But this time it’s a different tune.
Propelled by mounting anxieties over soaring oil costs and climate change, biofuels have become the vanguard of the green-tech revolution, the trendy way for politicians and corporations to show they’re serious about finding alternative sources of energy and in the process slowing global warming. The U.S. quintupled its production of ethanol–ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter–in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil’s filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline. Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from $5 billion in 1995 to $38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group. Renewable fuels has become one of those motherhood-and-apple-pie catchphrases, as unobjectionable as the troops or the middle class.
This is what happens when you let politicians determine what happens in the market. We see it over and over again and yet we somehow believe that this time it will be different.
The small print you can’t read in the cover shot above reads,
Politicians and Big Business are pushing biofuels as alternatives to oil. All they’re really doing is driving up food prices and making global warming worse–and you’re paying for it.
As always, isn’t it?
The subtitle to the article, which is hard to find online says,
Hyped as an eco-friendly fuel, ethanol increases global warming, destroys forests and inflates food prices. So why are we subsidizing it?
Next, and in fact already happening, environmentalists will bemoan increased mercury levels from broken and trashed energy saving bulbs. Recently mandated by our government.