It’s hard to find a voice outside the Midwest or Archer Daniels Midland buildings that support the use of biofuels and ethanol as a means for filling gas tanks. Environmentalists and especially world hunger groups are adamantly expressing their concern about the unintended consequences of biofuels policy.
Christopher Booker and Richard North have a terrific piece in the Telegraph discussing the unique story of biofuels and how this policy went from pipedream to absolute disaster. It chronicles the history of biofuel policy and how its implementation has led to rising food prices. They note that
According to the World Bank’s top economist, Don Mitchell, biofuels had been responsible for three-quarters of the 140 per cent rise in world food prices between 2002 and 2008.”
Oxfam International says that these policies have pushed 30 million people into poverty. Even the head of Britain’s Renewable Fuels Agency is calling for a change:
So devastating has been this onslaught on biofuels that last Monday, Ed Gallagher, chairman of our new Renewable Fuels Agency, published a report recommending that Britain should drastically review its policy, slowing the introduction of biofuels and concentrating on “second-generation biofuels”, such as crop wastes and wood chips, that do not compete with food production.”
One alternative source of energy that already provides 20 percent of the nation’s electricity is nuclear power. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown wants eight new reactors to come on board by 2015 and says the sky’s the limit in terms of building new nuclear.
It’s time politicians here at home seriously consider changing its biofuel policy and repeal the ethanol mandate along with any tariffs that discourage imports. Furthermore, they should follow U.S. Ander Crenshaw’s lead in advocating nuclear energy; today he wrote a column supporting the four new reactors that could come to Florida pending approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. If anything, it is important that Congress not overlook the benefits of nuclear energy when debating CO2 regulation.