Study finds no “indirect land use change” with ethanol

A report prepared for the California Air Resources Board by a team of scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory found corn ethanol contributed “minimal to zero” impact from the Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) scheme.

The report was compiled by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge lab at the request of CARB, which has appointed several teams of expert working groups to assess the methodology and data that went into California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard. That standard used a controversial ILUC formula which heavily penalized American grain farmers for carbon emissions theoretically produced by farmers overseas.

“This should put the stake into the heart of the bizarre ILUC scheme. Here are some of the best scientists in the country – scientists who have no stake in the game – who found that ethanol had little to no impact from ILUC,” said Tom Buis, CEO of Growth Energy. “We must ask why California insists on going forward with a regulation that is based not just on controversial theory, but a theory that has been disproven.”

The report recommended that CARB update its ILUC calculations with the newest ILUC formula models and data. The study, which examined use of grain and demand for ethanol over a 10-year period, found that increased demand by ethanol was largely met by reallocating domestic uses of grain – and not by reducing grain for export, which is the basis for the ILUC theory.

The report can be found here.

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