Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hutchison Calls for a Biofuel Mandate Moratorium

Kay Bailey Hutchison has proposed freezing biofuel mandates at current levels.
"In recent weeks, the correlation between government biofuel mandates and rapidly rising food prices has become undeniable," Hutchison said in a statement on her website.

"At a time when the US economy is facing recession, Congress needs to reform its food-to-fuel policies and look at alternatives to strengthen energy security."
As I've said before, corn-based ethanol will likely kill millions of people worldwide.

But we've got to be on the lookout for unintended consequences. If you freeze the mandates, you may easily kill investment into cellulosic ethanol, which might turn out to be a viable sustainable technology. (Or not--I keep trying to imagine the large-scale collection of woody vegetation and don't see how it doesn't whack out arable soil chemistry and/or generate huge transportation costs that screw up the economics. But it's obviously about a million times better than corn.)

I'd be in favor of retargeting the mandates towards cellulosic and pushing tax credits towards that technology. PV, cellulosic, wind, and nukes seem to be the high-runners at this point.

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