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Focus Area

Bioenergy

Biofuel Plant

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 works to ensure that policies that promote and regulate bioenergy include provisions that accurately assess and address bioenergy’s climate impact.

Our Goal

Redirect the production and use of bioenergy so that it contributes to—rather than undermines—decarbonization and climate stability.
Our Impact In

Bioenergy

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.

Achievements

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).

Current Projects

What We're Working On

  • Projects

    Biofuels

  • Project

    Biomass

  • Project

    Forests