Biotech Innovation Will Play Key Role in Solving the Climate Crisis

Cleaner air, healthier soils, and improved human health – goals of a Congressional climate crisis action plan released today – are just a few climate change solutions made possible by biotech innovation, according to the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).

The report, “Solving the Climate Crisis: The Congressional Action Plan for a Clean Energy Economy and a Healthy, Resilient, and Just America” points to several goals made possible by biotechnology innovation, including:

  • accelerating the use of zero-carbon energy sources;
  • enhancing human health by reducing greenhouse gas emissions;
  • coordination of programs in sustainable chemistry;
  • promoting sustainable farming practices that protect soil, air, and water quality;
  • making food crops more resilient to extreme weather such as drought; and
  • building a durable clean energy economy.

The report by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, presented as a roadmap for a clean energy economy, adopts numerous recommendations that were contained in BIO’s comments to the committee last year on public policy measures that could help deploy biotech climate change solutions across many sectors – from transportation, to agriculture, to manufacturing.

Specifically, the report calls for building off of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) with a National Low Carbon Fuels Standard, tax incentives for Sustainable Aviation Fuels, and a performance standard for chemicals, among other recommendations. The report’s recommendation for reducing petrochemical emissions can be met with the production of renewable chemicals and biobased products.

“Biotech companies that develop and manufacture sustainable fuels and other biobased products are helping to decarbonize the transportation and manufacturing sectors, reducing air pollution, mitigating other harmful environmental impacts, and improving public health,” says Stephanie Batchelor, vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section.

“A national low carbon fuel standard can build off the worthy intentions of the RFS,” adds Batchelor. “We’ve seen how such policies implemented at the state level at BIO’s urging have invigorated the use of clean fuels and helped to achieve a reduced climate footprint.”

The report also recognizes the need to develop cost-effective, scalable methods to measure and quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas reduction on farms and ranches, and study the feasibility of developing a federal tax credit to incentivize carbon sequestration and abatement on farms. Other recommendations include the need for biology-based tools to enable agriculture to adapt and be part of the solution to climate change such as the development of feed additives.     

“BIO appreciates the committee for recognizing the role that clean energy, green manufacturing and agricultural innovation play in mitigating climate change, protecting human health and bolstering a biobased economy,” said Batchelor.

“As the committee and Congress work to address climate change, we believe the inclusion of pro-innovation policies and technologies will help expand American leadership in this space, reduce our dependence on foreign sources of supply and demand, and reinvigorate rural and other economically struggling communities across the United States.”

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