Ethanol protects oil industry

On one of my favorite podcasts “Deconstructing Dinner “, they spent some time discussing ethanol as a potential fuel source. They made a couple of interesting points:

1. Since the production of corn, canola, etc., requires the use of limited supplies of petroleum-based products, it is by definition, not sustainable.

2. The diversion of cropland to fuel production increases the price of food worldwide and impacts world hunger. In fact, Jean Ziegler, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has proposed a 5 year moratorium on the development of biofuels to improve biofuel technology to utilize food waste and not primary food sources.

3. Most interestingly, it was suggested that the oil companies are using ethanol substitutes to divert the public’s attention from the problems of peak oil. Thus we divert dollars into ethanol rather than true alternatives to petroleum.

It is really important for all of us to become educated on the realities of ethanol production and participate in the debate on where our tax dollars are directed. The 2008 Farm Bill as passed by the House, currently contains $7 billion in subsidies for large industrial corn and soy farmers, ostensibly in the name of ethanol.

It is also not clear about the environmental impact of biofuels. Worldwide, investments in biofuels are increasing pressure to clear cut rainforests, use GMO crops, increase the use of monocultures, all to produce crops that do not produce much more energy than goes into growing the crop. In fact, many researchers find that the amount of surplus energy (if any) depends upon how the individual farmer grows his crop (e.g., are biofuels used to fuel tractors? Are no tillage methods used? etc.)

We have the opportunity this year to put money into appropriate biofuel research through the 2008 Farm Bill. This can be funded by current corn and soybean subsidies that only go to industrial farms anyway. Let your voice be heard. Debate on the Senate floor begins tomorrow. Contact your Senator now!

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~ by lindabeekeeper on November 4, 2007.

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