UN: Hunger will be worsened by ethanol

You know you’re in trouble when even the United Nations says your “green” doings are morally unconscionable.

The practical problems with corn-derived ethanol being used as fuel for automobile motors, landscaping tool motors, and outboard motors are too numerous to mention. The short version of the story is that ethanol causes water to condense in fuel systems, leading to nightmares for users.

But the very idea that using crops to make the internal combustion engine “greener” and therefore more moral is simply wrong. As I elaborate upon in my book, it is particularly egregious when soy markets spike due to the conversion of soy to motor fuel, as tempeh and other soy products are the only affordable form of protein in much of the world. It turns out that the road to hell really is paved with good intentions.

Now, incredibly, even the United Nations agrees. The director general of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Jose Graziano da Silva, said suspension of the United States quota requiring 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop to be turned into fuel should be suspended immediately. Citing the drought in the American heartland, da Silva argued that the world food supply was in peril. Which U.S. congressman will be the first to stand up to the potent ethanol lobby and say that food is more important than sub-par motor fuel?

We should be finding out any minute now …

About Harold Ambler

I am a lifelong environmentalist. I started my journalism career at The New Yorker, where I worked as a copy editor. Since then, my own work has appeared in The New York Daily News, The National Review Online, The Atlantic Wire, The Huffington Post, The Berkeley Daily Planet, The Providence Journal, Brown Alumni Monthly, The Narragansett Times, Rhode Island Monthly, and Providence Business News.
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