The facade is cracking – reported by left-leaning Al-Reuters, posted on left-leaning Yahoo!, we learn that government-backed pollution reduction schemes might just have the opposite effect! Quelle horreur! Mon Dieu! Gor Blimey! What could be going on here?
Well, it turns out that government mandates tend to have unintended consequences, in this case, increased Ozone levels, estimated to cause some 1400 additional deaths per year in Europe by the end of this decade. The reason is that the fast-growing trees which are most suitable for cellulosic ethanol production emit aromatic hydrocarbons, which stimulate ground level Ozone formation, and increased Ozone can have deleterious or even terminal consequences for those with breathing problems.
Government kills – big government kills even more!
Quite a track record, really – MBTE, added to fuel in California, did little to reduce Ozone levels, but did increase fuel prices, reduce gas mileage, and pollute groundwater. Ethanol, meant to stretch gasoline, and maybe reduce Ozone production, instead turns out to be an energy hog to produce, hard to transport, reduces gas mileage, and drives up food prices – leading to starvation in the third world. Yes, liberals really care about the poor, the brown, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free!
The Europeans have even begun to realize that growing biofuels drives up crop prices – look at this quote from the article:
Biofuels are often blamed for causing food price spikes by competing for cropland. Responding to such criticisms, the European Commission said last year it aimed to limit crop-based biofuels – such as from maize or sugar – to five percent of transport fuels.