Biden’s climate crisis order addresses biobased fuels, products

By Erin Voegele | January 27, 2021

President Biden on Jan. 27 issued an executive order that aims to tackle the climate crisis, create jobs and restore scientific integrity across the federal government. The order addresses the production and sourcing of biobased products and fuels.

Section 214 of the executive order focuses on empowering workers by advancing conservation, agriculture and deforestation. “It is the policy of my Administration to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving our public lands and waters,” Biden wrote in the executive order. “The federal government must protect America’s natural treasures, increase reforestation, improve access to recreation, and increase resilience to wildfires and storms, while creating well-paying union jobs for more Americans, including more opportunities for women and people of color in occupations where they are underrepresented.  America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels.  Coastal communities have an essential role to play in mitigating climate change and strengthening resilience by protecting and restoring coastal ecosystems, such as wetlands, seagrasses, coral and oyster reefs, and mangrove and kelp forests, to protect vulnerable coastlines, sequester carbon, and support biodiversity and fisheries.”

The executive order, in part, directs the secretary of agriculture to collect within 60 days input from Tribes, farmers, ranchers, forest owners, conservation groups, firefighters, and other stakeholders on how to best use USDA programs, funding and financing capacities, and other authorities, and how to encourage the voluntary adaptation of climate-smart agricultural and forestry practices that decrease wildfire risk fueled by climate change and result in additional, measurable, and verifiable carbon reductions and sequestration that source sustainable bioproducts and fuels.

Growth Energy has stressed that biofuels can help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. “This executive order is another reminder of how inextricably linked addressing climate change is to our economy, and we’re eager to help President Biden’s administration deliver on his promise to unleash biofuels as a key solution to climate change and restore economic opportunity for rural America,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy.

“Ethanol plays a critical role in reducing the impact of the transportation sector on climate and achieving net-zero emissions,” she continued. “Just this week groundbreaking research led by David MacIntosh, chief science officer of Environmental Health & Engineering Inc. (EH&E) and adjunct associate professor of environmental health at Harvard, found that greenhouse gas emissions from corn ethanol are 46 percent lower than gasoline, and last week, analysis by the Rhodium Group concluded that biofuels must be in the mix if we are to attain net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Importantly, ethanol is a homegrown, ready solution now that improves air quality by replacing toxic fuel additives and dramatically reduces emissions of pollutants that most adversely impact our most vulnerable communities,” Skor added. “We need to quickly transition to fuels that burn cleaner, pollute less, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while bringing farmers into the fold of addressing climate change and helping the rural economy. We look forward to partnering with the President and his Administration to do just that with biofuels.”

A full copy of the executive order is available on the White House website