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

Latest News
Industry NewsHELM AGRO Adds New Marketing & Business Development…
May 4, 2016
HELM AGRO US, Inc. has announced the hiring of Troy Bettner as the company’s new Marketing & Business Development Leader. Bettner Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncont…
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Spray Drift
HerbicidesRoundup Ready Xtend: Silver Linings In Label Delays For…
May 4, 2016
Since 2014, Monsanto has trained more than 20,000 growers and retailers on all aspects of its new dicamba-tolerant system at Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Board Appoints New CEO
May 4, 2016
Syngenta announced today the appointment of J. Erik Fyrwald, currently President and CEO of the U.S. chemistry distribution company Univar Read More
Crop InputsIntrexon Establishes Crop Protection Enterprise
May 4, 2016
Intrexon Corp., a leader in synthetic biology, has announced the formation of Intrexon Crop Protection (ICP), a wholly-owned subsidiary dedicated to Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesSurvey Provides Insights On Giant Ragweed In The Corn B…
May 2, 2016
A new survey published in the journal Weed Science offers insights into the distribution and management of giant ragweed, a Read More
Truck dumping dry fertilizer
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics Q&A: Southern States’ Joe Wlod…
May 2, 2016
Joe Wlodkoski, Director of Agronomy Procurement, Fertilizer, Southern States Cooperative, is a 40-plus year fertilizer industry veteran. He is quite Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
West Central Dome structure
FertilizerFertilizer Logistics 2016: All Clear, So Far
May 1, 2016
After a relatively hairy early start to the spring fertilizer movement season with flooding in Louisiana and St. Louis, things Read More
BAICOR
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Utah Specialty Fertilizer Company
April 28, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty ag products, has acquired a majority interest in BAICOR, L.C. BAICOR, Read More
Soybean field
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Adds Vice President Of Business…
April 28, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences has announced the addition of Marc Treurniet to the plant health and nutrition company’s management team. Treurniet Read More
ManagementBiotech Crops Developments and Millennials
April 28, 2016
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Paul Schrimpf talk about the latest activities in biotech crops and a major shift in the Read More
Industry NewsNachurs-Alpine, Pathway Biologic Extend Marketing Agree…
April 28, 2016
Nachurs-Alpine Solutions (Marion, OH) and Pathway Biologic (Plant City, FL) announce an extension to their exclusive marketing agreement specific to Read More
MicronutrientsCharah Add Three Warehouses For SUL4R-PLUS Fertilizer
April 28, 2016
Charah, Inc., a total solutions company providing unparalleled service and innovation for the coal-fired power generation industry, announced today that Read More
Spenser Forgey, Yahama Fortix
FungicidesIndiana Farmer Wins Arysta LifeScience FORTIX Fungicide…
April 28, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently presented Spenser Forgey, a grower from Young America, IN, with a new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly Read More
Corn Field
HerbicidesNew Wilbur‐Ellis Herbicide Targets Volunteer Corn
April 28, 2016
Wilbur‐Ellis Co., a recognized leader in marketing and distribution of crop protection products, as well as precision agriculture technology, has Read More
StewardshipNRCS To Help Farmers Measure Conservation Impacts On Wa…
April 27, 2016
The USDA has announced the availability of $2 million to help farmers install edge-of-field stations that monitor water quality as Read More