Al Gore presidential aspirations cost US $16 billion in worthless ethanol subsidies and caused world’s poor to pay more for food

November 22, 2010 11:27

Gore said “One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.” -Reuters

Even though ethanol has been shown to have no environmental benefits and in fact harms the environment those who get rich of its subsidies don’t want it to go away. An Investors Business Daily article recently pointed out the problems with ethanol:

“A report by the Paris-based International Council for Science says clearing land for the production of biofuels has aggravated rather than ameliorated global warming. It releases nitrous oxide as well as CO2. Nitrous oxide is said to trap heat at a rate 300 times greater than an equal amount of CO2.”

“Even some environmentalists have gotten wise to the ethanol scam. The Environmental Working Group and five other groups not long ago came out against a further bailout. Subsidies “for corn-based ethanol,” they said, “have produced unintended, yet potentially catastrophic environmental consequences, with little or no return to taxpayers in energy security (or) protection from global warming.””

The ethanol subsidy program is up for renewal this year and its supporters are scrambling to get the lame duck congress to extend the $7 billion dollar a year boondoggle.

A 2007 National Center for Public Policy Research report titled ‘Thanks to Congress, Ethanol and Biofuel Mandates Cause Food Prices to Soar‘ said increased ethanol production was causing a rise in food prices and actually causes harm to the environment:

“Enter the U.S. Congress.  Driven by powerful agribusiness and ethanol lobby interests, Congress is dead-set on further raising the “renewable fuel standard” for ethanol and biofuels, showing little regard for inflated food prices, its impact on the poor, and the recent stream of scientific studies showing ethanol’s harmful impact on the environment.

If the energy bill currently in negotiations between the House and Senate passes, Americans will be required to increase their portion of ethanol-based fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022, a monumental increase from the current 7.5 billion gallons mandate by 2012.  Twenty-one billion gallons of that must come from the still unproven, land-reliant “cellulosic” technology that turns cornstalks and switchgrass into ethanol.  The remaining 15 billion gallons must come from corn.

For what?  We have known for years that ethanol, like other “poster child” renewables that were supposed to end our dependence on oil, is not all that and a bag of corn chips.  More recently, we’ve learned its effect is even worse than we thought and that, as the OECD reports, “the cure [may be] worse than the disease.”9

Producing biofuels leaves a huge ecological footprint, exceeding that of fossil fuels.  The recent OECD report finds, “When… soil acidification, fertilizer use, biodiversity loss, and toxicity of agricultural pesticides are taken into account, the overall environmental impacts of ethanol and biofuels can very easily exceed those of petrol and mineral diesel.”10

Similarly, nitrous oxide released in the production of biofuels actually increases  greenhouse gas emissions – about twice as much as previously thought – and, in the view of Nobel Laureate scientist Paul Crutzen, is likely contributing to global warming.11

Moreover, ethanol requires enormous quantities of water, a valuable resource already in short supply in many areas of the nation.  Producing one gallon of ethanol fuel, including the water needed to grow corn, requires an astonishing 1,700 gallons of water, according to Cornell University ecology professor David Pimentel.12

As the New York Times recently summarized in an editorial on biofuel: “What’s wrong is letting politics – the kind that leads to unnecessary subsidies, the invasion of natural landscapes… and soaring food prices that hurt the poor – rather than sound science and sound economics drive America’s energy policy.”13

According to the Reuters article Gore admitted knowing of the increased food prices.

“The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

“The competition with food prices is real.”

So we have the great environmental hypocrite admitting that his presidential ambitions were the deciding factor in creating a monstrously wasteful government program that not only was detrimental to the environment but caused millions of Americans and possibly billions of people around the world to have to pay higher food prices. Welcome to the politics of environmentalism.

Just yesterday we posted a story about the UN IPCC official admitting that the whole climate discussion is about redistribution of wealth not about the environment.

How long will we let these crooks convince us of their pure motives while they rob us blind?

~ Editor

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