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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Score One For McCain

Corn ethanol generates less than two units of energy for every unit of energy used to produce it, while the energy ratio for sugar cane is more than 8 to 1. With lower production costs and cheaper land prices in the tropical countries where it is grown, sugar cane is a more efficient source. Ethanol is one area in which Senator Obama strongly disagrees with his Republican opponent, Senator McCain. While both presidential candidates emphasize the need for the United States to achieve “energy security” while also slowing down the carbon emissions that are believed to contribute to global warming, they offer sharply different visions of the role that ethanol should play in those efforts.
Mr. McCain advocates eliminating the multibillion-dollar annual government subsidies that domestic ethanol has long enjoyed. As a free trade advocate, he also opposes the 54-cent-a-gallon tariff that the United States slaps on imports of ethanol made from sugar cane, which packs more of an energy punch than corn-based ethanol and is cheaper to produce. Mr. Obama, in contrast, favors the subsidies, some of which end up in the hands of the same oil companies he says should be subjected to a windfall profits tax. In the name of helping the United States build “energy independence,” he also supports the tariff, which some economists say may well be illegal under the World Trade Organization’s rules but which his advisers say is not.
More here.
Follow Up 06/24: A little more fuel on the fire. Oxfam reports that the replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty! More here.
*Feel free to disagree! Make your voice heard in the comments section below.

posted by CASFS 2006 @ 11:11 PM

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