The Rhetorical Impact of the Global Warming Bandwagon

by William Yeatman on April 29, 2008

Cellulosic ethanol—derived from wood scraps and other forms of inedible plant mass– may or may not turn out to be a real technological breakthrough.  On the one hand, it could reduce the ruinous impacts of grain-based ethanol on food prices.  On the other hand, the extensive set of federal mandates and subsidies for cellulosic ethanol is not a good omen—good technologies rarely need federal help, and the existence of federal aid is often a tip-off that a new technology is a loser.


But here’s another question: if cellulosic ethanol does take off, what impact would that have on the clichés we use?  Would we have to scrap the old saying about separating the wheat from the chaff, and instead talk about separating the chaff from the wheat?

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