A better ethanol policy would include requirements and incentives linked to new or emerging technologies that don’t create new competition for other already viable (e.g., corn) crops with established markets or lead to cleared tropical forests or savannas. Policies should instead promote only ethanol derived from growing high-diversity prairie hay grown on degraded lands, for instance, or from corn cobs.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
On Tuesday, Josh Fershee posted a critique of the US renewable fuel standard (RFS), which mandated expanded use of biofuels, including ethanol. Agricultural Law post He criticized the RFS on the grounds that cellulosic fuels are more green, and the RFS acan be met with ethanol from corn and other non-cellulosic sources. In addition, Fershee noted that the studies indicating that fuel crops were greener than gasoline did not consider whether the fuel crops would replace rangelands or forest lands already sequestering carbon. He opines:
I agree, but I would go further. The policy should restrict ethanol to cellulosic fuels that are not produced on lands converted from food crops.