BIO Asks Senators to Recognize Emission Reduction Potential of Industrial Biotechnology in Climate Change Legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Thursday, April 15, 2010) - Industrial biotechnology holds the potential to save the planet 1 billion tons of carbon emissions annually; U.S. climate change legislation could accelerate deployment of carbon reducing biotechnology applications. The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today released a letter to Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asking that any comprehensive climate change legislation include recognition and appropriate incentives for biotechnology solutions that produce clean and sustainable biofuels and bioproducts, enhance industrial energy efficiency, and protect and enhance soil carbon.

Brent Erickson, executive vice president of BIO’s Industrial and Environmental Section, said, “We cannot have a low-carbon future without low-carbon transportation fuels. Biotechnology is a platform technology for using renewable biomass resources as substitutes for fossil resources in fuels, plastics and chemicals, which can sequester carbon. Widespread adoption of biotechnology processes in industry can help displace use of fossil fuels, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and establish a new path for sustainable economic growth. Biotechnology is already being used to make production of everyday products more energy efficient. The growth and development of clean-tech and green product technologies offer opportunities for sustainable industrial production, new green jobs, and future economic growth.”

A recent WWF report, “Industrial Biotechnology: More than green fuel in a dirty economy?,” finds that biotechnology holds the potential to reduce carbon emissions from industrial processing, transportation, and production of goods and materials by as much as 2.5 billion tons annually. Biotechnology applications already being used in traditional industries – such as textiles or baking – could eliminate as much as 200 million tons of annual CO2 equivalent emissions through process efficiency gains, if used more widely. Substituting biofuels and renewable chemicals for petrochemicals could save nearly 1.7 billion additional tons of annual emissions, according to the report.

Erickson continued, “Comprehensive climate legislation should apply an inclusive definition of renewable biomass to ensure that sustainable feedstocks are developed and available. The legislation should also explicitly recognize biofuels made from renewable biomass are part of a recycling of carbon, while bioproducts can actually sequester carbon. Further, biotechnology applications can reduce energy consumption and related carbon emissions in industrial manufacturing. Revenue raised from taxes on carbon should be used to encourage use of such carbon reducing technologies.”

A copy of BIO’s letter to Sens. Kerry, Lieberman and Graham is available at

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 About BIO

BIO represents more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world.