The ethanol issue. August 11, 2012Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
Tags: alternative energy, corn crop failure, drought, ethanol, food shortages, global warming, soaring food prices, The Wall Street Journal
Our friend Ben just finished reading an essay in The Wall Street Journal blasting the EPA for maintaining its ethanol-in-gasoline regulation in the face of the horrific heat and drought pummeling the corn belt this summer. The article predicted that food prices would rise worldwide as a result, since the corn crop’s been decimated, the U.S. exports 60% of the world’s corn, and corn is used to feed animals as well as people.
According to the article, organizations from the U.N. to the World Bank to the American hunger-relief organization ActionAid have called for the repeal or at least suspension of the regulation as a global form of disaster relief. But Washington, in the grip of the ethanol lobby, has turned a deaf ear to their pleas. (To read the article in full, look for “Ethanol vs. the World” at www.wsj.com; there’s a related article, “Prices Surge as Drought Stunts Corn Crop,” in the same issue.)
Our friend Ben is all for alternative energy. Biofuels made from used cooking oil that are refined to power cars sound like the ultimate recycling to me. I’d love to build a wind-powered well here at Hawk’s Haven and set up a solar array. It would be fantastic if some forward-looking scientists could figure out a way to convert our collective body heat into usable energy instead of global warming. But I have to wonder if insisting on the ethanol provision in the face of global shortages is in humanity’s best interest. It sounds more like elitism to me.