18 December 2007

Corn's not just for eating anymore

NY Times: Increasing ethanol production, spurred by government incentives, concern about global warming, and the desire for energy independence, could be starting to impact the food supply. Cross-reference to the Economist (whence the graph): the upturn in prices is the biggest since the 1970s.

I can't say it's surprising, given that most estimates I've seen conclude that ethanol couldn't supply the world's energy even if all the farmland on the planet were converted to biomass production. But it is surprising that it's happened so early in the movement to drop fossil fuels. If this is the wave of the future, Americans could someday find themselves literally taking food out of the mouths of the Third World to fuel their cars. That's a terrible thought.

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