When Old is New

methuselah

The White House made its first major statement on ethanol on Tuesday, mustering three Cabinet members to outline a plan to shield corn ethanol producers from the credit crisis.

Tellingly, the news was commented on by the Agriculture, not the Transportation, Secretary:

The money can also be used to “create opportunities for producers, to receive assistance to produce new cellulosic crops and products,” [Secretary of Agriculture] Vilsack said.

So, this is the big game plan — to send Wall Street more money, restructure the car-making corporations, and subsidize moonshine for gas tanks.

To the extent it’s anything more than a subsidy to vested interests, this is a squarely three-cornered [yes, I said squarely three-cornered] plan for failure. The working and middle classes are maxed out, and will not be buying many new cars in the foreseeable future. Peak oil renders each further day of cars-first transportation a an armed robbery from our children. And “alternative” fuels? Not only are they not alternative, they’re also not new.

If you doubt this, I suggest you investigate the concept of energy-return-on-energy-invested, or EROEI, then take a tour of reality, starting here.

For its part, the falseness of it all seems rather well grasped by at least some of the folks who manage the biggest corporate players in the field. As quoted in Business Week for February 5, 2009:

[Exxon CEO Rex W.] Tillerson told reporters in January that Exxon isn’t investing in existing alternative energy technology because “we think these technologies are old. If there is going to be a fundamental shift” away from fossil fuels, the technology “hasn’t been discovered.”

Tillerson allows that a shift from fossil fuels is coming, but not for decades. Exxon forecasts that oil and gas will continue to supply 60% of the world’s energy needs through 2030, and that a “game-changing” shift to alternatives will begin only after 2050.

More change you can believe in…

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[…] being pushed and themselves heavily subsidized by the public are actually old and […]