Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Bloomberg on Ethanol

Within a speech decrying the gap between science (what we know) and politics (what we do). This guy scared me when he first ran b/c, well, he ran on his own money and we were at a time when it was (is) wise to be skeptical of all politicians intentions. But, he has grown on me quite a bit, particularly as he correctly describes the politics behind corn ethanol, and for his desire to see New York as a leader again in the competition of global cities -- hint to mayors, new highways no longer mean progress - removing highways indicates it. Fundamental rule, if it is still a cradle-to-grave solution, in this case using vast amounts of land to make a drop of gas for cars, particularly when it is heavily subsidized, that solution has a very limited future. He states:
For years, politicians have hailed corn ethanol as the answer to climate change. It was all so simple. Instead of requiring fuel efficiency, or funding mass transit, we could have our cake, or in this case corn, and drive cars with it too, and, in the process, divert millions of tax dollars a year to farm states. The only problem was this policy wasn’t based on science. For years, research has questioned the environmental benefits of corn ethanol, and now widespread production of corn ethanol has turned out to be an environmental and economic calamity. It not only imperils the world’s climate by encouraging the widespread destruction of climate-crucial forests and wetlands, but also drives up the cost of one the world’s most important cereal crops.