The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Aaron Huertas, 202-331-5458

More Than 200 Scientists and Economists Call on Congress, Federal Agencies to Account for All Emissions From Biofuels


More than 200 scientists and economists issued a letter today
calling on Congress and federal agencies to account for emissions from
indirect land use change in biofuel laws and regulations. The Union of
Concerned Scientists (UCS), which organized the letter, is running
advertisements in Congress Daily this Wednesday and Thursday to
publicize the letter.

Including "indirect land use change . in the lifecycle analyses of
heat-trapping emissions from biofuels.," the letter states, "will
encourage development of sustainable, low-carbon fuels that avoid
conflict with food and minimize harmful environmental impacts."

When U.S. food crops are used to make biofuels, the market price
of the crops increase. That price signal leads farmers in other
countries to clear land to produce replacement crops. A portion of
those farmers clear tropical forests for farm land, or till previously
untouched land, resulting in the release of heat-trapping emissions
into the atmosphere.

The letter's release coincides with the end of the Environmental
Protection Agency's (EPA) public comment period for the Renewable Fuels
Standard, which would significantly increase biofuel production. EPA is
required to consider these emissions under current law.

The ethanol industry is promoting policies that would prevent the
EPA from even considering the science underpinning indirect land use
change. To do that would ignore the scientific evidence, according to
the scientists and economists on the letter. "Grappling with the
technical uncertainty and developing a regulation based on the best
available science is preferable to ignoring a major source of
emissions," they write.

A copy of the letter, the ads and more information about indirect land use change can be found on UCS's Smart Bioenergy page.

The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.