A Message From Budapest:  Global Biofuels Community Needs to Work Together on Image.

Source: By Clean Fuels Development Coalition • Posted: Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Budapest, Hungary, Nov 10, 2014: A recurring theme that emerged from last week’s  World Ethanol and Biofuels Conference was that there is a lack of consensus among policymakers, regulators, the public, and media that biofuels are a positive pathway for all nations to take and that the benefits need to be re-established to create a consistent, global message.

With 500 attendees from dozens of countries represented at F.O. Lichts 17th Annual conference, the consensus was that despite having the data and the successful track record to support the expansion of biofuels, the movement has hit a flat period.  Whether it is in the United States, the European Union, or any other country the relentless debate has taken its toll at all levels.

CFDC  Executive Director Douglas Durante, Co-Chair of the Conference, told delegates that the government programs such as the U.S. Renewable Fuels Standard had unleashed a torrent of opposition that simply was based on propaganda and targeted dis-information.  “There is no credible argument to deny the continued use and expansion of biofuels”, said Durante. “The food argument has been completely debunked, the land use issue is unfounded, and any performance or cost issues are without foundation. Conversely, the environmental, economic, and energy security benefits to any country using biofuels like ethanol are stronger than ever”.

Through presentations ranging from BP, the European Renewable Energy Industry Association, the European Commission, to the International Energy Agency and  Barclays Bank,  many of the speakers indicated a sort “biofuel fatigue” with respect to dealing with these issues.

Delegates  stressed this did not necessarily translate to opposition by their countries but indicated the debate over the details of food vs. fuel,  indirect  land use, subsidies, emissions and GHG modeling in many cases resulted in a stalemate.  In such cases, with a lack of clear consensus, it is easier sometimes to simply give up.

None, however, have faced the kind of onslaught the US program has faced, which, Durante says, has resulted in the US industry refining its rebuttals and making an even stronger case.

In addition to dismissing the bogus issues like food and performance, he noted that they now have a better understanding of gasoline and the health risks of highly toxic particulate emissions. Clean air programs of the late 1990s focused on smog and ozone  but a growing threat from  dirty octane demands that we use clean substitutes like ethanol.

“We cannot be fooled by cheap oil and temporarily low gasoline prices.  Biofuel  programs across the globe provide food, feed, fuel, and an economic stimulus while reducing carbon and protecting public health,” said Durante. “Working with our biofuel colleagues around the world we can re-establish that this road we are on is infinitely better than the petroleum trap and once again gain consensus to push ahead.”