Today, Democrats on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis unveiled a comprehensive action plan to promote a clean energy economy and combat climate change. The report, which lays out a series of policy recommendations for Congress aimed at significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the decades ahead, highlights renewable fuels like ethanol as one key piece of the strategy. Among the report’s many recommendations are development of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), broad deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and incentivizing increased agricultural carbon sequestration.
“RFA continues to analyze the report, but at first blush we are highly encouraged by the Select Committee’s acknowledgement that renewable fuels like ethanol can play an important role in reducing the carbon impacts of our nation’s transportation sector in the future,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “RFA agrees with the Committee that widespread use of liquid fuels and internal combustion engines will continue for decades to come, and we welcome the recommendation to create a nationwide technology- and feedstock-neutral Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The Committee correctly points out that the LCFS policy model already has a proven track record and that renewable fuels have played a crucial role in achieving the objectives of the California LCFS. We also concur with the Committee’s position that high-octane, low-carbon fuels could deliver substantial carbon benefits at a low cost in the years ahead.”
“Finally, we are very pleased to see the Committee recognize the efforts of a broad coalition of stakeholders—including RFA—who recently developed a framework and set of guiding principles for a Midwest LCFS program. RFA served on the steering committee for the Midwest LCFS coalition, and we prioritized the inclusion of approaches that would reward farmers for reducing the carbon intensity of agricultural practices; we were happy to see the Committee recommend including incentives for lower-carbon farming practices in a national LCFS program.”
While the report offers only broad recommendations, Cooper underscored that the yet-to-be-developed details surrounding potential implementation of the recommendations will be crucially important. “The big picture presented in the report is promising, but the devil is always in the details—and those details won’t be hammered out until the committees of jurisdiction begin crafting legislation based on these recommendations,” he said. Cooper cited lifecycle assessment methods, the carbon intensity reduction curve, land use measures, and the interaction of a national LCFS with state programs and the Renewable Fuel Standard as examples of “details that matter.”
Overall, however, RFA views the report as a crucial step forward in the discussion surrounding decarbonization of the nation’s transportation sector. “RFA looks forward to continuing its engagement and interaction with the Select Committee and other committees as the next steps are taken toward addressing carbon emissions and climate change,” Cooper said.