You Hate Ethanol For All The Wrong Reasons

May 2, 2008 at 12:03 pm 5 comments

Hate Ethanol

Attention all Ethanol haters: You really don’t know what you are talking about. All the manufactured hysteria blaming ethanol for high food prices is getting out of hand, and people need to wake up to reality. Blame the oil companies, folks – not farmers.

I usually don’t agree with George Bush, but listen to the truth he let slip out at a news conference when a reporter asked him the following question:

Reporter: The World Bank says about 85 percent of the increase in corn price since 2002 is due to biofuel — increased demand for biofuels. And your Secretary of State said that — indicated yesterday that she thought that might be part of the problem. Do you agree with that? And what can the United States do — what more can the United States do to help make food more affordable around the world?

THE PRESIDENT: Actually, I have a little different take: I thought it was
85 percent of the world’s food prices are caused by weather, increased demand and energy prices — just the cost of growing product — and that 15 percent has been caused by ethanol, the arrival of ethanol.

“By the way, the high price of gasoline is going to spur more investment in ethanol as an alternative to gasoline. And the truth of the matter is it’s in our national interests that our farmers grow energy, as opposed to us purchasing energy from parts of the world that are unstable or may not like us.

“One thing I think that would be — I know would be very creative policy is if we — is if we would buy food from local farmers as a way to help deal with scarcity, but also as a way to put in place an infrastructure so that nations can be self-sustaining and self-supporting. It’s a proposal I put forth that Congress hasn’t responded to yet, and I sincerely hope they do”

Holy shit!

That sounds a whole lot like the message local food movements have been crying out for years, doesn’t it? George Bush, for once, is right. To keep blaming corn for high food prices is the height of ignorance. Sure, there are correlations, but to place all the blame on it simply shows there are many uneducated people out there. Take a look at this price index and decide for yourself what is the REAL reason for food prices skyrocketing:

So, let me REPEAT: Oil is the cause of food prices, and we can make fuel from things OTHER THAN CORN. Therefore, it’s not ETHANOL’s fault, rather the existing agricultural system in place supporting the WAY WE SUPPORT ETHANOL. Get it yet?

Corn gets you about 200 gallons of ethanol per acre. Here are some lovely examples of different feedstocks we can use:

Cattails – 2,500 gallons per acre (12.5 X more than corn)
Sorghum – 3,500 gallons per acre (17.5 X more than corn)
Fodder beats – 940 gallons per acre (4.7 X more than corn)
SOURCE

There are about 30 more feedstocks, from fruit to 70 million acres of weeds (mesquite) that we can make fuel from. And before you get all worked up over the food VS fuel argument, anyone can look at world crop production and see that we produce around twice the calories we need to feed everyone. What we have is a money shortage, since food is a commodity and not a right: Whoever can pay for it gets to buy it.

So it’s policies that need to change, folks. If you are angry enough, maybe it’s time to turn off the TV and video games and get involved a lot more. You can start by making sure you get involved by educating your politicians (Send them a copy of this book), supporting your local farmers, finding alternative transportation other than driving everywhere, and planting food at home.

This way we can start acting like grown ups and fix our problems instead of letting lobbyists and corporations continue to screw things up even more.

BONUS: Listen to Burt Bacharach & The Posies’ “What The World Needs Now” for 20 extra Karma points

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Entry filed under: Activism, Peak Oil, Solutions. Tags: , , , .

Converting Lawns into Farms/Gardens Makes the Cover the of the Wall Street Journal A Grand Theft Of Intelligence

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bubbaa  |  May 2, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    We don’t have a “money shortage” perhaps you meant some people don’t make enough money to affords enough food, mostly in 3rd world countries, but more and more here in the USA as well.

    Actually the FED has created alot of money lately. Although the M3 umbers are hidden, but estimates are 500billion to 1 trillion in the past Since Jan 07. Thus, the inflationary pressures and the dollar tanking compared to other currencies…

    Ethanol not a viable method as you point out, in its current form–so yes the way Ethanol should be harvested needs to change–yesterday. Current production is a net energy loser, but cellulosic derived ethanol defintely could be an net energy gain.

    But most folks are pissed about Ethanol in it’s current incarnation not its “future” incarnation–thus the backlash again Ethanol from many scientists/ecologist.

    But again “money shortage” really doesn’t explain the issue, more people need to do as you suggest and start a ‘backyard’ garden, rather than hope that some sort of socialistic “money” solution will drop in their laps. Sure the system is messed, and some still hope to change it, but as the old Indian dude once said ‘be the change you wish to see in the world”

    I’ll be waiting for the Ethanol Semi’s to ship all the shiny shit and processed food to the masses, wonder how long I’ll be waiting for that?

    Reply
  • 2. Scott  |  May 14, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    The increase in cost of food can be linked to farmers growing corn for ethanol-based fuels: it’s all about the economic principle of opportunity cost. Greater demand for biofuels has caused higher prices for the ingredients of biofuels, which includes corn. The higher prices are enough to lure farmers from growing soy or wheat, which results in a reduced supply of those crops. Less soy & wheat means higher prices, since demand will always remain high for those crops: we need to eat.

    Reply
    • 3. Michael  |  December 11, 2013 at 3:48 pm

      once corn ethanol is done with the processing, there is always waste from the proccessing of the corn into ethanol. the waste is looks like grinded corn, which can and is used as feed for livestock. livestock = food. there are other crops that you eat too.
      so really all of yall ethanol haters are focusing on corn as your main source of food. (its not). and yes you can always make this fuel from dead plants. or silage. you always have other options.
      so quit being so damn picky. this is coming from an ethanol producer btw…

      Reply
  • 4. peakoilboy  |  May 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Scott,

    Try going back and re-reading the article. Apparently you didn’t learn enough.

    Wheat prices have gone up due to massive drought in Australia and other factors. You are using a simple corn argument that doesn’t stand up to the facts.

    Reply
  • 5. My Wife Is Naked  |  November 25, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    rpuj

    Reply

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