EPIC Response To ‘Scam’ Report

The Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC) is responding to the Time Magazine article, "The Clean Energy Scam."

The following is a letter to the editor of Time Magazine by Toni Nuernberg, executive director of the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council (EPIC), in response to the March 27, 2008 article "The Clean Energy Scam."

In Michael Grunwald’s March 27 article, "The Clean Energy Scam," corn-based ethanol is the scapegoat of the week. Though Grunwald draws attention to the vitally important need for evaluation of global land-use changes, the environmental finger pointing at corn-based ethanol by his sources has come to the point of ridiculous.

The fuel behind this latest fiery round of environmental blame game is two studies posted mid-February in Science Express. The papers, authored by Timothy Searchinger and Joseph Fargione, reach conclusions regarding the greenhouse gas emissions associated with potential global land-use changes caused by increasing biofuels demand — specifically for corn-based ethanol. Their conclusions are considered debatable by others in the scientific community.

Unfortunately, the topic of global climate change and the impact of possible sources of carbon emissions are complicated and multi-factorial issues which require continued and thorough research. Information from the United States EPA found at http://epa.gov/climatechange/index.html illustrates the complexity of the issue.

The existence of life on Earth, and certainly human life, has been impacting Earth’s environment for million’s of years. On the EPA site, you will read, consumption of fossil fuels is the greatest contributor of carbon emissions. In fact, the amount of carbon dioxide dumped into the atmosphere annually by burning fossil fuels is projected to rise worldwide from about 24 billion metric tons in 2002 to 33 billion metric tons in 2015.

Grunwald fails to report this. He also fails to consult experts in the field of biofuels lifecycle analysis, such as Dr. Bruce Dale of Michigan State and Dr. Michael Wang of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory. Both experts agree that the studies by Searchinger and Fargione raise important issues. However, they question many of the assumptions made by Searchinger and Fargione, and term them "highly speculative and uncertain scenarios for what might happen as a result of increased demand for corn grain."

Most notably, they point out the assumptions by Searchinger double the level of corn ethanol that is actually required under the new Renewable Fuels Standards by 2015, an assumption that’s not realistic to U.S. corn ethanol production in the next seven years. Congress established a production cap of 15 billion gallons of corn ethanol by 2015 to help guard against dramatic land use changes. But Searchinger bases his projections on a model in which U.S. corn ethanol production increased from 15 billion gallons a year to 30 billion gallons a year by 2015. Thus, the findings are irrelevant.

Ultimately, environmentally sustainable solutions to our dependence on fossil-based fuels must be found and research must be conducted to identify possible unintentional consequences of these solutions.

We believe corn-based ethanol, while not a biofuels silver bullet, is a viable foundation upon which the next generation of "advanced biofuels" can be built.

The ethanol industry is fueling research into technologies that will improve production of cellulosic ethanol from feedstocks such as switchgrass, crop waste and other renewable biomass. These offer additional environmental benefits because they not only absorb CO2 as the feedstuffs are grown (corn and switchgrass are high users of CO2), the fuel produced is cleaner burning than fossil-based fuels.

In addition, today’s grain-based ethanol industry is providing the auto industry with incentive to manufacture flex-fuel and alternative-fuel vehicles and creating an infrastructure to distribute ethanol produced from any feedstock.

Unlike other alternatives that are years from reaching availability, state-of-the-art technology, ethanol-enriched fuel is available now, and can be used in our current infrastructure.

Perhaps the biofuels detractors should put a halt to the creation of studies to support the "agenda du jour" and more effort put into finding solutions.

Visit http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html to read the Time magazine article
 

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories

Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Names Idaho Custom Applicator As 2014 Operator of the Year
December 4, 2014
Praised for his quality work and strong customer relationships, Idaho professional farm applicator Brent Klein has been named by AGCO Application Equipment as 2014 Operator of the Year. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More

Top 100 Articles

CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT, Verdesian Ink Distribution Agreement
December 9, 2014
The agreement grants BRANDT the exclusive right to sell and market Verdesian’s patented Steric chemistry in the Turf and Ornamental and eastern U.S. ag markets under the BRANDT Reaction product line name. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Colors Of Custom Application
December 5, 2014
Although many color spray rigs are in the yards of the nation’s top ag retailers, the majority of them still come in only a few shades. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Invests In Meridian Agriculture Distribution
December 4, 2014
Meridian will provide retailers with supplier-branded products and numerous opportunities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: Entering A New Seed Era
December 4, 2014
The seed category has been re-vitalized during the past few years, and more good news (and varieties) are headed the industry’s way in 2015. Read More
CropLife 100CropLife 100: The Depressed State Of Fertilizer
December 3, 2014
Following downright giddy growth earlier this decade, fertilizer sales have fallen back down to earth the past two years. Read More

Latest News

FertilizerGlobal Fertilizer Market: Cloudy With A Chance Of Sprin…
December 22, 2014
While spring demand in the Northern Hemisphere will prevent prices from slipping significantly, Rabobank believes that lower farmer margins will incent farmers to be more prudent in fertilizer application. Read More
Management2014: Looking Back, Looking Forward
December 22, 2014
Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss key emerging issues from the year past that retailers will be watching closely in Read More
FungicidesAlfalfa Expert: Root Rot More Widespread Than Previousl…
December 22, 2014
Once thought of as a wet-soil disease, aphanomyces root rot is more widespread than many realize. Read More
Seed/BiotechKaren Arthur Joins AgriThority As Seed Treatment Produc…
December 19, 2014
Prior to joining AgriThority, Arthur directed research and development programs, overseeing laboratory and field research, to build the Valent U.S.A. seed treatment portfolio. Read More
EquipmentJohn Deere To Sell Crop Insurance Business
December 19, 2014
Deere & Co. has reached a definitive agreement to sell its crop insurance business, subject to regulatory approval, to Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Co. of Iowa. Read More
Crop InputsNufarm Fills Regulatory VP Position
December 18, 2014
Nufarm announced today that Rob Schwehr has been promoted to the position of Vice President of Innovation & Regulatory Affairs for Nufarm Americas. Read More
Seed/BiotechReport: China Approves Viptera Corn, U.S. Officials Awa…
December 17, 2014
Chinese authorities have informed some agriculture industry officials the government has approved U.S. imports of a type of genetically modified corn developed by Syngenta. Read More
FertilizerMonty’s Plant Food Brings In New Sales Rep
December 16, 2014
Monty's Plant Food Company has hired Warren Kearns as its newest Sales Representative for the South Carolina area. Read More
EquipmentHagie Wins 2014 CropLife IRON Product Of The Year Award
December 15, 2014
The self-propelled sprayer maker has a hit on its hands with the new STS Series model. Read More
Syngenta
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Sees China Approving Contentious GMO Corn Soon
December 15, 2014
Syngenta will make an announcement when it receives official documentation from China that Agrisure Viptera corn, known as MIR 162, has been cleared for import. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Life Sciences Names Vice President Of Communi…
December 15, 2014
Amy Bugg will oversee the execution of all promotional strategies for the corporate brand and the complete product portfolio. Read More
StewardshipFarmers, Retailers Attend 4R Certification 4U Workshop
December 15, 2014
More than 160 farmers and ag retailer attended the “4R Certification 4U” workshop December 12 to learn more about the 4Rs of nutrient stewardship, water quality research in the area and cost-sharing opportunities. Read More
Matt Hopkins10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
December 15, 2014
These new agriculture apps are certain to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2015 and beyond. Read More
ManagementARA Learnings, Retail Buying Intentions: Welcome To Cro…
December 12, 2014
This informal video program puts news and events effecting retailers into context, and features Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Herbicide-Tolerant Technology Closer To Commer…
December 12, 2014
The final EIS moves Monsanto one step closer to the introduction of Bollgard II XtendFlex cotton and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, paving the way to provide access to dicamba-tolerant soybeans and cotton. Read More
Seed/BiotechUSDA Issues Final Environmental Impact Statement On Her…
December 12, 2014
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a final environmental impact statement on varieties of cotton and soybeans that have been genetically engineered for resistance to several herbicides, including the one known as dicamba. Read More
CropLife 100CHS: Driving Momentum To Help Farmer-Owners Grow
December 11, 2014
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, grains and foods company, must capture new opportunities to Read More
LegislationARA Applauds CFATS Passage Prior To Holiday Adjournment
December 11, 2014
The streamlined bill provides a four-year authorization of the CFATS program and guidance to DHS on key issues of chemical facility security Read More