I’ve been reading so much lately about the looming energy crisis, and how nearly everyone seems to have their heads in the sand. While I don’t advocate the doom and gloom theory put forth by James Howard Kunstler in “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century“, I can’t figure out why the mainstream media isn’t constantly attacking our politicians over this. Could it be that their noggins occupy the very same sandbox?
In a rare moment of clarity, MSNBC.com published an article discussing the recent claims by agri-giants Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland that corn-produced ethanol can replace our soon-to-fade hydrocarbon economy. With corn prices rising, they have the most to gain in the short term, but surely they know this is not sustainable…or do they even care?
Here are some of the key points from the article:
- Last year the U.S. produced just under 4 billion gallons of ethanol, serving just 1 percent of U.S. fuel needs.
- If we used all the corn produced in the United States to produce ethanol, it would provide only 7 percent of our total vehicle fuel use.
- If every car in America was fully powered by ethanol, it would take 97 percent of U.S. soil to grow enough corn to support it.
- About 30 percent more fossil energy is required to produce a gallon of ethanol than you actually get out in ethanol.
- Corn causes more soil erosion in the United States than any other crop.
- Corn uses more nitrogen fertilizer than any other single crop, and it’s the prime cause of the dead zone down in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Corn also uses more insecticides and herbicides than any other crop.
- Each acre of corn drains 500,000 gallons of water over three months.
I know to the militant energy watchdog these bullets are old hat, but it was refreshing to see a corporate news wrangler actually willing to write against the current of complacency and wishful thinking.
Cheers to you Dylan Ratigan.