From Financial Times.com comes this great news:
“Fears of a global food crisis swept the world’s commodity markets as prices for staples such as corn, rice and wheat spiralled after the US government warned of “dramatically” lower supplies.”
“An especially hot summer in the US, droughts in countries including Russia and Brazil and heavy rain in Canada and Europe have hit many grain and oilseed crops this year. This has raising concern of a severe squeeze in food supplies and a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis.”
The article goes on to point out that the US stock of corn is down to 900 million bushels, the lowest in 16 years. And other countries are starting to cut off exports and hoarde what they have.
I could not find current figures for 2010, but one site says this about how much corn the US turned into ethanol five years ago–I can only assume it is more now:
“Most of the 4 billion gallons of ethanol produced in 2005 came from 13% of the U.S. corn crop (1.43 billion bushels of corn grain). This represents a 17% increase from the 3.4 billion gallons produced in 2004. Ethanol is widely used as a fuel additive….”
I’m no fan of ethanol, but this is ridiculous. We are turning corn into gasoline additive while our supply of corn is getting dangerously low.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see all the campaigning butt pirates go back to Washington just to cut the production of corn into ethanol to zero until further notice? That would show true leadership about a real worldwide crisis, and would likely calm the world markets. Nah, that’s too sensible. Nevere happen. We will just wait until the world is in a panic. There is no guarantee that next year, or the year after will be better. And they could be much worse. Is this how The End begins?
p.s. Oh, great. A new study claims that switchgrass is a much more efficient product from which to produce ethanol: “switchgrass ethanol delivers 540 percent of the energy used to produce it, compared with just roughly 25 percent more energy returned by corn-based ethanol according to the most optimistic studies.” At the time of the study there were no refineries capable of turning switchgrass into ethanol. So build them. And in the mean time leave the corn for us animals. And for Bourban, don’t forget the Bourban. And moonshine.