California blueprint for fuel emission cuts published

Experts in California have released their blueprint for tackling global warming by reducing the amount of carbon emissions from transport fuels in the state.

The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) drawn up by energy experts at the University of California at the behest of governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is aimed at achieving a ten percent reduction in emissions by 2020.

It means drivers will be able to keep their petrol powered cars for years to come as providers lower the global warming effects of the fuel they produce.

Professor Daniel Sperling, one of the standard’s authors, said: “This new policy is hugely important, and has never been done before. It will likely transform the energy industries.

“And the ten percent reduction is just the beginning. We anticipate much greater reductions after 2020.”

Fuels used in transportation in California account for around 40 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere.

Mr Schwarzeneggar commissioned the university to design the LCFS in January.

It was published in two parts, the first examining the feasibility of achieving the ten percent cut by 2020 and the second policy matters.

Scientists concluded the target was “ambitious but attainable”.

Under LCFS all fuel providers would be required to track the global warming intensity of their products and reduce this value over time.

Methods of reducing emissions include blending more biofuel with petrol and diesel, buying low-carbon fuels and emissions credits from other producers, creating more efficient refineries and running them with lower-carbon energy.

LCFS will cover all petrol and diesel except aviation, which is exempt, and is due to take effect by January 2010

It is expected to drive advances in vehicle technology, giving drivers more options for new vehicles and a greater variety of fuels, while also helping the state reach climate change targets.

Co-author Professor Alex Farrell said: “Stabilizing the climate will require major changes in the coming years, and the new fuels that will come on the market in response to the low carbon fuel standard will be an important part of that change.”

To The Low-Carbon Fuel Standard report can be viewed online.

David Gibbs

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