30 March, 2007

Bush Turns US Energy Policy Into A Corny Joke

It’s quite possible that George Bush is genuinely insane. After all, he does believe that he can hold conversations with invisible beings, and he did seem to believe that the Iraqi people would welcome the ‘liberating’ American army – something almost everyone else in the world could see was a mad delusion. The scary thing though is that, because he’s the Commander-in-Chief of the biggest military force on the planet and the veto-in-chief of the world’s biggest economy, people actually take him seriously. Invading Iraq was clearly the work of a madman – whatever his real motives, it was just mind-bogglingly stupid – but his more recently-announced plan to replace 20% of the USA’s petrol consumption with ethanol produced from corn is just breathtaking in its idiocy.

Such staggering amounts of corn would be needed to achieve even a tenth of this goal that it will completely distort and disrupt world agriculture. It will send the price of corn through the roof (it has already doubled since the January 2007 announcement) and will cause widespread hardship throughout the world – especially the third world. Even here in the West we can expect price rises in many staples including meat and dairy produce as high feed prices work their way up the food chain.

Now, I’m not saying that 3 billion people will die of starvation, as Fidel Castro did recently, but I am saying that there is going to be a lot of disruption and a lot of suffering and probably a lot of starvation (easily enough to put the death toll in Iraq well into the shade). There will also be some inflation. And there will be more negative reaction from around the world, reinforcing the impression that Americans are selfish and callous and careless of the way even their domestic policies can affect poor countries.

Even domestically, replacing petrol with ethanol is a slightly longer-term option as it relies on some technical problems being solved first – and they all require more energy to produce than you get back from the ethanol!

It’s not all bad news. Bush won’t be president for much longer and all his savage, neo-con cronies will be dumped along with their disastrous policies at the next election. Maybe the new Democrat government will reverse this particular policy and find a less destructive way of reducing domestic petrol consumption. We can only hope. Sadly, there are no left-wing governments anymore, it’s just a matter of how far right they are. So I’m not expecting too much compassion from the new administration – but some would be nice.

And can we have someone at least half sane in the Oval Office next time, please?


bj said...

Um, that presupposes that there exist some US politicians who are "half sane". I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who said something along the lines of anyone who wants to be President shouldn't be allowed to run. I think he had the right idea.

Despite our current Repressive US Regime, there are signs of sanity. Both the Senate and the House bucked the Bush Surge agenda in Iraq, which is good news (though Bush will probably veto, since Jesus is whispering in his ear again, telling him to slay the infidels and claim the prize-- their oil, while keeping corporations like Blackwater and Haliburton in the chips.)

And a Federal Judge just struck down Bush's rewrite of the US Federal Forest Management Rules.

I just hope some semblance of sanity comes before it's too late.

And people who aren't from the US, please remember that reallyreallyreally close to half of us didn't vote for Dubya. And I'm one of them.

graywave said...

BJ, we all live in hope.

By the way, I'm quite prepared to believe that slightly more than half of you voted against Beaver (sorry, Bush) but that you were badly let down by your electoral system. But don't worry, I'm sure electronic voting will solve all those counting and legitimiacy problems :-)

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