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Renewable Vibes > News > Renewable Energy > The Advisory group suggests that the Legislature should consider scaling back its green energy ambitions.

The Advisory group suggests that the Legislature should consider scaling back its green energy ambitions.

The Clean Transportation Standard working group in Minnesota has released its report to the Legislature on reducing transportation sector carbon emissions. The group found that achieving the current target of a 100% reduction in greenhouse gas intensity of transportation fuels by 2050 would be challenging given the current market and clean fuel technologies. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the state would likely achieve a 30% reduction by 2050, but with a moderate policy effort, a 65% reduction could be achieved. However, reaching the 100% target would require an aggressive approach and optimistic assumptions about clean fuel deployment in Minnesota.

As a result, the group recommended scaling back the Legislature’s ambitions, aiming for a 40%-50% reduction by 2040 and changing the 2050 target to a more flexible goal. Despite this recommendation, many supporters of the working group’s findings believe that even a moderate reduction would be a significant achievement. Brendan Jordan, Vice President for Transportation and Fuels at the Great Plains Institute, called it a compelling step towards passing the first statewide Clean Transportation Standard in the Midwest.

However, the report has faced criticism from some members of the advisory group. Representatives of four environmental organizations released their own minority report, faulting the main report for relying too heavily on “bridge” fuels like ethanol. They argue that promoting the adoption of electric vehicles should have been the focus instead. According to them, electric vehicles are already significantly less polluting and will continue to be as the electric grid decarbonizes.

The environmental groups also oppose the main report’s promotion of carbon capture and storage technologies, as they believe it creates a perverse economic incentive for petroleum companies to continue producing CO₂. They argue against using carbon capture for enhanced oil recovery and express concerns about the commodification of CO₂ from ethanol plants.

California, Oregon, and Washington have already adopted low carbon transportation standards. California’s regulators reported a reduction of 47 million metric tons of transportation greenhouse gas emissions between 2011 and 2018, accounting for about one-tenth of the state’s total yearly greenhouse emissions at the time.

Representatives from CURE, COPAL, Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate, and the Sierra Club’s North Star chapter signed on to the minority report’s criticisms. However, other environmental organizations on the working group did not sign the dissenting report.

The authors of the minority report argue that more aggressive climate targets should not be abandoned simply because they pose a challenge. They believe that relying on more ethanol, pipelines, or carbon shell games from the oil and ethanol industries is not the answer and that helping to extend the lifespan of polluting liquid fuels is not a viable solution.

Overall, the Clean Transportation Standard working group’s report highlights the challenges of achieving ambitious carbon reduction targets in the transportation sector and recommends a more realistic approach with flexible goals. However, it has also sparked debate among members of the advisory group regarding the reliance on certain fuels and technologies.

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