In California, the California Air Resources Board held a workshop on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard re-adoption process. The CARB workshop presentation is now posted online, Leticia Phillips North American Representative of the Brazilian sugarcane ethanol industry’s organization, UNICA, made the following statement:
Today’s California Air Resources Board (CARB) workshop on the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) reinforces sugarcane ethanol is the most environmentally friendly biofuel supplying today’s market.
CARB’s revision of indirect land-use change (ILUC) modeling resulted in reduced penalties for Brazilian sugarcane ethanol and the lowest overall number in the LCFS, confirming it as the lowest-carbon biofuel available at commercial scale today. This is due to the sugarcane industry’s innovative sustainability efforts including reducing deforestation, requiring a double-crop system in production, and expanding mechanized harvesting instead of pre-harvesting burning techniques.
The environmental benefits of sugarcane ethanol in the LCFS would be even more significant if CARB included the emissions benefits of electricity cogeneration in sugarcane mills using leftover plant material, which displaces fossil fuel power generation. We are disappointed CARB has chosen to apply a U.S.-style average electricity mix to Brazil rather than crediting sugarcane biofuel producers for this marginal displacement of fossil energy. The average electricity mix approach may make sense for the U.S., but it does not realistically calculate the low-carbon benefits of bioenergy in sugarcane production, and we urge CARB to reconsider this decision.