Climate, Rainforest and Other Environmental Impacts of Corn Ethanol Gaining Prominence

Corn is food, not fuelOver a year ago, the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring massive increases in the production of ethanol and other biofuels. The Renewable Fuel Standard [search], passed as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, requires the nation to produce 36 billion gallons of biofuels [search] by 2022. At the moment, most of this comes from ethanol produced by corn, and in the future plans are to power vehicles from forests and other biomass.
Thankfully the ecological science and advocacy is catching up with the hype and hucksterism. Reasonable questions are being raised [ark] regarding the sustainability of corn-based ethanol, and even 2nd generation industrial plantation based biofuel and biochar production given finite land, fertilizers and water; and in the face of exponential increases in population and demand for energy.
Our recent alert with Rainforest Rescue has already led to partial success, as the decision on whether to increase the corn ethanol blend from 10% to 15% has been delayed for a year. It is highly likely this ongoing agrofuel protest was instrumental in delaying what had appeared to be certain approval for the proposal. Let's use this reprieve to continue organizing to resist agrofuels at the expense of food, people, ecosystems and climate. In addition to health and economic concerns, we are successfully making with others the point that “If using one acre of corn to make ethanol leads to just one-tenth of an acre of rainforest clearing, then all the benefits of avoided gasoline for the first 30 years are wiped out.”
Blog entry with Rainforest Rescue

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