Gore’s First Confession
This week, while speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens Greece, the world was treated to the first signs that Al Gore is capable of admitting when he’s wrong on Environmental issues. In this case, he said that he made a mistake in supporting corn-based ethanol while he was in office, admitting he was more interested in farm votes for his presidential run than what was best for the environment.
So effectively, even Al Gore can be swayed by short term gains, rather than holding out for a more substantiated positions would include fully factored and truly long-term projections on the impacts of short-sighted policy. A good question at this point might be…Does All Gore see any difference between political gains and financial gains made at the expense of short-sighted Environmental policy.
Like any good politician Al Gore knows when to dissociate himself from a bad position. Though not in so many words, Gore has now effectively gone on record saying that (so called “first generation”) biofuels from corn are not only a bad idea ecologically, but they in fact are based on a false and wasteful economic model as well.
Some Stats to chew on:
- Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year, according to the International Energy Industry, and many of those tax credits will soon be up for renewal.
- The U.S. ethanol industry will consume about 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year, or 15 percent of the global corn crop, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.
Gore does take time to disclose the most obvious issues with the “first generation” ethanol production as a rather basic, but also very energy intensive process of converting corn to ethanol for use in vehicle engines.
“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens, Greece.
“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small,” he said, referring to how much energy is produced in the process.
He also goes on to say that “It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first generation ethanol”
Of course he’d never go so far as to suggest that the petrochemical driven farming methods that produce corn are ecologically unsound as well, since he still has a reputation to protect. By introducing the label of “first generation” to the subject of BioFuels, Gore has effectively created soem sort of upgrade path, where alternate sources of BioFuels weren’t overlooked, they are simply awaiting us in more advanced “generations” of this technology…Which he will surely take a stake in and publicly champion when the time is right presumably.
Where does he go from here?
So where’s Al going with BioFuels now that he’s seen the light? Gore was quoted saying that he instead supports so-called second generationtechnologies that do not compete with food — using farm waste or non-food sources like switchgrass to make ethanol. “I do think second and third generation that don’t compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels,” he added. Although he also adds that he did not expect a U.S. clean energy or climate bill for “at least two years” following the mid-term elections that saw Republicans increase their presence.
So now that the self-appointed spokesperson for the political Green Movement has spoken out on what Science and Commons Sense has been sayign for year…We can presume to start lookign forward to the next generation of BioFuels to get Gores green stamp of approval.
Perhaps when Shell and Exxon (et al) get a good enough stranglehold on biological patents for Algae based BioFuel that they can ramp up production to a level that will force small producers out of the picture, and assure the best returns on teh large Public MArkets. Especcially for those insiders who can get in on teh ground floor, and promote via their well financed platforms…be they politically motivated or otherwise.