In an unfortunate example of spin over science, a recent commentary in Mother Jones sought to present readers with a false choice between electric vehicles (EVs) and biofuels. In reality, America’s path to decarbonization is going to require growing contributions from both technologies, a view shared by leading analysts, scientists, and even President Biden.
A new report from the Rhodium Group, a leading independent climate analysis firm, found that biofuels are an essential element of our path to a net-zero future by 2050. That’s because ethanol reduces lifecycle emissions from motor fuel by an average of 46 percent, as demonstrated most recently in groundbreaking research led by David MacIntosh, Chief Science Officer of Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E) and Adjunct Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard. That environmental progress has been fueled by continuous innovation allowing biofuel producers and farmers to ramp up production year after year, without expanding our environmental footprint.
That’s why President Biden’s climate agenda relies on multiple tools to fight climate change, including ethanol, advanced biofuels, and EVs. Climate champions recognize that biofuels provide the single best low-carbon alternative available today, compatible with our existing auto fleet, and affordable for communities around the world.
U.S. biofuels also provide economic and health benefits that were conveniently brushed aside by Mother Jones.
Our industry drives the rural economy, supporting more than 300,000 green jobs across the agricultural supply chain – from farmers to plant workers. And without ethanol in the fuel mix, we would be rolling back the clock, with higher emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide, and smog-forming pollutants linked to cancer, as well as neurological, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage. Research from experts like Dr. Steffen Mueller at the University of Illinois Chicago shows that cleaner biofuel blends improve health outcomes and save lives.
The false notion that readers need to choose a single technology to deliver on America’s clean energy future is not only wrong, it’s a strategy that promises to slow the transition away from fossil fuels.