Saving the Planet, Starving the Poor

Another catch-up from yesterday, here is a frightening thought:

And it has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank. “The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil,” says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group. “We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they’re beginning to fuse.”

That’s right, ethanol is making it harder and harder for people to put food on their plate. Not just because it makes it harder to buy grain, but because of all of the other uses grain has as it relates to food production, particularly when it comes to feeding livestock. Read the whole thing…

I’ve talked before about the potential pratfalls of switching to an ethanol based fuel situation, whether it relates to the impact on the poor, increased pollution due to higher grain production, or the further degradation of rain forests. And once again I can’t emphasize enough the idea that people are jumping headfirst into support ethanol production no matter how wasteful ethanol production is and how much the increased use and production of ethanol may hurt, not help, our environment.

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Obviously, the private sector needs to take the initiative in creating alternatives to both the use of oil and the use of ethanol in fuel consumption. Clearly, if there is a way to produce cleaner fuels we need to investigate those alternatives but we certainly should not do so at the cost of making it harder and harder for our working families to put food on the table.


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