Monday, March 2, 2009

People catching on to the second-generation biofuel scam

Obama had so much fun getting burned for his misguided support of state subsidies to corn ethanol producers that he's decided to do it again, this time with "next generation" biofuels that use things like prairie grasses to fuel SUVs instead of food. The thinking behind it is that despite the fact that corn-based ethanol caused massive increases in the price of food around the world, these "newer" and "greener" biofuels will use "marginal land" instead of crop land, and so will not be as harmful. This, of course, is bullshit, as I've written about earlier. Others are beginning to come around to this fact, and Counterpunch has a great article on the dangers of biofuels.

So far, Obama's energy plan has featured, as a cornerstone, tons of subsidization of "green" energy – first in corn ethanol, and later in advanced biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal, and some various other technologies. It's only been a few years since Obama's risen to prominence and taken a definitive stand on energy issues, but his record ain't too hot: corn-based ethanol and "advanced" biolfuels are looking like definite failures, wind is looking not too great, and the production of regulated solar panels has the nasty side effect of releasing a chemical which is much better at warming the planet than carbon dioxide.

The American government spends a lot of money making sure that Americans have access to cheap energy, so it's odd Obama wouldn't look into cutting subsidies for un-environmentally friendly suburban sprawl and automobiles rather than trying to play master scientist and build a perpetual motion machine.

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