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Note: The following news items have been archived from the postings on the United States page. Please see the United States page news section for more recent postings.

Contents

2010

See the News section of the BioenergyWiki page United States.

2009

  • In Copenhagen's Dark Mood, a Ray of Light for Forests 17 December 2009 by TIME: "there has been progress on ...REDD, which would allow developed nations to pay countries to preserve their rain forests and earn carbon credits. A draft text presented to the delegations on Wednesday had most, if not all, of the major issues ironed out."
    • "REDD got another boost on Wednesday when U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. would commit $1 billion over the next three years to help protect tropical forests."
    • "Negotiators of the draft text say far more will eventually be needed, somewhere north of $20 billion, but the U.S. pledge is a good start and perhaps the first of many others."
  • EPA delays action on more ethanol in gasoline, 1 December 2009 by Reuters: "Newer American cars will likely be able to handle higher ethanol blends in their gasoline but the decision to approve an industry request to change the fuel mix will have to await final testing next year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday."
    • "The EPA was supposed to decide by December 1 on a petition from Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers to let gasoline contain up to 15 percent ethanol."
    • "While farmers who provide the corn to make ethanol also support the initiative, automakers asked the EPA during the summer not to approve higher blends until the agency had test results showing the fuel would not damage vehicles."
    • "Energy legislation passed by Congress in 2007 set binding targets for fuel blending each year, with ethanol use rising from 4 billion gallons in 2006 and 11.1 billion gallons in 2009 to 20.5 billion by 2015 and 36 billion by 2022."[1]
  • Gen. Clark, Growth Energy call for labeling fuel by country of origin, 2 September 2009 by BiofuelsDigest: "General Wesley Clark, Co-Chairman of Growth Energy, today called on the United States Congress and the White House to take action to dramatically enhance the market transparency of the nation’s fuel supply by requiring a national standard of country of origin labeling for fuel."
    • "The Label My Fuel initiative - including a labelmyfuel.com website - would create a COOL standard, according to Growth Energy similar to requirements already in place for common consumer items, including apples, beef, cars and coffee."
    • Tom Buis, Growth Energy CEO, was quoted as saying, "'Country of origin labeling for fuel will let consumers know if they are pumping a domestic-made fuel, like ethanol, or fuel from a foreign source."[3]
  • Towards Sustainable Production and Use of Resources: Assessing Biofuels, 16 October 2009 by the United Nations Environment Programme: The report is based on a detailed review of published research up to mid-2009 as well as the input of independent experts world-wide. The reports concludes that some first generation biofuels such as ethanol from sugar cane can have positive impacts in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, while the production and use of biodiesel from palm oil on deforested peatlands in the tropics can lead to significant increases in greenhouse gas emissions-up to 2,000 percent or more when compared with fossil fuels."
  • Can Dirt Really Save Us From Global Warming?, 3 September 2009 by NPR: "This month the Senate is set to take up the climate and energy bill that Congress began work on last spring. One provision will likely set up a system to pay farmers for something called 'no-till farming.'"
    • "The concept: When crops are planted without tilling, the soil holds more carbon, which means less goes up into the atmosphere."
    • "But scientists aren't sure no-till really sequesters carbon any better than conventional farming....Researchers have discovered that when you dig down three feet or so, plowed fields hold just as much — if not more — carbon than no-till."
    • "There's a possible conflict brewing here, though. Federal law and the energy bill encourage farmers to remove crop residue — the remains of the previous season's crop — to make ethanol."
    • "'That's a no-no,'" soil scientist Rattan Lal says. "'The moment you take the crop residue away the benefit of no-till farming on erosion control, water conservation and on carbon sequestration will not be realized.'"(Audio also available)
  • Climate bill a farm income boost, USDA estimates, 22 July 2009 by Reuters: "U.S. farmers and foresters could earn more money from carbon contracts than they pay in higher costs from legislation to control greenhouse gases, the Agriculture Department estimated on Wednesday."
    • "USDA's "preliminary analysis" was one of the first attempts at a broad-spectrum examination of the House-passed climate bill. Most of its 13 pages were devoted to grains, cotton and soybeans. Limited space went to livestock and none to fruits and vegetables."
    • "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the House climate bill would increase farm expenses by $700 million, or 0.3 percent, from 2012-18. That would be offset by revenue from a carbon offset market, estimated by USDA at $1 billion a year in the near term and $15 billion in 2040. EPA administrator Lisa Jackson said offsets would be worth nearly $3 billion a year in 2020 for farms, ranches and forests."
    • "Beyond that, said Vilsack, is income from biofuels, worth a net return of at least $600 million a year."
    • "The EPA estimates U.S. cropland accounts for 6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions but growing vegetation removes 1 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."[5]
  • Bioelectricity Beats Biofuel, 16 June 2009 by LiveScience: "Biofuels such as ethanol were once thought of as planet-savers....[but] a new study calculates that bioelectricity used for battery-powered vehicles would deliver an average of 80 percent more miles of transportation per acre of crops."
    • "...a small SUV powered by bioelectricity could travel nearly 14,000 highway miles on the net energy produced from an acre of switchgrass, while a comparable internal combustion vehicle could only travel about 9,000 miles on the highway."
    • "'The internal combustion engine just isn't very efficient, especially when compared to electric vehicles...Even the best ethanol-producing technologies with hybrid vehicles aren't enough to overcome this.'" [7]
  • For climate change bill, hard part starts now, 31 May 2009 by San Francisco Chronicle: "To get the climate change initiative to the House floor - and ultimately passed by the chamber - Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, must first run it through a gantlet of eight congressional committees headed by fellow Democrats who claim a piece of the action."
    • " [The] 46-member Agriculture Committee...is poised to make major alterations of the climate change plan, including overhauling the way the Environmental Protection Agency calculates the greenhouse gas emissions from alternative fuels made from corn and other plant materials...to make sure that when corn and other crops are made into biofuels, they qualify as low-carbon fuels under federal mandates."
    • "...corn-based ethanol advocates are worried about an EPA proposal to include 'indirect land use' changes - such as the clearing of forest for new farmlands - as part of any calculations on the carbon footprint of biofuels."
    • "Republicans...have largely united against the legislation, which they say would impose a hefty 'energy tax' on every U.S. business and consumer."
  • Obama seeks growth in biofuels beyond ethanol, 27 May 2009 by Reuters: U.S. President Barack Obama "wants to see new types of biofuels commercialized as quickly as possible, but the corn-based ethanol industry needs to remain viable in the meantime."
    • "The U.S. government wants to boost production of renewable fuels made from non-food crops like switchgrass and plant waste left over from harvesting grain."
    • "Regulators and lawmakers are debating how to measure the impact of land-use change on the environment -- for example, emissions released when corn production displaces other crops, giving farmers the incentive to turn forests into cropland."
    • "Obama said the next generation of biofuels will be successful only if 'long-standing artificial barriers to market expansion' are removed."
  • Big Oil Warms to Ethanol, 27 May 2009 by the New York Times: "For decades, the big oil companies and the farm lobby have been fighting about ethanol, with the farmers pushing to produce more of it and the refiners arguing it was a boondoggle that would do little to solve the country's energy problems."
    • "The erstwhile enemies, it turns out, are gradually learning to get along, as refiners increasingly see a need to get involved in ethanol production. Ethanol, made chiefly from corn, now represents about 9 percent of the country's market for liquid fuels. And the percentage is growing year after year because of federal mandates."
    • "The interest expressed by big oil companies is coming in the nick of time for small companies that desperately need capital and cannot find it these days in the private markets."
    • "BP also speaks with optimism about a partnership with DuPont to test production of biobutanol, an advanced liquid alcohol fuel that is made from the same feed stocks as advanced ethanols and is compatible with existing pipelines and car engines. Executives say they hope to begin making the fuel in large amounts by 2013."[8]
  • Obama’s Remarks on New Auto-Emissions Rules, 19 May 2009 by New York Times: President Barack Obama announced tough new nationwide rules for automobile emissions and mileage standards. The goal is to set one national standard that will rapidly increase fuel efficiency by an average of 5 percent each year between 2012 and 2016, building on the 2011 standard set by his Administration. The Department of Transportation and EPA will adopt the same rule, avoiding an inefficient and ineffective system of regulations that separately govern the fuel economy of autos and the carbon emissions. The state of California has also agreed to support this standard.[9]
  • (Obama) Administration addressing ethanol, climate change, 5 May 2009 by Associated Press: "President Barack Obama directed more loan guarantees and economic stimulus money for biofuels research and told the Agriculture Department to find ways to preserve biofuel industry jobs."
    • "Obama said an interagency group also would explore ways to get automakers to produce more cars that run on ethanol and to find ways to make available more ethanol fueling stations."
    • "The reassurances to the ethanol industry came as the Environmental Protection Agency made public its initial analysis on what impact the massive expansion of future ethanol use could have on climate change. Rejecting industry and agricultural interests' arguments, it said its rules...will take into account increased greenhouse gas emissions as more people plant ethanol crops at the expense of forests and other vegetation and land use is influenced worldwide by the demand for biofuels."
    • "The ethanol industry and farm-state members of Congress had wanted only a comparison of direct emissions".[10]
  • Water worries cloud future for U.S. biofuel, 14 April 2009 by Reuters: "Critics argue that precious water resources are being bled dry by ethanol when water shortages are growing ever more dire. [U.S.] Federal mandates encouraging more ethanol production don't help."
    • "'Biofuels are off the charts in water consumption. We're definitely looking at something where the cure may be worse than the disease,' said Brooke Barton, a manager of corporate accountability for Ceres".
    • "Corn is a particularly thirsty plant, requiring about 20 inches of soil moisture per acre to grow a decent crop, but most corn is grown with rain, not irrigation. Manufacturing plants that convert corn's starch into fuel are a far bigger draw on water sources."
    • "Water consumption by ethanol plants largely comes from evaporation during cooling and wastewater discharge. A typical plant uses about 4.2 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy."
    • "The ethanol industry pegs that at about 3 gallons of water to 1 gallon of fuel."[12]
  • Biomass 2009, 17 March 2009 in the Des Moines Register: "If there’s any good news in the biofuels industry, it’s tough to find it. That includes a conference the Energy Department is sponsoring this week called Biomass 2009."
    • "The view is pretty grim...and the reasons are many: The drop in the price of oil, which has hammered the corn ethanol industry; the meltdown in the financial services sector, which has dried up financing for the plants; or the many barriers to increasing the ethanol market, including the paucity of E85 stations and the so-called 'blend wall,' the limit on the amount of ethanol that can be blended into gasoline for conventional cars."
    • "There also is the prospect that new biofuels plants will face greenhouse gas emission targets they can’t meet when EPA releases a long-awaited formula."
    • "And add at least one more problem to the list: Patent reform. Biofuel developers worry that the software industry will win changes in patent law that make it harder for energy companies to protect their inventions."[13]
  • Brazil wants help lifting US ethanol tariffs, 17 March 2009 by the International Herald Tribune: "Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday implored American businessmen to help convince the United States to lift the 53-cent-per-gallon import tariff it places on his country's ethanol fuel."
    • Silva, "who met with President Barack Obama on Saturday, has made little progress persuading the U.S. to reduce the tariffs, which are in place to protect American farmers who make ethanol from corn. Brazil makes ethanol from sugar, in a process that is much more efficient and costs less."[14]
  • Agriculture secretary wants more ethanol in gas, 9 March 2009 by MSNBC: United States "Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the government should move quickly to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline."
    • "Ethanol producers asked the Environmental Protection Agency last week to increase the amount of ethanol that refiners can blend with gasoline from a maximum of 10 percent to 15 percent, which could boost the demand for the renewable fuel additive by as much as 6 billion gallons a year."
    • "It is up to the EPA to lift the cap. Adora Andy, the EPA's press secretary, said in a statement Friday that the agency will review the request and 'act based on the best available science.'"[15]
  • EU slaps duties on U.S. biodiesel imports: sources, 3 March 2009 by Reuters: "A key European Union trade panel approved on Tuesday temporary anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on imports of biodiesel from the United States, sources with knowledge of the decision said."
    • "From March 13, U.S. firms exporting biodiesel into the EU will have to pay additional tariffs for an initial six months, ranging from 26 euros ($32.88) to 41 euros per 100 kg."
    • "The EU firms say exporters in the United States are involved in so-called 'splash and dash,' whereby they import cheaper biodiesel from countries such as Brazil and add less than 5 percent of U.S. mineral diesel so they can pick up the subsidy from Washington before exporting to Europe."[16]
  • A New North American Consensus in Biofuels, 18 February 2009 by MSNBC: "As America and Canada look for ways to provide economic opportunity, reduce the impacts of climate change, and develop renewable energy sources, the role of biofuels in the energy plans of both nations is becoming increasingly important. Both nations are investing in alternatives to imported oil."
    • "Paralleling efforts in the U.S. to expand the use of ethanol, the Canadian Parliament last year passed a Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requiring gasoline sold in Canada to contain an average of 5% renewable content, including ethanol, and 2% renewable content, including biodiesel, in the diesel supply.'
    • "Finally, based on a number of recent studies, it is clear that renewable fuels using both grains and cellulosic feedstocks are better for the environment than gasoline."
  • Ethanol, Just Recently a Savior, Is Struggling, 12 February 2009 by New York Times: "Barely a year after Congress enacted an energy law meant to foster a huge national enterprise capable of converting plants and agricultural wastes into automotive fuel, the goals lawmakers set for the ethanol industry are in serious jeopardy."
    • "As recently as last summer, plants that make ethanol from corn were sprouting across the Midwest. But now...the industry is burdened with excess capacity, and plants are shutting down virtually every week."
    • "In the meantime, plans are lagging for a new generation of factories that were supposed to produce ethanol from substances like wood chips and crop waste, overcoming the drawbacks of corn ethanol. That nascent branch of the industry concedes it has virtually no chance of meeting Congressional production mandates that kick in next year."
    • "Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group, estimated that of the country’s 150 ethanol companies and 180 plants, 10 or more companies have shut down 24 plants over the last three months. That has idled about 2 billion gallons out of 12.5 billion gallons of annual production capacity. Mr. Dinneen estimated that a dozen more companies were in distress."
    • "In an effort to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign oil and to lower the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming, Congress mandated a doubling of corn ethanol use, to 15 billion gallons a year by 2015. Congress also mandated, by 2022, the use of an additional 21 billion gallons of ethanol and other biofuels produced from materials collectively known as biomass."[18]
  • US Stimulus Package to Shore up Biofuels Sector, 6 February by Bridges Trade BioRes News Digest:
    • "The Obama administration is reaching out to the struggling US ethanol industry with its new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The stimulus package, which is designed to shock the US economy back into the black, includes several provisions for renewable energy and biofuels industries."
    • "In addition to the provisions in the stimulus package, the US Agriculture Department has said it will help bolster the industry by seeking out more efficient means of production. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that his department should research, develop, and promote "best practices" to improve efficiency at corn-based ethanol plants. 'We need to make sure that the biofuels industry has the necessary support to survive the recent downturn,' Vilsack said recently." [19]
Ret. General Wesley Clark, at Growth Energy press conference, 5 February 2009, in Washington, D.C.
  • Former NATO Commander Clark joins ethanol group, 5 February 2009 by The Hill: "A new ethanol group in a lobbying war with the Grocery Manufacturers Association has tapped a man with real fighting experience to help run the campaign."
    • "Former NATO Commander and Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark was introduced today as co-chairman of Growth Energy, a new organization designed to promote corn ethanol."
    • "Growth Energy is also pushing to increase a regulatory cap on the amount of ethanol that can be mixed with gasoline and for the continued tax support for the industry."[20]
  • VeraSun plans to auction all ethanol plants, 5 February 2009 by Reuters: "VeraSun Energy Corp...which is under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, will put all of its ethanol plants up for sale, Dow Jones Newswires reported on Thursday."
    • "VeraSun, the second largest ethanol producer in the United States behind privately owned Poet, filed for bankruptcy protection in October, citing high corn prices and a lack of access to financing."[21]

2008

  • Fund to fuel ethanol use out of gas, 27 December 2008, by Indianapolis (Indiana) Business Journal:
    • "A state fund supporting an 18-cent-a-gallon tax credit for gas stations selling E85 ethanol was exhausted in the first three months of the state's new fiscal year. The timing for the alternative fuel couldn't be worse. Gasoline prices have plummeted to around $1.50 a gallon from $4-plus this summer, making E85 and its inherently lower fuel economy less attractive to retailers and motorists."
    • "Early next year, gas retailers will pay state sales tax based on stratospheric summer gasoline prices. IPMC says that will drive many out of business. The tax calculation is made every six months, forcing fuel retailers to essentially front the state the money for six months until they get it back during the next calculation. But the association argues many stations won't last that long and seeks help from the Legislature or governor." [22]
  • Vilsack: Some Hard Choices on Ethanol, 18 December 2008 by Time - USA: "Iowa is the ethanol capital of the nation, and President-elect Barack Obama has been a reliable supporter of biofuels, so it's no surprise that former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, his choice for agriculture secretary, has been an even more reliable supporter of biofuels, even chairing a national coalition on ethanol".
    • "Vilsack does have predictably close ties to traditional agriculture and agribusiness, and he did run the nation's leading corn and soybean state. But he's also been a supporter of farm conservation programs, clean water regulations, and a cap-and-trade scheme to prevent global warming."
    • "Vilsack suggested that second-generation biofuels like cellulosic ethanol manufactured from switchgrass could solve the problem, particularly if it was grown on non-productive hillsides so that it wouldn't displace food crops." [23]
  • U.S. will fail to meet biofuels mandate -EIA, 17 December 2008 by Reuters: "The United States will fall well short of biofuels mandates on the uncertain development of next-generation fuels made from grasses and wood chips, the government's top energy forecasting agency said on Wednesday."
    • "The country, the world's top producer of the main biofuel ethanol, will only blend about 30 billion gallons of fuels like corn-based ethanol and the advanced fuels into gasoline by 2022. That is about 17 percent short of the U.S. mandate of 36 billion gallons by that year, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) said in the forecast."
    • "It calls for corn ethanol, but also an increasing amount cellulosic ethanol made from fast-growing grasses and trees, and biodiesel made from non-food sources. Cellulosic is not yet made commercially."
    • "For the moment U.S. ethanol capacity is too high, which is helping to make distilling ethanol barely profitable. U.S. capacity to make ethanol is slightly above the 2009 mandate for blending of 11.1 billion gallons of biofuels into gasoline."[24]
  • US Ethanol Sector to Shrink, 30 November 2008, by Farmonline:
    • "In the ethanol industry's infancy, small, locally owned plants were the way for farmers to capitalize on a booming industry. Then, all of a sudden, Wall Street found out there was money in ethanol and jumped on board."[25]
    • "Speaking at the American Bankers Assn.'s Agricultural Bankers Conference in November, Mark Lakers of Agribusiness & Food Associates said as many as 40 ethanol plants could be bankrupt by early next year of the roughly 175 plants currently under construction or on line." [26]
  • U.S. biofuels sector sees ally in Obama, 5 November 2008 by The Guardian: "U.S. biofuel makers, struggling to make a profit at a time of tumbling oil and gasoline prices, look upon President-elect Barack Obama as a staunch ally for growth."
    • "Obama has expressed support for the federal requirement to use ethanol, made mostly from corn, as a motor fuel and says he will accelerate the development of new feedstocks."[27]
  • Does Ethanol Raise Risks? Studies Tie Bacteria in Beef to Fuel Byproduct, 4 November 2008 by the Washington Post: "Last year scientists noted an uptick in the prevalence of potentially deadly E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in beef products." Now, scientists "at Kansas State University who were studying the types of bacteria that live in cattle feces unexpectedly found higher levels of E. coli O157:H7 in the feces of cattle fed a diet that included an ethanol product called distillers grain."
    • "Distillers grain is what is left after the starch from corn is removed to make ethanol. It has been around for decades, but its popularity as a feed ingredient has surged in recent years. One reason is that demand for ethanol, fueled by rising gas prices and federal mandates and subsidies, has pushed the price of corn -- and in turn, corn feed -- to record levels, said Darrell Mark, an economist at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln."[28]
  • Economy Shifts, and the Ethanol Industry Reels, 4 November 2008 by the New York Times: "As producers of ethanol navigate a triple whammy of falling prices for their product, credit woes and volatile costs for the corn from which ethanol is made, an economic version of 'Survivor' is playing out in the industry."
    • "Last week, VeraSun, one of the nation’s largest ethanol producers, announced that it had filed for bankruptcy protection after its bets on the price of corn turned out to be wrong — and costly."
    • "Fewer than 10 of the country’s ethanol plants have stopped operating, according to Matt Hartwig, a spokesman for the Renewable Fuels Association, an industry group. But construction times have slowed and some plants in the planning stage have been halted."[29]
  • Biofuel plants hit economic road block, 12 October 2008 by the Associated Press: "[W]eeds have begun to encroach on the [Lilbourn, MO] Great River Soy biodiesel plant, which produced just 94,000 gallons over two weeks before it ran out of money and was shuttered."
    • "It's a scene that has been repeated throughout the United States."
    • "Hopes ran high in many small towns amid an explosive interest in biofuels and a rush to build large plants. Unseen by planners, however, was the coming spike in crop prices and a financial meltdown unlike any that America has seen since the Great Depression."[30]
  • World needs to rethink biofuels - U.N. food agency, 7 October 2008 by Reuters: "The Western world needs to rethink its rush to biofuels, which has done more harm pushing up food prices than it has good by reducing greenhouse gases, a United Nations report said on Tuesday."
    • "The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said policies encouraging biofuel production and use in Europe and the United States was likely to maintain pressure on food prices but have little impact on weaning car users away from oil."
    • "Biofuels' rise could provide an opportunity for farmers in developing countries to develop the new cash crops, the report said, but that would only happen if subsidy regimes were changed to favour poorer countries rather than richer ones."[32]
  • Biofuels surge slows in Southeast, 30 September 2008 by Southeast Farm Press: "'If each of the 171 completed biodiesel plants in the Southeast ran at full capacity, we would use 26.9 billion pounds of raw material. The U.S. produces 24.6 billion gallons of vegetable oil and another 11 billion pounds of animal fats. At current full capacity, Southeastern plants would use over 70 percent of all the fats produced across the U.S. That is not realistic,'" according to Don Camden, a Southeast regional manager for Cargill."[33]
  • Biofuels Battle: Tear Down The Brazilian Wall, 1 July 2008 in the Wall Street Journal's Environmental Capital blog: "Biofuels have few friends lately. But Brazil's biofuel industry found a big one -- U.S. Senator Richard Lugar."
    • "Sen. Lugar thinks Brazilian ethanol -- made from sugarcane rather than corn -- could help lower U.S. gasoline prices, which have reached record levels. Unica, not surprisingly, thinks the same, and blames Washington's $0.54 per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol for American pain at the pump."
  • Food-related industries launch anti-biofuel campaign, 10 June 2008 by Bloomberg.com, in the Houston Chronicle: In the United States, the "Grocery Manufacturers Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Restaurant Association and other groups say rising corn-based ethanol production is pushing food costs higher." Their new lobbying alliance, "Food Before Fuel", is "calling on Congress to step back and re-evaluate our biofuels policy, which is distorting the marketplace and harming the environment and consumers."[38]
  • U.N. Chief to Prod Nations On Food Crisis, 2 June 2008 by the Washington Post: "U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will issue an urgent plea to world leaders at a food summit in Rome on Tuesday to immediately suspend trade restrictions, agricultural taxes and other price controls that have helped fuel the highest food prices in 30 years, according to U.N. officials....The United Nations will also urge the United States and other nations to consider phasing out subsidies for food-based biofuels -- such as ethanol".
    • The article notes that a "World Bank analyst estimated that biofuel production has accounted for 65 percent in the rise of world food prices, while the IMF has concluded that biofuel production is responsible for 'a significant part of the jump in commodity prices.'"
      • "But the United States has defended the production of biofuels, saying it has driven down oil consumption over the past three years. 'According to our analysis, the increased biofuels production accounts for only 2 to 3 percent of the overall increase in global food prices,' said Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer".[39]
  • "Corn... fuel... fire! U.S. corn subsidies promote Amazon deforestation", 8 January 2008 press release from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute: According to STRI researcher William Laurance, "Amazon deforestation and fires are being aggravated by US farm subsidies...that promote American corn production for ethanol." Corn subsidies also result in farmers reducing production of soy -- thus increasing global soy prices, which in turn promotes burning of forests in the Brazilian Amazon in order to clear land for soy cultivation.
    • According to Laurance, "The evidence of a corn connection to the Amazon is circumstantial, but it's about as close as you ever get to a smoking gun."[41]

2007

  • San Francisco Fleet is All Biodiesel from the New York Times, 14 December 2007, the mayor announced that the city has completed a year-long project to convert its entire vehicle fleet to biodiesel created from midwestern soy oil.
  • US and China sign biofuels cooperation pact, Biopact, 11 December 2007, The two governments have signed a memorandum of understanding that they will share technology through scientific exchanges. It is hoped that this initiative will help meet both countries' lofty goals for biofuels, and assist farmers in the process.
  • Brazil case accents need for new biofuels rules. Brazil is preparing to finally take their case against US ethanol tariffs before the WTO. It is expected that regardless of the results of the case, the WTO will be prompted to develop new rules for the regulation of biofuels.
  • Solar Panels, Biofuel and Tidal Turbines in Bloomberg Plans, 12 June 2007 from the New York Times. The mayor of New York City has announced a plan to increase renewable energy use through tide-driven turbines, as well as outfitting municipal buildings with solar panels and buying heating oil containing biofuels. By summer 2008, "30 percent of the city’s heating oil purchases would be required to contain 5 percent biofuel, which could grow to 10 percent by 2010 and 20 percent by 2012. A City Councilman has also proposed a requirement that private buildings, including homes and offices, use a 5 percent mix by 2009, increasing to a 20 percent mix by 2012.

2006

  • Stover to Fill Part of Ethanol Goal for US 22 November from the Des Moines Register. A report issued by the Biotechnology Industry Organization on Tuesday estimated that it was "realistic" to harvest 30 percent of the available stover nationwide to yield 5 billion gallons of ethanol. Most of the stover would continue to be left in the field for environmental reasons as the decaying plant material prevents soil erosion and adds ground nutrients. The US DOE has set a goal of 60 billion gallons of ethanol by 2030. However that goal assumed the use of 70% of stover for ethanol.
  • US Ethanol Industry Growth to Slow, say Economists 14 November 2006 from the Des Moines Register. Iowa State University economists cautioned that increased costs and delays in ethanol plant construction, transportation bottlenecks, and rapidly rising corn prices signaled that the expansion of the ethanol industry might be cooling.


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