Monday, April 6, 2009

New Report Shows Higher Than Expected Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Oil

/PRNewswire / -- Today, a leading national advocate for advanced biofuels released a new study showing that the production and use of a gallon of oil releases more climate change emissions than previously believed. The New Fuels Alliance study, conducted by an independent research firm, found that some gallons of oil release 20 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than assumed by the currently proposed California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) to be adopted this month, even before adding price-induced carbon effects.

"This report uncovers two things about oil: (1) that there are significant direct sources of emissions omitted from the current Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which means that the current 'carbon score' for oil under the LCFS is too low; and (2) that we have not even scratched the surface of understanding the secondary, economically-induced carbon impacts of petroleum," said Brooke Coleman of the New Fuels Alliance. The second issue is important because the California Air Resources Board plans to add secondary, economically-induced carbon emissions to the carbon score of biofuel but not oil. "The current draft LCFS proposes that using more biofuel causes economic ripple effects in the marketplace that could have a climate change effect but that using more oil does not have any ripple effects in our economy," said Coleman, "which is of course not the case."

The report shows, for example, that thermally-enhanced oil recovery in California emits roughly 14 percent more climate emissions than average gasoline, while a gallon of petroleum from Venezuelan heavy crude emits 12 percent more greenhouse gases, even before taking into account secondary, economically-induced emissions. Neither fuel would be debited for these increased emissions over the "California average" carbon score for petroleum. "We're basically talking about the oil industry using significantly higher carbon intensity petroleum gallons for free under the LCFS."

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