American Elephants


America’s Renewables Policy Is A Disaster by The Elephant's Child

I had to go to the grocery store today, and was startled again by the cost increases. Bacon, on special, up by $2, Butter up by $1. Good cuts of beef are out-of-sight. I wonder just what percentage of the inflation can be blamed on ethanol?

A new study finds that even the good kind of ethanol is terrible. Corn ethanol is actually worse for the environment, the overall production cycle is worse for global warming than ordinary gasoline, it drives up world food prices, contributing to global hunger in the process, and it doesn’t have the energy in it that gasoline does.

Cellulosic ethanol, which relies on the detritus from corn farming and production was supposed to be better and solve some of these problems, but it doesn’t. It is worse for the environment than gasoline. Not a cleaner alternative to oil.

The environmentalists were sure that everything we were doing was wrong, and they had better answers. We would harness the wind, and after enormous investment the wind does produce some electricity—with a 24/7 backup from a fossil fuel-fired power plant. The wind turbines kill masses of birds, especially birds of prey. And we would harness the sun, which is free energy, benign, save the earth. Same deal. Sun sinks beneath the horizon just about the time that Americans are turning on the lights and cooking dinner. Needs 24/7 backup from a fossil fuel-fired power plant. Fries birds of all kinds.

Green dreaming  sounds good, but when you get down to the economics, the science, and the technology—not so much. Good payoffs for crony capitalists, but a disaster for everyone else. Even the EPA has announced that it wants to scale back the mandate that determines how much ethanol producers will be required to add to gasoline. (How about none?) Can we quit requiring the military to play around with costly biofuel experiments.

Then you have to deal with the ethanol producers and the farmers who put every bit of their acreage to corn because of the high prices. That’s not going to be easy. Next time, you could, perhaps work out the technical details and prove up the green dreams before you start investing taxpayer money in schemes that turn to dust.




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