Ethanol and Food

Looks like certain people are getting the idea that pushing ethanol isn't a magic solution to all of our problems. Turns out there's some side effects that were entirely predictable, but that short-sighted politicians in search of sound bites apparently ignored... or they just didn't think the problem through.

It takes over 450 pounds of corn, enough calories to feed one person for a year, to produce 25 gallons of ethanol. Pressures on world food crops caused by increased ethanol production mean higher world prices for both processed and staple foods.

While ethanol subsidies and mandates benefit corn producers, consumers, especially those in poor countries, are hit with the shock of much higher food prices. The World Bank estimates that nearly 3 billion people live on $2 a day or less. Consider the devastating impact of the increased cost of staple grains.

Rolling Stone magazine recently nailed the problem in an article by Jeff Goodell, "Ethanol Scam: Ethanol Hurts the Environment And Is One of America's Biggest Political Boondoggles." Goodell says, "The great danger of confronting peak oil and global warming isn't that we will sit on our collective [behinds] and do nothing while civilization collapses, but that we will plunge after 'solutions' that will make our problems even worse. Like believing we can replace gasoline with ethanol, the much-hyped biofuel that we make from corn."
I dunno which is worse, if politicians wouldn't think the problem through and realize that pushing ethanol will take corn away from the food industry, or if they knew it and ignored it.