DOE Scientists Release Comments Citing Inaccuracies and Misrepresentations from Lark Study

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, environmental scientists and experts from across the country associated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Argonne National Laboratory released a new set of comments in response to the recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by Tyler Lark, et al.

The scientists, including Steffen Mueller of University of Illinois-Chicago and Michael Wang of Argonne National Laboratory, who also published an initial response in March 2022, revisited many of the claims and found Lark’s modeling approach to be “too limited to effectively consider the drivers of ethanol industry.” They also found the Lark study to include “outdated and inaccurate projections for future crop prices”, “double counted” and incorrect emissions results, and “magnificent changes” in land use that are “overestimated”.

The report released today criticizes “various major deficiencies and problematic assessments” from the Lark report, including a failure to account for yield improvements and overestimated land use impacts of corn ethanol.

“We recently reviewed the article published by Lark et al. (2022) in PNAS, detected various problematic assumptions, approaches, data, and results in that study,” wrote the scientists. “Based on our findings, we concluded that these authors overestimated GHG emissions of corn ethanol consumption due to the RFS.”

Chris Bliley, Growth Energy’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs, added, “We are pleased to see continued progress in bringing forward sound science from some of our nation’s most well-known and well-respected researchers. U.S. biofuel producers remain undeterred by our opposition’s efforts to recirculate the same false claims from 2015, and will continue to make meaningful progress on delivering immediate carbon reductions and economic benefits.”

Read Argonne National Lab’s full comments here.