It seems that mainstream media reporters have finally started to realize that ethanol isn’t the environmental salvation it was hyped to be.
Reporter Michael Grunwald called the push for corn-based ethanol a “clean energy scam” that is “dramatically accelerating global warming” and “imperiling the planet in the name of saving it.” He wrote that the unintended consequences of the ethanol boom “could haunt the planet for generations.”
Grunwald’s problem with corn ethanol isn’t that it’s driving up food prices – although he at least acknowledged the food inflation consequence. No, his main concern is that the booming artificial demand for ethanol is quickening the destruction of rainforests.
“An explosion in demand for farm-grown fuels has raised global crop prices to record highs, which is spurring dramatic expansion of Brazilian agriculture, which is invading the Amazon at an increasingly alarming rate,” Grunwald wrote.
Mandates for ethanol have increased demand for corn, driving up its price. As more
But according to the magazine, the deforestation of the Amazon is more than an attack on an environmentalist Holy Grail. It’s also counterproductive to efforts to reduce carbon emissions with biofuels because the vegetation in the dense forests helps trap carbon. When trees are cut down for farmland carbon dioxide is released.
“Everyone I interviewed in
But Time still found a way to blame business, noting that increased agricultural production is “backed by billions in investment capital, this alarming phenomenon is replicating itself around the world.”
Grunwald noted that government mandates for ethanol use are manipulating the markets. “Robert Watson, the top scientist at the
“Someone is paying to support these environmentally questionable industries: you,” he noted. In 2007 the
“Strange as it sounds,” Grunwald concluded, “we’re better off growing food and drilling for oil. Sure, we should conserve fuel and buy efficient cars, but we should keep filling them with gas if the alternatives are dirtier.”
Despite criticism from conservatives for years, only recently have journalists started paying attention to the negative impacts of ethanol such as food inflation, market manipulation, higher gas prices, more harm to the environment.