Today, Barack Obama joined students and researchers working to increase the use of biofuels on UNH's Durham campus, to unveil his plan for a National Low Carbon Fuel Standard (NLCFS). 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 (NLCFS) based on the California proposal
"This is our generation's moment to save future generations from global catastrophe by creating a market for clean-burning fuels that can stop the dangerous transformation of our climate," said Obama. "In states like New Hampshire and California, people are taking the lead on producing fuels that use less carbon. It's time we made this a national commitment to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and take the equivalent of 32 million cars' worth of pollution out of the atmosphere."
Barack Obama believes that the United States needs to take significant steps to use oil more efficiently in order to deal with the challenge of climate change and to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. One important way to use oil more efficiently is for the nation to transition towards fuels that emit less carbon dioxide.
"It will take a grassroots effort to make America greener and end the tyranny of oil. This Earth Day should mark the beginning of a nationwide effort to harness our technology, our ingenuity and our will to achieve energy independence in our time" continued Obama.
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 NCLFS would spur greater production of renewable fuels.
2. The NCLFS would 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 NCLCFS would reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 180 million metric tons in 2020, the equivalent of taking about 32 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.