UnGreen: Ethanol Increases Greenhouse Gases

The Union of Concerned Scientists says that the EPA is misrepresenting facts when it comes to the case for labeling corn-based ethanol as a “renewable resource”:

According to Jeremy Martin, a senior analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Clean Vehicles Program, EPA’s decision to focus on anticipated biofuel emissions as of 2022 “distorts the picture of today’s biofuels.”  By 2022, the theory goes, corn crop yields will have increased and biorefining technology will be more efficient and green than it is today.  But for now, according to Joe Fargione, a scientist with the Nature Conservancy, “in the near term, natural-gas-powered, dry-milled corn ethanol production results in an increase of greenhouse gas emissions of 12 to 33 percent compared to gasoline.”  Worse yet, EPA’s analysis recognizes this.  However, ethanol has been redesignated, despite such indicators that it does not meet the renewable fuels criteria.

Critics point out that support for ethanol is more politically motivated than arising out of any concern for the environment:

EPA, meanwhile, has been under sustained pressure from pro-ethanol groups such as Growth Energy to approve an increase in the fuel blend ceiling from 10 percent ethanol to 15 percent ethanol—a move that observers say would constitute a massive giveaway to the ethanol industry that could prove helpful in shoring up support for the President and endangered Democrats in ethanol-producing “swing” areas, such as some Midwestern districts and states.

Focusing on turning corn into fuel has driven up the price of everything from milk to tequila. Yet once again, politicians use junk science to protect their jobs.

And Congress wonders why people don’t trust them.

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Posted April 23rd, 2010 Filed in Energy, Global Warming, Scandals