The Biden Administration recently unveiled an ambitious plan to limit global warming: a pledge to cut America’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.
To accomplish this, harmful emissions will need to be reduced in a variety of areas, including in buildings, industrial settings, agriculture and electricity production. Transportation will have a special role to play, since it’s the leading cause of GHG emissions in the U.S. and one of the biggest contributors worldwide.
Exactly how the U.S. will cut emissions by half, and whether politics will affect any part of the president’s goal, remains to be seen. What is known, however, is that something must be done and immediately. Climate experts say the world must make "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes" to limit global warming by 2030 to avoid the most dire consequences of climate change.
That’s why it’s important to adopt solutions that can make a difference right now. Biodiesel is one of those difference-makers. It is a high-quality, low-carbon fuel that can be used in diesel vehicles and existing fuel infrastructure without making modifications.
In other words, fleets and other diesel drivers can use biodiesel to reduce emissions right now, rather than waiting for future technologies.
Accumulating Carbon Emissions
One reason it’s important to act today is the cumulative nature of greenhouse gases. Once in the atmosphere, they persist for many years, meaning every year’s GHG emissions add to the emissions of previous years. This is why negative impacts from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere can increase dramatically over time.
Fortunately, the reverse is also true. Every emission we avoid has a cumulative, multi-year effect — a beneficial one.
REG has been talking about this for a while, and other organizations are now doing so too. In fact, NPR recently had a story about the topic. If it’s difficult to grasp, try thinking about it the same way as a retirement account.
If you put $1,000 per year into a 401(k) with an 8% rate of return, you wouldn’t have $10,000 after 10 years. You’d have almost $14,500 — and the first year’s $1,000 deposit would have contributed almost $2,000 to the 10-year total, while the 10th year’s $1,000 would have contributed only $1,000 to the total.
This is why retirement professionals advise us to start saving when we’re young rather than waiting until we’re older. This same rationale is also why waiting to adopt cleaner-burning fuels will dramatically decrease the cumulative emissions
savings that fleets could start banking now.
A Simple Step Today
Instead of waiting to invest in the environment, commercial and public fleets should seek out lower-carbon fuels they can use today. This includes biodiesel and also a blend of biodiesel and renewable diesel that we call REG Ultra Clean®. REG bio-based diesel products reduce emissions by up to 88% compared with petroleum diesel.
Fleets that switch to cleaner fuels are also investing in their businesses. Fleet sustainability is not a passing fad. Governments are passing clean air regulations, and the private sector is adopting their own sustainability policies and they are asking their partners to participate in those policies to achieve their goals. Already, fleets are reporting that sustainability requirements are showing up in RFPs and that biodiesel is giving them a leg up on the competition.
With its performance and maintenance benefits, biodiesel can help lower a fleet’s total cost of ownership. Biodiesel also offers a strong return on investment (ROI), including beyond the traditional dollars-and-cents view of ROI due to its ability to help
fleets meet clean air regulations, win bids with sustainability requirements and improve brand perception by positioning themselves as a sustainability provider. REG biodiesel offers all of those benefits plus our supply capabilities, technical expertise
and global platform.
Carbon Reduction Now
The U.S. federal government is looking to take the next step in the country’s efforts to slow the negative effects of climate change. However, regardless of any governmental policy, we need action. Climate change affects not just the atmosphere, but also people’s health and livelihoods.
Time is of the essence, and biodiesel is one of the easiest ways to have an immediate impact with vehicle emissions today.
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