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

Eric SfiligojMAGIE 2014: A ShowStopping Event
August 8, 2014
The kick-off to the summer show season, Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE), takes place next week in Bloomington, IL. Read More
EmployeesAsmark Institute Dedicates New Training Center To Ford West
August 6, 2014
The Asmark Institute plans to recognize the retired industry leader's years of service to the fertilizer industry at the new state-of-the-art facility in Owensboro, KY. Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Joins Panel Of Innovators To Advance Research On Climate Change And Farming
July 30, 2014
Monsanto Co. and The Climate Corp., its division, recently joined a roundtable of experts at the White House to share ideas and research approaches to help the world’s farmers manage and adapt to the impact of climate change on the global food supply. Read More
Eric SfiligojYuma Centennial Ag Supply Earns 2014 National Environmental Respect Award Honors
July 28, 2014
Colorado-based ag retailer receives top trophy in 24th annual DuPont Crop Protection/CropLife ceremony. Read More

Trending Articles

EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More
LegislationUSDA Implements Key Farm Bill Crop Insurance Provision
July 30, 2014
The new Supplemental Coverage Option, available through the federal crop insurance program and set to begin with the 2015 crop year, is designed to help protect producers from yield and market volatility. Read More

Latest News

ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Factory Layoffs
August 18, 2014
Deere & Co. has announced it will reduce the size of its manufacturing workforce at some agricultural equipment factories in response to current market demand for its products. Read More
HerbicidesNew DuPont Afforia Herbicide Gives Crops A Clean Start
August 18, 2014
DuPont Afforia is a preplant herbicide for soybeans and other field crops that provides excellent burndown and residual control of many challenging weeds, such as marestail and waterhemp. Read More
Equipment21 Products Showcased At MAGIE 2014
August 18, 2014
The annual Midwest AG Industries Exposition is upon us. Here is CropLife IRON's look at some of the products visitors can expect to see at this week's event. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Seeks Nominations For 2014 Operator Of The Year
August 15, 2014
Ag retailers throughout the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to nominate their best applicators. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
ManagementCropLife’s Buyers’ Guide Issue Now Availabl…
August 13, 2014
One of our most read issues of the year — the August Buyers' Guide — is ready to download on the iPad. This popular issue features equipment for "In The Field," "At The Plant" and "In The Office." Read More
WebinarsWebinars On Demand
August 13, 2014
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
HerbicidesBASF: Fall Burndown Benefits Go Beyond Weed Control
August 12, 2014
While unpredictable weather may delay application timing of spring herbicides, more growers are adding a burndown application in the fall Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide P…
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipNitrogen Efficiency Supports Environmental Stewardship
August 12, 2014
As growers prepare for another harvest, it’s important to consider how nitrogen stabilization not only supports healthy plant growth but also fosters environmental stewardship. Read More
Seed/BiotechMycogen Seeds Introduces 19 New Corn Hybrids For 2015
August 12, 2014
Many of the new hybrids feature Mycogen's SmartStax Refuge Advanced technology for maximum protection of the genetic potential and planting convenience. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Introduces Enlist Ahead App For Enlist…
August 12, 2014
Designed for use with the Enlist Weed Control System, the app is a precision agriculture tool for maximizing weed control performance, managing weed resistance and making responsible applications of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. Read More
CropLife 100CHS Announces Senior Leadership Team Changes
August 12, 2014
Current CHS strategic leadership team member Shirley Cunningham will assume a new role as executive vice president and chief operating officer, Ag Business and Enterprise Strategy. Read More