|For More Information:
May 17, 2010
|Ken Colombini, NCGA, 636-733-9004, ext. 115
(ST. LOUIS) May 17, 2010 -- The constantly shifting body of research surrounding
impacts of ethanol on land use worldwide means only one thing, the National Corn
Growers Association believes: It’s time to throw out the whole debated theory of
indirect land use change.
“In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts our corn farmers will
produce more than 300 million more bushels than just three years ago, and do so
on nearly 5 million fewer acres,” NCGA President Darrin Ihnen said.
“International indirect land use change theory completely ignores or
significantly downplays grower ingenuity and modern agronomy. This junk science
needs to go the way of the horse-drawn plow.”
A recent study, released by Purdue University, found that the California Air
Resources Board overestimated the greenhouse-gas impact of land use changes
related to corn ethanol by a factor of two. The updated research, utilizing the
Global Trade Analysis Project model, estimated that average corn ethanol land
use emissions were 13.9 grams CO2 equivalent per mega joule - less than half of
the land use change value of 30 grams CO2 equivalent per mega joule adopted by
CARB in its controversial Low Carbon Fuel Standard.
This change also means that California may find itself more dependent on fuels
that are worse for the environment.
“The inclusion of model results in policy before the science has been fully
established is not just a problem of rushing to judgment; in this case, it goes
against the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Ihnen said. “By saddling
corn-based ethanol with incorrect emissions, the California standard may
actually increase its reliance on petroleum or foreign sources of ethanol,
therefore worsening the environment and our national economy.”
Ihnen added that what we are now seeing in the Gulf of Mexico shows the need for
a broad portfolio of domestic energy sources.
“We need to remember that our petroleum resources are finite and our continued
reliance has direct and indirect costs,” Ihnen said. “This incident can serve as
a reminder that we must redouble our efforts to broaden our energy portfolio to
include renewable alternatives that are more environmentally friendly.”
The Purdue research also reflects the scientific community’s rejection of the
initial paper that brought the land use change theory to the front burner in
February 2008, according to the Renewable Fuels Association. Since then, the
estimated emissions purportedly occurring from the indirect land use change
penalty have fallen by nearly 90 percent.
Corn ethanol means lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to petroleum-based
gasoline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated. The U.S. EPA
recognizes that corn ethanol provides a greenhouse-gas reduction between 21
percent and 52 percent. In addition, according to researchers at the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln, the energy balance of corn-based ethanol is 2-3 times more
favorable than earlier estimates, and expected to keep improving.
“There are lots of reasons to support corn ethanol,” Ihnen said. “It’s a
renewable domestic alternative to foreign oil that also provides significant
greenhouse gas reduction compared to gasoline and creates and supports jobs in
rural America. Looking at today’s headlines, it’s time is now.”
Founded in 1957, the National Corn Growers Association represents 35,000
dues-paying corn farmers nationwide. NCGA and its 48 affiliated state
organizations work together to create and increase opportunities for their
members and their industry.