Jim Letourneau's Blog

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Ethanol Examined

A study published last year in the journal Science found that U.S. production of corn-based ethanol increases emissions by 93% compared with using gasoline, when expected world-wide land-use changes are taken into account.

White House to Step Up Ethanol Efforts

Interestingly enough, the current issue of Science has an article by Dan Charles - Corn-Based Ethanol Flunks Key Test

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted a low-carbon fuel standard that requires greater use of fuels that cause lower greenhouse gas emissions, compared with gasoline. Corn-based ethanol doesn't meet that test and won't benefit from the new standard, CARB says, because diverting corn into ethanol production increases deforestation and the clearing of grasslands.

It looks like lobbying by the developing biofuels industry will be challenging some pretty basic science. Why would the Obama government want to subsidize an industry that has marginal benefit to the war on climate change?

This reminds me of the Flight of the Conchords episode where Bret starts selling super straws (for people who like to drink from far away) for a dollar because they have fallen on hard times due to his purchase of a coffee cup.

Later Jeremy asks Bret how many straws go into each super straw... "Five"... and how much do they cost? "25 cents".

Spending $1.25 to make a buck might not be good policy.