Last week two studies published in Science announced what anyone might have suspected all along. “Biofuels,” rather than reducing carbon emissions, are adding to them — possibly by a factor of nearly 100!
The two studies may finally puncture the myth that anything is to be gained from burning crops for fuel. From the very beginning, there was never any indication that turning corn into ethanol was improving our energy independence. As that effort faltered, the myth arose that at least it was reducing carbon emissions. Now it has been shown to do neither.
How did we ever get into this? The historical record makes it fairly clear. It was a combination of ill-thought-out ideas from “alternate energy” enthusiasts (most of them trying to find a way around nuclear power), plus politicians who think they can override the laws of nature by passing legislation. With these two to guide us, we have ended up in the position of General Jubilation T. Cornpone of the L’il Abner cartoon:p> em>With our ammunition gone and facing utter defeat, br> Who was it that burned the crops so we had nothin’ to eat? /em> /p>
Maybe we should erect a statue of General Corpone outside the Department of Energy.
Meanwhile, thanks to a 51-cents-per-gallon tax break, 25 percent of the American corn crop is being turned into ethanol. Farmland prices are soaring and food prices are escalating all over the world.
Untangling that mess will be a job for the next President. The only candidate who has been willing to tackle the issue so far is GOP favorite John McCain, who bravely criticized ethanol subsidies during the Iowa caucuses.p>From the beginning, the entire biofuels effort has been built on flimsy projections and dubious accounting that were seized upon by politicians eager to demonstrate they were “doing something” about energy. The whole fiasco can probably be traced to a single paragraph in Amory Lovins Soft Energy Paths , the 1976 book that inspired President Carter’s embrace of “alternate energy” and convinced California Governor Jerry Brown that his state didn’t need to build any more power plants. (Google “California Electrical Shortage” to see what happened there.) In one hasty brushstroke, Lovins outlined what a national biofuels industry might look like: br>
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?