Environmental expert slams Canada’s Ecofiscal ‘anti-biofuels’ report

Ecologist, environmental policy analyst and former Ontario Environment Commissioner Gord Miller has criticised Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission’s anti-biofuels report titled Course Correction.

Miller's report, Staying the Course, rejects Ecofiscal's data, methodology and conclusions.

According to the Ecofiscal report, provincial and federal production subsidies should be terminated, as initially planned.  The report stated that Canadian biofuel policies were integral to building domestic capacity to meet federal and provincial fuel mandates, but they were an expensive way to achieve emissions reductions.

According to the Ecofiscal report, when compared with other policies, especially carbon pricing, “biofuels are clearly not the most cost-effective approach to reducing GHG emissions”.

The report also asserted that Canada should phase out renewable fuel mandates.

However, Miller said that when properly assessed, the economic and environmental case for Canadian biofuel policies and mandates is "quite different" from “the negative assessment” Ecofiscal presents.

"Biofuel mandates are key to any effective climate policy and should be increased by Canadian governments contrary to Ecofiscal's recommendations," said Miller.

He added: "Ecofiscal's recommendation would result in more emissions; poorer air quality; increased consumer costs; and shut down clean technology research and development being conducted by the biofuels industry."

Renewable fuels mandates are critical for transportation emission reductions in the near and longer term. "There is no good argument that this course needs correction," said Miller. "Now is the time to keep a firm grip on the tiller and continue staying the course. Canada must not abandon renewable fuel mandates, the single largest guaranteed source of transportation fuel emission reductions."

Renewable Industries Canada supports Miller's objectivity and expert review of Ecofiscal's Course Correction. "Ecofiscal would have us believe the cost of GHG reductions from biofuels is too expensive," said RICanada president Andrea Kent.

She added that “Ecofiscal uses bad economics to inflate the cost of biofuels by not accounting for their unique properties, like higher octane”.

She explained: “Course Correction shows how little Ecofiscal appreciates how the fuel market functions and what it takes to lower transportation emissions. It required a thorough review from a broader perspective. Mr. Miller answered that call."

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