Ethanol critics say the entire biofuel industry should bear global responsibility for clearing of trees to make farmland to grow crops that will be used to make the fuel.

The rules have taken on a pretty high profile since they were proposed. Several U.S. states are considering similar measures and even the European Union watching with interest.

In the months that the debate has been raging, people have been voicing a lot of strong opinions about this issue. So, what do you think about the ruling? Fire away!

In other news, CNN's iReport wants to know what you think of iPhone apps. How do you use them? What's your favorite? Tell us about your iPhone app experience!

Filed under: climate change • Energy • environment • Ethanol • Fuel • Uncategorized


Share this on:
Buddesatva   April 24th, 2009 11:18 am ET

Raising corn to grind into fuel is very stupid. It makes no sense economically or ecologically. One lesson that is available in this story is the methods and madness of spin. The tortured way that the New Fuels Alliance person frames the issue is classic spin. Why do they want to push food for fuel anyway? There are better ways, but they are all less profitable for the corn growers.


Missy   April 24th, 2009 12:07 pm ET

I don't know anything about how the rating system is formulated. However it seems counterproductive if the rain forests are being cleard to produce corn farms. Zoning regulations seems to be the answer to that, at least here in the US. As far as foreign countries are concerned.... hell, they can't stop killing themselves – why would we expect them to adhere to rules regarding land.


Chris Wells   April 24th, 2009 12:28 pm ET

All this "low carbon", "greenhouse gases" stuff is a bunch of nonsense cooked up by governments and industrial lobbyists to force us down a certain path. We need a "bloody revolution" in this country!


kevin   April 24th, 2009 12:36 pm ET

studies still need to be done for cellulose but clearing of land for farming for biofuels needs to stop unless they're planting trees and plant s to clean the air better and rotating crops to preserve soil quality this can be done in a sustainable way but food stock used for fuel seems like money in the bank instead of food for the hungry.


wayne   April 24th, 2009 12:40 pm ET

California needs to slip off into the ocean


Eduardo   April 24th, 2009 12:47 pm ET

The sugar cane based ethanol is much more efficient than the corn based. The allegation that trees will be destroyed to make farmland is not true. The soil of the Amazon forest, for instance, is not suitable for harvesting. The forest worth much more standing still. There are far better alternatives for farming...


cjsks   April 24th, 2009 12:55 pm ET

First generation Biofuel (from crops) has too much downside. Second and Third generation biofuels (from crop waste material, non food crops, algae fuel, etc.) will provide much a more viable and sustainable solution.

Until then, the future in alternative fuels is electricity, more specifically advanced battery technology powered by renewable sources, like wind, solar, geothermal, even clean coal (if its ever implemented) and nuclear.


Erik from Minnesota   April 24th, 2009 1:22 pm ET

Here in Minnesota we have done a fine job of advancing ethanol technologies. But even our eyes are looking beyond, mostly to algae based fuels that can be grown on scrap land or desert and run in engines without "mixing" with other fuels. Our own University of Minnesota is helping to bring this exciting new technology to fruition and I encourage all to research the many companies that are involved with this endeavor.


Bret Crotts   April 24th, 2009 1:42 pm ET

Since farmers can receive carbon credits for raising no-till corn, will that actually make corn based ethanol the best source of fuel?

Won't the EPA's ethanol usage mandate supercede anything the state of California does?


wilson09   April 24th, 2009 1:49 pm ET

Biofuels are being often presented as a silver bullet. They are not. They can give a minor positive contribution to tackling climate change… but only if we get the policy right. The current EU policy is largely misguided. First generation Biofuels require a huge amount of land. Pressure on the environment is unavoidable. Biofuels are not carbon neutral. Their GHG performance is hugely variable. (http://is.gd/ukIC)


LQDMTL   April 24th, 2009 1:52 pm ET

First, these agencies need to do proper research before blindly passing such rulings. Ethanol fuel is carbon neutral. The carbon released into the atmosphere is consumed by the next crop grown to replenish it.

Second, any poor decisions made by other countries in their pursuit of Ethanol should be looked down upon, sure, but taking that so far as to condemn the US-based variant of that industry, which isn't making those poor decisions, is just plain ignorant. Last time I checked we didn't have ethanol producers scarfing up forested land to clear it and plant new crop.

Third, I sincerely wish certain agencies and industry leaders would stop single-mindedly focusing on corn as their source for Ethanol. There are much more reliable plants that, even when combined with agricultural waste, provide more fuel per mass. (Switchgrass, for example).

Fourth, I would rather see the effort they put towards these rulings instead go towards converting no-grow farm subsidies (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/01/AR2006070100962_pf.html) into Switchgrass subsidies.

It's time we stop letting foreign oil rule our economy. Switchgrass based cellulosic Ethanol would be the quickest way to make that happen... The first oil company (Exxon?, Shell?) that steps up and makes that a reality will make a killing for decades to come. Shell at least seems to be trying, although their efforts with Iogen aren't moving fast enough for my tastes.

"continue California’s leadership in the fight against global warming." << that is probably the most laughable quote I've seen in the news in years.


Dan   April 24th, 2009 2:15 pm ET

This unfairly penalizes biofuels and gives the petroleum industry a free pass. It claims a cradle-to-grave analysis on carbon intensity along with its indirect land use cause.

The deforestation rate in South America has reduced every year for the past 5 years while biofuel production has increased 5 fold. How do you tie biofuel production to deforestation in Brazil?

What are the indirect impacts that CARB is ignoring for the production of gasoline.......drilling in the desert or ocean, tranporting to refineries, transporting across oceans, re-refining, transported to stations....what about the military machinery and dollars spent to protect our oil interests (are not those indirect consequences on gasoline).

Perhaps if CA had a few more corn fields and few less refineries to protect, they would have a differnt perspective.


Tom   April 24th, 2009 2:18 pm ET

It fits. Was it not a liberal california judge who referenced a european consitutional document as a "legal" basis for precedence in one of her rulings?
If we want to STAY American, we had best get rid of these people.


David   April 24th, 2009 2:23 pm ET

Bio-fuels not only create more CO2 than they reduce, but their is a significant cost due to water used, chemicals used on the crops and the opportunity cost of using the l;and for something more productive to the economy and less impactful to the land.

Besides, who is going to pay for the infratructure changes from manufacturing to retail delivery points.

Also, developing countries will pillage their forests and other organic matter at the long term expense of their country since agriculture, tourism and illegal trading are the only economic choices they have.

When will the special interests grow a conscience??!!??


J Michels   April 24th, 2009 2:23 pm ET

It's nice to see that actual science and statistics are being used to expose corn-based ethanol for the environmental disaster that it is. Could this mean that the press will finally stop telling us E85 is 'green' while it destroys the planet we're trying to save? Furthermore, if we are finally taking into consideration facts and scientific findings pertaining to green energy and sustainable development then does that mean CNN is going to tell the truth about HEMP? (For instance, that it is easily worth Trillions and would replace timber, plastics, E85, and lots of other unsustainable practices with an environmentally-friendly and profitable crop for American–and Mexican–farmers...)
Maybe some pie charts displaying the financial expense and carbon footprint of our (failed) War on Drugs would help our legislators understand the scope of these problems. Who knows, it might even given them enough courage to stand up with their constituents instead of catering to oil, timber and pharmaceutical lobbyists!


JC   April 24th, 2009 2:46 pm ET

Dozens of unbiased, independent scientific studies have concluded that ethanol as an alternative fuel is a BAD IDEA. It takes farmland out of food production, adds to global warming, and worst of all, burns it's own energy content in transporting it. It cannot be piped (at least not in the existing system) so must be TRUCKED, wasting more energy than it's value. The US has finally let our energy problem become a crisis. Please, let's solve this thing right, so we don't end up right back here with another crisis in a few years time. ETHANOL IS NOT THE ANSWER!!!


Bobby Frederick   April 24th, 2009 2:52 pm ET

We have to consider this as another example of how out of touch they are with the real world. The rest of the taxpayers had to bail them out from the blunders they have made.


Michael Gratzel   April 24th, 2009 3:01 pm ET

The biofuel lobby has passed a hoax on us for far too long. Corn-ethanol is one of the most inane sources of energy possible – when you burn ethanol, surprise, you produce CO2. So we're still producing greenhouse gases but at the same time all of our food goods rise in price because corn is diverted from food, and livestock feed.
Other biofuels might be more competitive because the growing plants (like switchgrass) might consume more CO2 than they produce, but all in all biofuels are an idiotic "clean fuel" with about as much rigorous science behind them as "clean coal."
Might I recommend solar and wind?


Bill Henderson   April 24th, 2009 3:42 pm ET

Makaing policy not based on science is of course supertitious and dangerous. There is no proven link between deforesstation in tropical forests and development of biofuels. the studies that have been done have been debunked as being based on flawed assumptions and relationships not supported by empirical data.

Deforestation is driven by the demand for the lumber which is met by illegal logging. the other biggest factor is local people cutting trees for firewood and to make charcoal for sale. Only after illegal lumber operations and locals cutting trees for firewood do farmers come in anad mostly engage in subsitance farming. In Indonesia where there are trees being planted to provice palm oil this is not what caused the deforestation. This happened after illegal logging operations clearcut to make a fast buck.

There is absolulely no scientific support for the superstitious belief that making biofuels causes land use changes. Actaully in many pars of the world exploration for new sources of oil is destroying forest perhaps faster than illegal logging operations.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/13/conservation.forests -

"Vast swathes of the western Amazon are to be opened up for oil and gas exploration, putting some of the planet's most pristine and biodiverse forests at risk, conservationists have warned.

A survey of land earmarked for exploration by energy companies revealed a steep rise in recent years, to around 180 zones, which together cover an area of 688,000 sq km, almost equivalent to the size of Texas."

Increased biofuels production would help protect tropical forests and that's what the oil industry is worried about. Oil industry lobbying will assure that we will not do enough about Global Warming until it is too late.

the latest research on Corn Based Ethanol (university of Nebraska peer reviewed study: http://ianrnews.unl.edu/static/0901220.shtml) shows that ethanol now reduces GHGs 51% more than gasoline on a life cycle basis.


Randall   April 24th, 2009 4:25 pm ET

This is another stupid ruling that has no basis in common sense. The farms where the corn is grown for biodiesel on have been cleared for generations! The only fuel for cars without carbon is hydrogen. That fuel is multiple decades away.


Gregory Koulisis   April 24th, 2009 4:50 pm ET

I personally think it's important to get away from Biofuels; look at the way food prices sky-rocketed and the massive plots of land and rainforest that have been and are continuing to be, cleared away. I believe renewable energy is the way to go, 100%.

We have the brain power and we can certainly develop the technology to harvest solar and wind energy in a much more efficient way. America, World, we are putting money in the wrong places.

Using food for fuel when the planet can't even feed itself is absolutely backwards, we dont need oil or gas. The energy is here, its available to use – its time to put our money down and get the process rolling in a much faster more efficient manner.

Let go!


stopethanol   April 24th, 2009 4:51 pm ET

It is very satisfying to see the ethanol industry flacks squirm and whine about "biased regulations" when they have gone around the entire country forcing their product on everyone by subterfuge and taking huge government handouts from the taxpayers, all the while damaging property and ruining businesses. I have never seen them once concede that their product should only be used in computerized fuel injected engines and recognize that their product can damage the engines in watercraft, aircraft, antique and classic cars and motorcycles and small engines used in portable generators, pumps and tools used in public safety. When the massive gift in the form of EISA 2007 didn't do what it was supposed to, provide a corporate windfall to E85 production and flex-fuel vehicles, they are now demanding the EPA raise the blending limit on non-flex fuel cars to at least 15%, causing further property damage and economic impact to small business.


Pete   April 24th, 2009 4:53 pm ET

Well,
California is broke anyway. why not make them pay more for everything. Soon the only ones that will be there will be illegal immergrants and the celeberaties that want them


Zach   April 24th, 2009 4:58 pm ET

I never knew a state full of hippies could come up with such reasonable legislation. It's about time corn-ethanol and its lobbyists got shutdown. This legislation doesn't demonize biofuels, rather it puts all fuel sources on an objectively quantifiable scale of negative impact to the environment. There are many more biofuel sources other than corn-ethanol that are still being developed (biodiesel anyone?) and could prove to actually be eco friendly. Did you know that the amount of corn it takes to fill up 1 tank of gas with ethanol could feed a family of 4 for a year, or that corn has one of the most inefficient absorption rates of nitrogen fertilizer – leading to groundwater contamination and massive algae bloom deadzones. And where does nitrogen fertilizer come from, why fossil fuels of course! Goodbye corn-ethanol, no thank you.


CB_Brooklyn   April 24th, 2009 5:02 pm ET

There's no reason to use ethanol because free energy exists.

Reported on CBS 60 Minutes, free energy cold fusion is a reality that even the Pentagon acknowledges, but has been suppressed for decades. See CBS site for article and 60 Minutes video clip:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/04/17/60minutes/main4952167.shtml

Why was it suppressed? See here:

The 9/11 Truth Movement, Free Energy Suppression and the Global Elite’s Agenda
http://www.checktheevidence.co.uk/cms/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=182&Itemid=60


Ed Wood   April 24th, 2009 5:22 pm ET

Bio Fuels especially corn based ethanol is just a bad idea.

Just as bad as regulating and taxing a gas you exhale when you breathe.


Willie Aclin   April 24th, 2009 5:37 pm ET

This is the same kind of thinking and control that keeps us from drilling for oil and gas in the US.


Jason Larsen   April 24th, 2009 6:19 pm ET

While I don't think it is fair for any one biofuel sector to be judged on the implications of other sectors in the industry, it's a fact that corn-based ethanol is not good for the environment. It may close the carbon cycle and thereby reduce the overall atmospheric carbon increase, but using corn for ethanol requires high levels of petroleum based fuel just to produce, and corn is a low energy crop that produces relatively little ethanol per acre, not to mention the harm to the U.S.'s arable lands done by the incentive for farmers to revert from soil conserving crop rotation cycles to growing corn year after year. Corn based ethanol is simply a bad idea, and the only reason it is persued is the hype and pressure from the corn lobbyists. We simply shouldn't support ethanol from corn.

This also raises an interesting question about just what our responsibility is for importing ethanol from environmentally ethical sources, and factors that aren't always looked at when assessing ethanol production from sugar cane, though vastly better than corn based ethanol, namely how much deforestation does sugar cane based ethanol enable?


CaliforniaNeedsSome Commonsense   April 24th, 2009 6:24 pm ET

Wow, California has lost its collective mind. Somebody needs to reign in the Air Board there. Arnold?!?


JAMES DUCKWORTH SLC UTAH   April 24th, 2009 6:27 pm ET

DON'T YOU JUST LOVE IT CALAFORNICATORS MAKING OUR LAWS FOR US
IT IS GOING TO END UP JUST LIKE
ROAD WARRIOR FLICKS


Allen N Wollscheidt   April 24th, 2009 6:39 pm ET

Agricultural products are in the FIRST approximation, carbon neutral, since the carbon they contain ITSELF came FROM the atmosphere.

Looking more closely, however, the fuels used in raising these products, unless themselves biofuels, must be counted against them So must be the petroleum used to produce the necessay fertilizers and pestcides, as well as that required to pump irrigation water.

Finally, if a field crop for biofuel production annually extracts LESS CO2 from the atmosphere than the previous rainforest located on the same land did, then THAT ALSO must be counted against them.

When everything is accounted for, it is clear enough and the number crunchers can come up with the truth - OPINIONS do NOT count ! ! !
.


MJ in Tombstone   April 24th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

Geo Bush sold ethanol short of being truthful. Regardless of what he told us, he did NOT tell us about how much Amazon it would cost, nor about milk going up to nearly $5/gal. Ethanol created more problems that it could possibly solve, so good riddance.

While we're at it – anyone wondering what "cap and trade" is going to do to your electricity bill? City utilities that use electricity, e.g. street lights?

Here we go again.


Bill Mosby   April 24th, 2009 6:51 pm ET

Biofuels are pretty much non-starters unless algae-based fuel production can be developed to its promised potential. Cellulosic, corn, even sugar cane can't do the job without starving us out. Sugar cane might, actually, but you can't grow it in much of the U.S. or in all that many other places, without destroying other needed ecosystems.


Mike Boatner   April 24th, 2009 6:56 pm ET

How much per gallon is this low carbon refined fuel going to cost – they are paying the price for special refined gas at the present time. So to the average person – the cost of everything just went up again thanks to a politician. How can you raise the price of doing business and crow that you are creating jobs?


Loz   April 24th, 2009 7:07 pm ET

Interesting article. What fascinates me is that we are required to change our fuels in winter months to reduce emissions – yet my vehicle efficiency is reduced by 10%. If I am losing at a minimum 10%when operating my vehicle, just how much of a reduction is it in emissions? Glad to see that the ethanol myth is being exposed.


biodieselfan   April 24th, 2009 7:14 pm ET

It's not unreasonable to tie domestic biofuels with those produced via irresponsible means in other nations, simply because the biofuels industry hasn't done enough to a) self-regulate by setting standards for how feedstock should be produced, and b) educate the public about how feedstock affects environmental impact.

I'm a huge proponent of biodiesel (not ethanol) and an early adopter of this. But if we allow makers to support irresponsible practices, we might as well just stick with gas. Or make our own fuel. :-)


Tony   April 24th, 2009 7:21 pm ET

Finally! Its about time someone started taking a big-picture view of fuel. Yes, ethanol leads to deforestation. Yes, it only survives because of government subsidy. Yes, it requires a lot of oil to create ethanol. Ethanol created from corn was never going to be the answer to our energy needs. Better that those investment dollars go somewhere else.


Desi   April 24th, 2009 7:29 pm ET

Good riddance. Leaning on a "renewable" resource that is already in high demand as a food source for developing countries is the stupidest and most selfish idea possible. If we were to go down this path it would have been a band-aid solution to the carbon emissions problem because the process still produces carbon emissions and it would have driven up the price of corn around the world for the nations that needed it most. This is an especially irresponsible idea given the fact that there are other solutions currently in development.


Raymond   April 24th, 2009 8:21 pm ET

The FEDS finally got one right. In regards to the corn-activists – I think they protest too much. With good reason they believed they were the answer to the problem and probably had already figured out how to spend their money. On the other hand, they (THE FEDS) leveled the playing field by installing a measuring stick making it easy to compare processes. One US based technology that has sold units in over seas markets – including a functioning one in Japan, one in China, three in Panama, and others in various stages of planning and construction elsewhere – diverts waste from landfills and uses it a source of fuel. If I remember correctly they are based out of connecticut.


SaneEnergy   April 24th, 2009 9:16 pm ET

Ethanol based fuel was never a valid choice. Lower energy content, higher production costs, both direct and indirect, made ethanol an insane choice. It was and is simply a smoke screen to hide the absolute lack of science or reason in this whole debate. It got some congresspeople votes from the uninformed 'Greens' and the farm belt though. It's about time some intelligent thought is brought to the whole energy issue. It has sure been lacking so far. Do the math!


remmy   April 24th, 2009 9:27 pm ET

Kudos!
A good decision out of California!

Producing fuel by using the fuel-centric methods of current farming is the most idiotic thing anyone could support. Do you know how much fuel is used in tractors and chemicals and chemical production to produce the fields of corn you see? You don't want the idiots that run the current industrial farming complex to destroy any more of your earth than they already do.

And, you should do all you can to support your local family farming operations. Buying locally saves even more fuel by eliminating the need for the long distance distribution system most food producers employ. And, local farmers produce better food by creating more fertile fields naturally.

They love Mother Earth just like you and me.


VRY   April 24th, 2009 9:51 pm ET

I would bet anything that CARB is pocketing money from Big Oil or those that support Big Oil to publish these lies about ethanol. California needs to keep their mouth shut until they can clean up their own air. Of course CARB doesn't publish hard facts to support their statement that ethanol industry in developing nations would deforest those nations for land. Developing nations will be deforested regardless of ethanol production. As those countries come out of the third world the land will be cleared to make way for high rise apartments and freeways so people of this developing nation can learn to drive gas hog SUVs so Big Oil can continue to rake in huge profits while our ozone is destroyed by their emissions.


Stephen Klaber   April 24th, 2009 10:44 pm ET

The carbon intensity rating makes little sense. For every Carbon atom in a greenhouse gas released in combustion of biofuel, one molecule of CO2 was absorbed from the atmosphere via photsynthesis, along with one of H2O. Better to worry about how much water was transpired in the process.

There are economically more sensible plants for ethanol than corn. Cattails are growing in popularity for overwhelming reasons. They are also key to the problem of third-world deforestation. Deforestation is done largely for fuel. The huge cattail infestations that are driving the desertification can be harvested for ethanol and charcoal. They are altogether too renewable.


Louis   April 24th, 2009 11:03 pm ET

There are many (not all of course) in the environmental movement that are not interested in addressing the environmental problems. They appear to be more interested in using environmental scare tactics to promote failed socialist ideals. These groups always oppose the most viable solutions.
If it's wind power, they complain about bird strikes when their pet cats kill far more birds than turbines.
If it's solar power, they won't allow the construction of transmission lines built to get the electricity to the users.
If it's biofuels, they claim it takes more energy to make the fuel than it produces. The trick there is they are including the radiant sunlight that falls on the crops in their energy equation. (They prove the old cliche, "Figures don't lie but liars figure!") Now they want to stop biofuels grown and processed in the US because of a tree that might have been cut down in a third world country. I do not see the connection between that tree and grain, switchgrass, or waste cane stalk that grew in the US. Far more forests have been cut down for cheap beef for the fast food industry. This is the same fast food industry contributing to American obesity. They should go after McDonalds, Burger King etc. if it amuses them.

This economy requires energy. We are willing to make the investment to convert to renewable sources. But we will need to use all of our options to succeed. No one source can replace all the oil we import.
We will need to convert to Wind, Solar, Hydroelectric, Biofuels, Wave, Tidal and yes Nuclear (at least for a while.)
Meanwhile, we have to work on efficiency as well, thicker outer walls on our buildings, multipane windows, geothermal heating and cooling, mass transit and high speed rail.


Renergy   April 24th, 2009 11:10 pm ET

As reported, this law might unfairly shift responsibility for carbon burdens from tropical regions undergoing deforestation to previously cultivated regions in the U.S. Converting a forested area to corn, sugarcane or palm oil for biofuels creates a large carbon debt, but shifting from corn for fodder to corn for fuel should not be accounted in the in the same way. The U.S. has large food surpluses; so, most of the land used for biofuels can come from the existing cultivated stock. It strikes me as a bit much to believe that a law in California can strongly influence the second and third order economic effects occurring in equatorial regions. Direct protection and valuation of standing forests seems a better approach to protecting these distant lands and the carbon they store.

It concerns me that the business as usual fossil lobby might be raising the specter of indirect economic effects to curtail deployment and development of technologies capable of breaking its hold on transportation energy. If this law stands, provisions that impose tariffs on imported carbon intense energy sources should be added to maintain a fair market.


Michael Sewall   April 24th, 2009 11:24 pm ET

I just wonder how much the oil company lobbys have invested in this bill,,, sure seems to benefit the major oil companies if the bill is against bio-fuels!!


DVFinn   April 24th, 2009 11:26 pm ET

Instead of whining about the regulations perhaps the 'biofuel' industry should reconsider the sham of corn and sugar cane based ethanol fuels. The real promise of biofuels will come from cellulosic waste materials with the potential of using the lignum left over from the raw materials to provide heat for the fuel's manufacture.

Corn based ethanol has never been and likely never will be a clean or practical fuel source, it's just a farm subsidy in a green wrapper.


jfc1   April 24th, 2009 11:40 pm ET

LOL I'd like to know just what carbon-based fuel meets these standards. Not to mention how long it will take for them to come down on the solar crowd for "deforestation".


Dave   April 24th, 2009 11:58 pm ET

California is the shining example of extremism run amok. How much more of a hole will they dig before they figure it out? Bankrupt in both financial and moral terms, why should the rest of the states care? We'll continue to welcome companies and jobs leaving CA here in Texas where some shred of sanity remains.


zoomru   April 24th, 2009 11:58 pm ET

Well,

When someone invents a better mouse trap.....Sorry ?

The company from Texas.... http://www.valcent.net should NOW lead the effort to get FARMERs to change to ALGAE Bio-Diesel production that were producing CORN....!!!

100 Thousand Acres per year compared to 18 gallons per year is a NO brainer !

The real problem is that the TRUTH was twisted in this article and there is more to this story than what is being reported...!?!?!

What a LAWYER FEST...!!!


delamar   April 24th, 2009 11:58 pm ET

"Biofuels" is too generic a term and it's use it outdated. Get with the times please.


Jeff   April 25th, 2009 12:00 am ET

You bet U.S. based corn is linked to global deforestation. The more of our corn that is used for fuel, the more corn in other nations that must be grown to provide food and feed. Corn based ethanol contributes to the GLOBAL total corn demand, and that contributes to deforestation. These people who don't see the link are not considering the whole equation.


pchelp   April 25th, 2009 12:00 am ET

Global warming is a lie. Here in Alaska the weather is getting colder, not warmer. I know, scientists are claiming that the Arctic ice is melting-but if that were true then the weather would be getting warmer-and it isn't.

As for the carbon footprint thing, if the land being cleared is used to produce crops for biofuel then sure, the rating system is fair. But it sounds to me like they're not making any effort to identify how much of the cleared land is being used-they're just tying the rating to the fact that the land is being cleared. Hardly intelligent.


Jouxster   April 25th, 2009 12:33 am ET

Hahahaha we ain't got no money, we ain't got no job, but the air we breathe sure is durty I can't breathe. Wait a minute.. I can breathe it. As a matter of fact it's one of the best in the world whenever the smog from Chinese pollution doesn't settle over LA.

Keep up the good work for when CA implodes it will not be due to an earthquake.


Herbys   April 25th, 2009 1:40 am ET

Biofuels are what they are. They create huge amounts of CO2 for production and they produce about the same CO2 on consumption as traditional fuels. They sequester some amount of CO2 during crop growth, but that's about the same that would be sequestered by the same amount of land used for something else. In addition, even if those crops weren't planted in places that suffered deforestation, their usage for biofuels must be offset by additional plantations somewhere else, and those invariably come from deforestations.
So there's no way to spin it: biofuels might be a politically good idea, but ecologically they are as bad as the fuels they are trying to displace, if not worse.


Peter Hansen   April 25th, 2009 1:56 am ET

About time somebody understood the less-than-pretty facts behind the ethanol scam.


Ken   April 25th, 2009 2:48 am ET

This is hilarious! The world is supposedly going to hell in a handbasket, and the people who everyone keeps touting can save everything are fighting over every little detail. And they can't even agree on the facts or on how to measure the true impact of various technologies.

To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell's heart, I stab at thee; For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

That's right folks, keep on fighting as it all goes spinning down the drain. Oh SOOOO funny. They're all idiots. ROFL!!!


Shane McGuire   April 25th, 2009 4:17 am ET

The bottom line about the whole Bio-Fuel issue is the fact that this fuel is merely a stop-gap measure until a better source can be developed.

The biggest issue with Bio-Fuel, Bio-Diesel, Flex-Fuel and the others is this. they do not save you fuel economy in your vehicles, (Regardless of what you may have been told), this is because they do not have the BTU Energy Release necessary to properly make the power needed by your engines. Using these types of fuels require more of the "Fuel" to make the same amount of power.

To put this in perspective, you are loosing about 1/3 of your power, and 1/3 of your efficency in the engine. So how is this made up?

By placing your foot farther in the throttle. So what did you really save, nothing is the answer.

There is a cost for everything, and the fuel change is no different.

Some of you may scoff at my statements, but I have been a Mechanic for 20 years, and all of the conversions I have seen in that time turning wrenches have been nothing more than problematic, and in most of these cases the folks who have made the switch; have changed back in a few short years. Why? Its called product support. There is none, and most of the vehicle manufacturers void the warranties on their vehicles when these modifications are made.

The bottom line is that we need to develop our nuclear power facilities, so we can generate Hydrogen Gas Fuel, (CHG). There is no reason that Compressed Hydrogen Gas cannot be used as a fuel source. Its re-newable and completely clean.

California, has made a decision for the better in my opinion. We now boast the largest population of any of the states in this union. We cannot afford to continue to use excuses for seeking out better fuel sources.

The only issue that I do have with their ruling is how they have tied it to the Global Warming issue. I am not so sure that their research is indeed 100% accurate. It sound to me like there are a few folks in our legislature that have been paid off for a negative vote on this subject.

Having said this, this still reinforces my belief in the need for Nuclear Power. In particular since we voted for a High Speed Passenger System. We are going to have to get the power from somewhere in order to power that idea.

In any event, our corn growers are not clearing land to grow their corn, plus the fuel does not only come from corn either. It also comes from Sugar Cane, and Sugar Beets, via the processing of Sugar. So corn is not the only factor at play either.

In closing, it is indeed our responsibility to research alternate fuel sources. But the true answer to this, is developing Nuclear Power Stations, to get the job done properly.


jim   April 25th, 2009 5:20 am ET

american ethanol is worse than latin american ethanol. it costs at least as much in gasoline to make as it replaces at the pump (some studies say more). ethanol is just a subsidy for agrobusiness in the big socialist experiment that is going on in american farming.


Ed Zachary   April 25th, 2009 6:30 am ET

It seems to me that California has pretty much mandated the use of more locally obtained petroleum fuels, which means more drilling off the California coast. The quickest ways to reduce the carbon impact of fuels is to minimize the amount of CO2 generated by transporting the fuel long distances, and minimize the amount of CO2 generated in production or as a side effect of production. Local oil wells in California or along the coast minimize both transportation and production related CO2 generation. Since offshore drilling is anathema to most California environmentalists, they have sort of shot themselves in the foot with these new regulations.


Concerned   April 25th, 2009 6:56 am ET

The goal should be to conserve energy, to get maximum benefit per unit of energy consumed. Many bio-fuel supporters are greedy. For example, farmers love growing a crop that has a high-profit margin, which tracks the demand for fuel. They tout the benefits of using bio-fuels but supress the fact that the CO2 emmissions associated with farming the product eradicate the CO2 savings of the bio-fuel.


Fred TAubert   April 25th, 2009 7:10 am ET

California is Closed!!

It doesn't make any difference what we do in California, as the Chinese and India populations are demanding more energy and they will get it.

This all demonstrates that the California voters have to vote out the Legislaors and very soon!!


microbemanager   April 27th, 2009 5:20 am ET

Good decision. Who can believe the best use of land is to grow bushels of corn to feed to cars? In a world of six billion people, using land to feed cars dramatically reduces the carrying capacity of the planet.
.


Wally Brooks   April 27th, 2009 7:18 am ET

I would expect the Bio Fuels industry to object as Biofuels carries a large Federal subsidy. The California Air Resources board has exposed the dirty secret of the Bio Fuels industry, the true cost of growing bio fuels and an industry with a heavily federal subsidy masquerading as a green movement!


Inachu   April 27th, 2009 8:18 am ET

More corn crops = Less food crops and higher food prices.


Leave Your Comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
twitter
Powered by WordPress.com VIP