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Outpouring of Support for California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard

California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) has received an impressive outpouring of support from a diverse range of “friend of the court” briefs as the case challenging the regulation makes its way through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Back in April, the LCFS won a preliminary victory when the 9th Circuit held that California could continue to enforce the regulation while the court considers the case.  On June 8, the state and other appellants, including EDF, submitted the first full brief arguing the merits of the case.  A week later, groups filed seven different briefs in support of the LCFS, asserting a wide range of interests in the case.

Below are some quotes from the diverse interests that all would like to see the LFCS continue to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels sold throughout California:


Public Protection:

  •  From coast to coast, 7 states (Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington)  file in support of California’s LCFS: “[L]ow carbon fuel standards such as California’s are an important means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change . . . there is no question that climate change threatens the health, safety and welfare of [each] states’ citizens.”
  • A consortium of 10 prominent professors of environmental law from around the country identifies the importance of states’ duty to develop effective regulations to combat environmental problems.  Beyond concluding that the Court’s history supports California’s right to pass this regulation, the environmental law professors also found that the threats of rising sea levels, declining snow pack on which California relies for water supply, and the increased likelihood of wildfires “give [California] an acute local interest in combating global climate change, and thus reducing the carbon emissions that cause these climate impacts is well within the scope of the state’s expansive police power to protect public health, safety, and welfare.”


  • Eleven Ph.Ds. discuss the threat that climate change poses to California and the need to reduce GHG emissions from the transportation sector: “Climate change puts the State’s water supply, public health, coastal resources, energy and transportation infrastructure, agriculture, and wildlife at risk… Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels are particularly important, as they account for 38 percent of California’s net emissions.  Thus, limiting the greenhouse gas intensity of transportation fuels sold in California through the State’s LCFS is a crucial step in reducing the risks posed by climate change.”
  • Five Ph.Ds. file in support of the life cycle analysis (LCA) used by CARB in the LCFS: “[Signatories] are individual scientists with expertise in the field of lifecycle analysis (“LCA”) who believe that LCA is and must continue to be an important scientific tool for state environmental regulatory authorities and that LCA is the best means of assessing the full range of environmental impacts from consumption of transportation fuels.”


  • Support from the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA): “The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (“LCFS”) recognizes the environmental benefits of sugarcane ethanol and assigns it low carbon intensities, even factoring in the immense distance it must travel from Brazil. Because the LCFS incentivizes the use of low carbon intensity fuels, like sugarcane ethanol, UNICA strongly supports the regulation.”
  • Ecoshift Consulting Group, an organization consisting of climate change, energy, and sustainability experts support the strong policy signals of the LCFS: “EcoShift sees the LCFS as providing a tremendous opportunity to drive down greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation fuel sector efficiently and economically. . . [the LCFS has also] become an important driver of investment in low carbon fuels and low carbon production processes, because it provides some assurance that there will be a market for already existing and emerging low carbon fuels.”

National Security:

  • The Truman National Security Institute and Truman National Security Project highlight the impact the LCFS Will Have on National Security: “Climate change is a threat multiplier that can erode economic and environmental conditions in fragile areas. Climate-change-induced migration and humanitarian disasters not only place demands on our military and economic resources, but also can destabilize societies. By destabilizing weak states, climate change can foster conditions for extremism, authoritarianism and terrorism. Besides this environmental security threat, our continued reliance on fossil fuels poses a security threat because much of the fossil fuel supply comes from unstable and hostile regimes. Diversifying our fuel supply and reducing emissions that contribute to climate disruption thus help increase security and stability around the world.”


As the Ninth Circuit continues to consider this important case, it is gratifying to see that so many groups are willing to invest significant time and resources to submit briefs in support of the LCFS.

By Michael Murza and Erica Morehouse.

Posted in Climate, Global Warming Solutions Act: AB 32, Low Carbon Fuel Standard / Tagged | Comments are closed