Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ending ethanol subsidies, still working on the technology

Congress' alleged aversion to subsidies hasn't had much useful results that I can tell, but there is one exception:  the end to three decades of ethanol subsidies, and the massive tariff on imported ethanol.  The environmental impact is less clear because the requirement to oxygenate gas remains, so the ethanol will still get produced - it's just that the oil industry won't be getting a $6 billion annual undeserved tax writeoff.  Still, a good step.

Another longer term possibility is using scientific research to change corn yield to emphasize ethanol production, something that can change a borderline wasteful product into something useful.  We'll see, maybe it'll work.

In other news, the guys at the Breakthrough Institute apparently have a new book arguing the groundbreaking concept that science and technology can be used to solve our environmental problems.  I'm underwhelmed.  I'd be more whelmed though if instead of saying new tech solutions must include nuclear, they said that it could include nuclear, and let the performance of various solutions play themselves out.

To be fair, I haven't read it so maybe there's something interesting there.