CATF is identifying and promoting measures that maximize the climate benefits that result from thoughtful land use practices — from the carefully targeted use of bioenergy to smarter and more comprehensive forest management.
An energy source must be massively scalable if it is going to play a leading role in the transition to zero-carbon energy—but scale presents a unique set of problems for bioenergy. Large-scale biofuel production drives up demand for commodity crops and motivates farmers around the world to convert natural land into farmland, a process that transfers soil- and plant-carbon into the atmosphere. Likewise, given the enormous volume of wood needed to fuel commercial-scale power plants, increased reliance on biomass-based power production could undermine forests’ critically important capacity to absorb carbon dioxide.
CATF Statement on EPA’s Final 2020 RFS Biofuels Requirements
BOSTON, December 19, 2019 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) regulations today that establish the volume of biofuels that must be blended into the United States’ transportation fuel supply in 2020 (and 2021, for biomass-based diesel fuels). “Today’s rule is more evidence that the RFS has veered severely off course.Bioenergy
RFS Politics Keep Ping-Ponging and the Environment Keeps Losing
If a contest was held to identify the Trump Administration’s most haywire, least efficient, most higgledy-piggledy exercise in policymaking, its implementation of the Renewable Fuel Standard would have to be in the running. Surely other policy initiatives have caused more harm in the past three years, environmental and otherwise—but the RFS is no slouch in […]Bioenergy
CATF, other groups push EPA to protect natural landscapes from biofuel crop expansion
Clean Air Task Force and Earthjustice filed a petition on behalf of 11 environmental organizations demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency protect prairies and other natural habitats from being plowed under for the purpose of growing more biofuel crops.Bioenergy
More Ethanol, More Problems
The ethanol industry produces more ethanol than the US fuel market can readily use.Bioenergy
EPA’s Report on the Environmental Impacts of Biofuels
We’ve waded through the various and sundry mistakes Congress made in 2007 when it dramatically expanded the size and the duration of the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA).
Our Work on Bioenergy
CATF works to ensure that policies that promote and regulate bioenergy include provisions that accurately assess and address bioenergy’s climate impact.
Scope of Work
Research, Analysis & Education
CATF partners with leading scientists and experts to analyze the full environmental and climate impacts of bioenergy. CATF has worked for over a decade to educate key decision makers, stakeholders, and other NGOs about the realities and potential risks of bioenergy.
Policy Advocacy & Litigation
CATF works to ensure that the policies that govern bioenergy properly account for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the production and use of bioenergy. CATF attorneys have represented other non-profit client organizations in judicial proceedings and provide expert legal and technical input to the EPA and other regulatory bodies.
When CATF began examining the climate impact of biofuels in 2006, most environmental NGOs were highly supportive of the technology. CATF’s sustained, analysis-driven critique of biofuels’ climate impact eroded the environmental case for conventional biofuels and solidified opposition to the policies that subsidize their production among ENGOs and, increasingly, among key members of Congress, thus helping to prevent further expansions of biofuel subsidies.
CATF convinced the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit to block EPA from exempting biomass emissions from Clean Air Act regulation (2013), and convinced EPA to remove biomass combustion as a compliance option in the federally administered version of the Clean Power Plan (2016).
What We're Working On