Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I was looking over an outstanding article on the use of ethanol this evening from the Fall edition of "Regulation Magazine", from the CATO Institute. I thought might be worth sharing:

This article, by James and Stephen Eaves, and goes through the numbers in far more detail than I would care to quote. I would however, like to share the conclusion of that article with you especially: "When we assume that the ethanol production process is full renewable, it would take all the corn in the country to displace about 3.5% of our gasoline consumption - only slightly more than we could displace by making by making sure drivers' tires are inflated properly.

There are also ethical considerations. In particular, the United State is responsible for over 40 percent of the world's corn supply and 70 percent of total global exports. Even small diversions of corn supplies to ethanol could have dramatic implications for the world's poor, especially considering that researchers believe that food production will need to triple by the year 2050 to accommodate expected demands."  

Pretty heady stuff... As a sometimes "compassionate conservative" therefore, I must therefore strongly suggest that the country re-evaluate its energy policy concerning ethanol.
  • I do not ask this because without government subsidies, that ethanol production is not currently a viable energy option economically.
  • I do not ask this because recent studies have shown that ethanol produces more pollution than fossil fuels.
  • I do not ask this because current increases in corn prices and corn futures are putting scandalous profits in the hands of evil corporate farmers and speculators.
  • I do not ask this because, except as an additive, ethanol does considerable damage to current version of internal combustion engines that is used today.
I ask instead, that we find the compassion in our hearts not to take the food out of the mouths of starving people all over the world, both now and in the future. I ask so that we can use this corn as a source of good in the world, instead of an example of our own greed. I ask, in the hope that we look beyond our own selfish needs and look instead to ease the suffering of "the children". I ask that we not burn up one of the few things on the planet that this country is capable of exporting. (OK, so I haven't gone completely soft in the head.) Hey, isn't this the kind of emotional, heart-tugging, feel-good nonsense that is so often used by those of the liberal persuasion on us? Man this stuff can be fun! (and please, check the air in your tires tomorrow....)


Anonymous said...

This is a great article. Thanks for pointing it out. Unfortunately, with iowa leading the national primaries, I doubt we'll see an end of this subsidy for a long time.

I forwarded the article to my representatives nonetheless.
Thanks again.

Tim Higgins said...

This always seems to be the problem. We allow compassion (in this case for not only the environment, but for the farmer as well) overcomes both our common sense and the science.

What I found fascinating was in taking the approach that this so-called environmentally friendly policy would cause people to go hungry. The whole concept of fighting compassion with compassion just tickles the hell out of me.