FRIDAY 5-02-08….Last year, an article was published in Foreign Affairs Magazine titled “How Biofuels Could Starve the Poor.” It was written by Professor C. Ford Runge, professor of applied economics and law at the University of Minnesota and a colleague Benjamin Senauer.

Professor Funge says “we were criticized for being alarmists at the time. But today, I think our views, looking back a year, were probably too conservative.” News headlines of today prove he’s right.

Ethanol was initially promoted as a way for America to cut back on foreign oil. In recent years, biofuels have also been touted as a way to fight global warming. Unfortunately, today’s food crisis is giving Ethanol a very bad report card. The professor says he doesn’t think anybody knows precisely how much ethanol contributes to the run up in food prices, but the contribution is clearly substantial. However, the International Food Policy research Institute says that between a quarter and a third of the recent hike in commodities prices is attributable to biofuels.

According to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the sharp rise in food prices has developed into a global crisis. He says the United Nations is very much concerned, as all other members of the international and we must take immediate action in a concerted way.

A news article in the New York Sun states “The campaign against climate change could be set back by the global food crisis, as foreign populations turn against measures to use foodstuffs as substitutes for fossil fuels.” It goes on to state “One factor being blamed for the price hikes is the use of government subsidies to promote the use of corn for ethanol production. An estimated thirty percent of America’s corn crop now goes to fuel….not food!

A December ‘06 article in Harvard Magazine states “The production of ethanol from either corn or sugar cane presents a new dilemma: whether feedstock should be devoted to food or fuel. The article titled “The Ethanol Illusion” went so far as to praise Senator John McCain for summing up the corn-ethanol energy initiative calling it “highway robbery perpetrated on the American public by Congress.” Just thought you oughtta’ know.


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