The Renewable Fuels Association late Friday submitted comments to the International Trade Administration responding to questions posed about the U.S. Clean Technologies Export Competitiveness Strategy. These comments were issued in addition to joint comments submitted earlier by RFA, the U.S. Grains Council and others.
“U.S. ethanol can play a critical role towards global decarbonization goals,” wrote RFA Vice President for Regulatory Affairs Kelly Davis. “Many countries are now developing or revising their renewable energy policies and typically require renewable fuel substitutes for gasoline to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. While the ethanol industry has experienced significant volume expansion, it has also reduced the carbon intensity dramatically utilizing technology adoption and improved efficiencies.”
In the RFA comments, the association noted the importance of sound science and a level playing field when it comes to lifecycle assessments. As additional countries consider their own clean standards, it is important to have a standardized methodology for determining CI scores that uses the best available data. One example cited by Davis when it comes to basing policy on bad information, for example, is in the area of sustainable aviation fuel—where the International Civil Aviation Organization is relying on significantly outdated data to give corn ethanol converted to jet fuel a higher-than-justified carbon intensity score.
Davis also stressed the need for greater interagency collaboration between the International Trade Administration and the Foreign Agricultural Service and recommended a working group on bioenergy trade issues. She noted that RFA in the past has successfully worked with the Department of Commerce to offer the International Buyers Program in conjunction with the National Ethanol Conference. This program sunsetted at the end of 2019.