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What about biofuels?


Corn Can't Solve Our Problem

The world has come full circle. A century ago our first transportation biofuels - the hay and oats fed to our horses - were replaced by gasoline. Today, ethanol from corn and biodiesel from soybeans have begun edging out gasoline and diesel.

This has been hailed as an overwhelmingly positive development that will help us reduce the threat of climate change and ease our dependence on foreign oil. In political circles, ethanol is the flavor of the day, and presidential candidates have been cycling through Iowa extolling its benefits. Lost in the ethanol-induced euphoria, however, is the fact that three of our most fundamental needs - food, energy, and a livable and sustainable environment - are now in direct conflict. Moreover, our recent analyses of the full costs and benefits of various biofuels, performed at the University of Minnesota, present a markedly different and more nuanced picture than has been heard on the campaign trail.

Interested in alternative renewable energy sources? Before you fill out Mark Densmore's simple "Renewable Energy Survey" on the Yes! Wind Power website he maintains for UPC supporters, you might want to enter the discussion of biofuels through this informative article by Tilman and Hill in Sunday's Washington Post. Be sure to continue by reading the comments that follow. Then go back and try out Mark's survey. This whole subject isn't quite as simple as it might appear, is it?

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