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Governors' Biofuels Coalition
NEWS UPDATE February 4, 2021

Top Story

U.S. Cities Are Vastly Undercounting Emissions, Researchers Find

By John Schwartz, New York Times  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

The average error is nearly 20 percent, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The researchers suggested that if that error was consistent across all American cities, the resulting annual missed emissions would be nearly one-quarter higher than those of the entire state of California. Nearly three-quarters of the carbon dioxide generated from fossil fuels comes from cities, the researchers said, and urban areas will continue to boom in coming years. Many cities around the world have set ambitious goals to lessen their burden to the planet, but there is not yet a consistent way for them to measure the amount of carbon dioxide or to gauge any reductions. The new research shows that voluntary efforts by cities to measure those emissions are inconsistent and flawed. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Automakers Drop Efforts to Derail California Climate Rules

By Coral Davenport, New York Times  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

Toyota, Fiat Chrysler and several other major automakers said Tuesday they would no longer try to block California from setting its own strict fuel-economy standards, signaling that the auto industry is ready to work with President Biden on his largest effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The decision by the companies was widely expected, coming after General Motors dropped its support for the Trump-era effort just weeks after the presidential election. But the shift may help the Biden administration move quickly to reinstate national fuel-efficiency standards that would control planet-warming auto pollution, this time with support from industry giants that fought such regulations for years. [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

Regan Faces Barrage of Senate Questions

By  Todd Neeley, DTN Staff Reporter  •    •  Posted February 4, 2021

EPA Administrator nominee Michael Regan said he wants to strike a balance between government regulation on the environment and stakeholder input about life on the ground. During an hours-long hearing before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Wednesday, Regan was quizzed by senators about how he would handle as EPA administrator, the waters of the United States and the Renewable Fuel Standard. [ read more … ]

Biden’s EPA nominee vows ‘urgency’ on climate change

By Brady Dennis, Washington Post  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

As the new White House moves decisively and activists clamor for even more far-reaching, swift efforts, Regan — in keeping with his track record and reputation in North Carolina — positioned himself Wednesday as more a consensus seeker than crusader. “Throughout my career, I’ve learned that if you want to address complex challenges, you must first be able to see them from all sides, and you must be willing to put yourself in other people’s shoes,” Regan said, adding that he would pursue “pragmatic” solutions and that “we can’t simply regulate ourselves out of every problem we face.” He vowed to “establish clear, consistent rules of the road” for businesses the EPA oversees. [ read more … ]

Vilsack seeks to sell ag on climate policies, offers help on market concentration

By Philip Brasher, Agri-Pulse  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

Tom Vilsack is reassuring farmers and their allies in Congress that the Biden administration’s drive to address climate change will provide significant economic benefits without jeopardizing demand for biofuels. During his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Vilsack affirmed that he wanted to use USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. spending authority to create an agricultural carbon bank but portrayed it as a way to demonstrate that the markets would work. [ read more … ]

Agriculture Nominee Vilsack Vows to End USDA Race Inequities

By Mike Dorning, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom Vilsack promised at his confirmation hearing Tuesday to “fully, deeply and completely” root out discrimination against black and minority farmers, addressing long-standing complaints of inequitable access to loans and other assistance provided by the cabinet department. Republican and Democratic senators alike predicted easy confirmation for Vilsack, 70, a familiar figure to official Washington and U.S. farm organizations after serving eight years as Barack Obama’s agriculture secretary. After Vilsack finished testifying, the Senate Agriculture Committee advanced his nomination to the full Senate by a voice vote, without any of the panel’s members dissenting. [ read more … ]

Biden bet big on climate. Will the GOP raise, call or fold?

By Scott Waldman, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

Joe Biden kicked off his presidency with a blitz of climate action. Now comes the hard part: making policy that doesn’t rely on executive orders and can outlast his administration. To do that, Biden will need to win over at least some Republicans in Congress. But it’s unclear whether GOP lawmakers are more receptive now to climate action than they were in the final days of the Obama administration.
[ read more … ]

Markets

American farmers anxiously wait on Biden’s plan for China

By Bill Tomson, Agri-Pulse  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

China is emptying out U.S. corn and soybean supplies, helping make the 2020-21 marketing year a success for American farmers. That’s ramping up the pressure on the new Biden administration to work out a sustainable trading connection between the countries even as the political relationship remains fraught. “We’re encouraged by the numbers that we’re seeing, but we haven’t taken an eye off the long-term stability of the relationship,” Lesly McNitt, director of public policy and trade for the National Corn Growers Association, tells Agri-Pulse. “Long-term certainty and stability is a priority that we would like to see the U.S. and Chinese governments work toward.” [ read more … ]

IRFA: Biofuels continue to have positive impact on Iowa’s economy

By Iowa Renewable Fuels Association  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

A new study  finds biofuels continue to have a significant positive impact on Iowa’s economy, but recent market challenges reduced the job and household income impacts of ethanol and biodiesel production in the state. The study, authored by John Urbanchuk of ABF Economics and commissioned by the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA), found the production of ethanol and biodiesel accounts for nearly $4 billion in state GDP, supports 37,000 direct and indirect jobs, and boosts Iowa household income by $1.8 billion. All three metrics are down 20 to 25 percent compared to 2019.  [ read more … ]

Oil giants reel from record pandemic losses

By Mike Lee, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted February 3, 2021

The top U.S. oil companies say they’re committed to their core business of fossil fuels despite pressure from investors, a new president who wants to address climate change and a disastrous year brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. Exxon Mobil Corp. yesterday announced a record $22.4 billion loss in 2020, the company’s first full-year loss in decades. ConocoPhillips said it lost $2.7 billion for the year. The news came three days after Chevron Corp. reported a $5.5 billion loss during 2020 [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.