Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to replace fossil fuels with ethanol and other low-carbon fuels through a “clean fuel standard” — expected to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million tonnes a year by 2030 — faces mounting opposition, especially from a powerful lobby south of the border.
No, not from U.S. President Donald Trump or the Republicans. At least, not yet — officially they’re pretty much in sync with Trudeau on this one, largely because the U.S. is a big exporter of ethanol to Canada.
The fierce opposition comes chiefly from the U.S. environmental lobby, which has awakened to one of the most colossal environmental mistakes in its history: the ethanol mandate, part of America’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which effectively mandates that 10 per cent of gasoline at the pump consists of ethanol.
The ethanol mandate was born more than a decade ago of good intentions: to reduce tailpipe emissions as part of a larger strategy of tackling global warming. The result has backfired. Admits Henry Waxman, the U.S. congressman credited with the legislation’s passage in 2007, “it’s clear that the RFS has been a net-negative for the environment.
Not only has the RFS failed to spur significant development of truly advanced fuels, but conventional biofuels like corn ethanol and soy biodiesel are destroying wildlife habitat at home and abroad, polluting waterways, and increasing global warming pollution.”