Lisa Jackson, who heads up the Environmental Protection Agency, was the featured speaker at a session at Cop15 called "The Contribution of Biofuels to Climate Change Mitigation," which was sponsored by Brazil. The U.S. faces challenges, she noted.
The Obama administration is committed to a strong new biofuels program that would push Congress to enact new fuel reduction mandates, she said. Nonetheless, Jackson added that the goals of the biofuels program have been slowed down due to the recession, but ideally will pick back up with the production of cellulosic biofuels.
Agricultural workers in the U.S. also remain skeptical and opposed to some of the ideas. The new program will allow for higher ethanol blends and thereby reducing gas consumption. The limit as of now is currently 10 percent.
New blends, of course, will necessitate rounds of engine testing and new fueling station labeling requirements. In all likelihood, some vehicles will be able to accommodate higher blends of ethanol. (Automakers, no doubt, will point out that this could impact mileage. Ethanol only has around 67 percent of the energy content of gas.)
Ms. Jackson ended by saying that the U.S. is cooperating with Brazil in bringing scientists from the U.S. national lab and center for development to obtain better technology transfers. The U.S. has entered partnerships with nine developing countries for rural economies for national systems and regulatory framework, she added.
The delegate from Brazil did not hesitate in saying that the country is committed to technology transfer for both developing and developed countries, because for "short term energy needs biofuels are the only way." Brazil also noted that it will start to produce integrated plants that produce biofuels, electricity, and heat for domestic uses. This country has offset more than 800 million tones of CO2 were avoided since their biofuel program started 35 years ago.