Friday, March 30, 2007

Food or Fuel?

Within the past couple of years there has been a big push for the use of ethanol and other biofuels, partly to reduce our dependance on imported oil. This is a good thing, right? Maybe not.

The diversion of part of the corn and soybean crop for the production of these fuels is already causing an increase in food prices. Part of the crop is being used for the production of fuel and so the supply goes down and the price goes up. The latest news is that the price of milk may rise nearly 10 per cent, partly because of the increase in cost of feed (mostly corn) for the cattle. Meanwhile, the price of regular fuel oil continues to rise. So we are being hit by price increases both at the grocery store and at the gas pump. Some of us may have to decide between feeding our families and putting gas in the car so we can go to work. And get I understand it, it takes some amount of energy to covert the corn into ethanol, so in terms of actual energy, are we really getting much value out of it?

Furthermore, you think the price of oil is volatile? (News Flash: the price of gas rose $0.30/gal today after a camel crapped in Iran). Just wait until a hailstorm destroys a cornfield in Iowa or a drought hits part of the corn belt. Heck even the forecast of a drought will bring huge price increases...and remember these increases will be for both fuel and food. We are treading down a dangerous path here. I think is a bad idea to be converting some of our food supply into fuel.

Instead of biofuels we should be looking at solar and nuclear power as well as geothermal energy and wind power. Solar power, wind power and geothermal energy are totally sustainable. They use essentially no resources and produce essentially no pollution.

So Sayeth The Shack