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Renewable fuel standard judged unlikely to be met

A report recently released by the National Research Council finds that the cellulosic biofuel consumption mandate set forth in the 2007 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) is not likely to be met unless "major technological innovation or policy changes" occur.  The RFS2 mandates that by 2022 the U.S. will consume 35 billion gallons of ethanol-equivalent biofuels and one billion gallons of biomass-based diesel annually. Barriers to achieving this mandate, according to the report, Renewable Fuel Standard: Potential Economic and Environmental Effects of U.S. Biofuel Policy (2011), include market uncertainties and the greater expense of producing cellulosic biofuels as compared with petroleum-based fuels. 

Moreover, according to the report's summary of key findings, "RFS2 may be an ineffective policy for reducing global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions because the effect of biofuels on GHG emissions depends on how the biofuels are produced and what land-use or land-cover changes occur in the process."

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