Saturday, March 15, 2008

Ethanol to Blame for Surging Food Costs

Food prices are on the rise, corn ethanol mania is a big part of the problem reports MSNBC. Yes, the dollar is crashing on world markets and energy prices are skyrocketing (I just saw 4 dollar gas for the first time with my own eyes today), but feed (read corn, soybean) prices are to blame for as much as 70 percent of the rise in food costs, reports MSNBC.

Ethanol supporters in government (specifically those "from the ethanol-producing states) urge patience. We're in the "early stages" of converting organic material into fuel, notes Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. In the coming years, he explains, it won't be food that's turned into fuel but "corn stalks, switchgrass, woody pulp material, or other things.”

So what's the rush? Why not wait until our conversion technologies have caught up?

Raising particular concern at Pound360 are comments by Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson. He told MSNBC the surge in food prices is a temporary problem that will be solved when farmers start bringing more land into production.

Never mind the fact, Sen. Nelson, that farming all that extra land means sending more fertilizer into the Gulf of Mexico, which will
expand the growing "dead zone" there.

Never mind the fact, Sen. Nelson, that all the farmland in the United States of America, converted to growing fuel crops,
couldn't serve a third of our oil demand.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.