Invasive Ethanol

by William Yeatman on June 30, 2008

We know that corn ethanol is causing catastrophic problems world-wide.


Just this week, Keith Collins, the former chief economist of the Department of Agriculture said that in the next 2-3 years, increases in retail food prices are estimated to be up to one-quarter to one-third higher than the normal increase in food prices because of corn-based ethanol. His report also states, “a mathematical simulation was used to estimate that about 60 percent of the increase in corn prices from 2006 to 2008 may be due to the increase in corn used in ethanol.”


And Oxfam, an international aid agency, reports that the replacement of traditional fuels with biofuels has dragged more than 30 million people worldwide into poverty.

“But now, biologists and botanists are warning that (plants grown to make cellulosic ethanol), too, may bring serious unintended consequences. Most of these newer crops are what scientists label invasive species — that is, weeds — that have an extraordinarily high potential to escape biofuel plantations, overrun adjacent farms and natural land, and create economic and ecological havoc in the process,” according to the New York Times.

Already, “it is estimated that the damage from invasive species costs the world more than $1.4 trillion annually – five percent of the global economy. The US alone spends $120 billion annually on the control and impacts of more than 800 invasive species infestations.”


The $1.4 trillion estimate of damages caused by invasive species is almost certainly ridiculously high, but nonetheless jatropha, switchgrass, kudzu, giant reed, and other invasive plants are what alarmist politicians have already decreed that our country use in our gasoline in the coming years.  Where were the risk assessments and the cost-benefit analyses?

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