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Monday, June 16, 2008

Biofuels Are Indefensible

Scathing editorial by the chairman of Nestle in the Wall Street Journal on the push for biofuels (including massive subsidies and mandates from government)

If there's one certainty, it is this: The production of biofuels has stimulated a massive, and destructive, reorientation of the world's agriculture markets. The U.S. Department of Energy calculates that every 10,000 liters of water produces as little as five liters of ethanol, or one to two liters of biodiesel. Biofuels are economical nonsense, ecologically useless and ethically
indefensible. This year, the U.S. will use around 130 million tons of corn for biofuels. This corn was not available as human food, nor as fodder to animals. Is this the right strategy, for a product that won't satisfy even a small percentage of our energy needs?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To the extent that he refers to the bandwagon/faddish nature of the "push" (well-stated) for biofuels, Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe is right on target. He's missing, though, the impact of economic development money that is being poured by over-eager governments into ethanol production and distribution facilities. If the government would stay out of this, the increase in production dedicated to energy would be only what the economy could sustain, and we'd see quite a bit less diversion of foodstocks to energy. Libertarians, why aren't we seeing this? We're also failing to mention that the higher price of corn will probably entice farmers to put more acreage into production, thus bringing the price down a bit (although that doesn't help the water problem about which Mr. Brabeck-Letmathe writes).