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04/24/2009 11:09 AM     print story email story  

California Adopts Landmark Low Carbon Fuel Standard

SustainableBusiness.com News

California on Thursday adopted the world's first rule to cut carbon emissions from automotive fuels. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved the Low Carbon Fuel Standard calling for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from California's transportation fuels by 10% by 2020.

The new regulation is aimed at diversifying the variety of fuels used for transportation. It is expected to boost the market for alternative-fuel vehicles and achieve 16 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emission reductions by 2020.

CARB representatives describe the measure as the most important early-action called for under the state's progressive Global Warming Solutions Act, passed in 2006.

"The new standard means we can begin to break our century-old dependence on petroleum and provide California with greater energy security" said CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "The drive to force the market toward greater use of alternative fuels will be a boon to the state's economy and public health--it reduces air pollution, creates new jobs and continues California's leadership in the fight against global warming."

According to ARB analyses, to produce the more than 1.5 billion gallons of biofuels needed, over 25 new biofuel facilities will have to be built and will create more than 3,000 new jobs, mostly in the state's rural areas.

The regulation requires providers, refiners, importers and blenders to ensure that the fuels they provide for the California market meet an average declining standard of 'carbon intensity'. This is established by determining the sum of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production, transportation and consumption of a fuel, also referred to as the fuel pathway.

Seeking to enhance private sector and federal investment into alternative fuel production and distribution, California is also providing funding to assist in the early development and deployment of promising low-carbon fuels. The Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, managed by the California Energy Commission, will provide approximately $120 million dollars per year over seven years to deploy the cleanest fuels and vehicles.

Regulators expect the new generation of fuels to come from the development of technology that uses algae, wood, agricultural waste such as straw, common invasive weeds such as switchgrass, and even from municipal solid waste.

Governor Schwarzenegger issued the executive order requiring a low carbon fuel standard in early 2007. It directed the state to drive down greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector which accounts for 40% of the state's total greenhouse gas emissions. The regulation is designed to increase the use of alternative fuels, replacing 20% of the fuel used by cars in California with clean alternative fuels by 2020, including electricity, biofuels, hydrogen and other options.

At least 11 other states are weighing similar rules, and President Barack Obama has called for a nationwide low-carbon fuel standard.

Read further coverage at the link below.

Website: http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE53L71L20090424?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews



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