Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Barack Obama Calls for National Low Carbon Fuel Standard

News release from the Obama Campaign:
Los Angeles, CA- Barack Obama visited a local gas station today that sells bio-fuels to discuss his plan for a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard (NLCFS) to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. In January 2007, California Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive order to establish a low carbon fuel standard for transportation fuels sold in California. Obama’s proposal would create a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard based on the California proposal.

“The debate about whether or not climate change is a man-made disaster is over. The question now is what we do about it,” said Senator Barack Obama. “We know that transportation fuels account for a third of America’s global warming pollution. And we know there are fuels available that emit less carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere – fuels like biodiesel and ethanol. To create a mass market for these fuels and ensure they’ll be used more widely, this standard will require that fuel sold in the U.S. contain 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less carbon by 2020.”

Barack Obama believes that the United States needs to take significant steps to fight the causes of climate change and to lessen our dependence on foreign oil.

“We also need to ask more of our automakers. We have not improved the fuel efficiency of our cars for over twenty years. That has to change. That’s why I’ve challenged the car companies to more than double the fuel economy over the next twenty years while also helping them address their staggering healthcare costs and providing incentives to re-tool their domestic facilities,” continued Obama.

One important way to use oil more efficiently is for the nation to transition towards fuels that emit less carbon dioxide. Obama’s proposal would require that all transportation fuels sold in the U.S. contain 5 percent less carbon by 2015 and 10 percent less carbon by 2020. By requiring less carbon intensive fuels, this national standard has the following benefits:

1. The market, rather than the government would determine which fuels are used by fuel distributors and blenders to meet the NLCFS. Because biofuels are less carbon-intensive than gasoline, the NLCFS would spur greater production of renewable fuels.
2. The NLCFSwould also create an incentive for the production of more flexible-fuel vehicles that can run on ethanol and more plug-in hybrid vehicles that run on electricity.

The Obama proposal includes a banking and credit trading mechanism to allow providers of cleaner burning fuel to trade allowances to other producers or bank allowances against future carbon reductions.

The estimated impact of the Obama proposal would be dramatic, both in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing dependence on foreign oil. According to one estimate, the NLCFS would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 180 million metric tons in 2020, the equivalent of taking more than 30 million cars off the road and it would also reduce the annual consumption of gasoline derived from foreign oil imports by about 30 billion gallons in 2020.
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