Friday, January 05, 2007

Could demand for corn be twice as much as USDA estimated?

Earth Policy Institute eco-guru Lester Brown contends the demand for corn to fuel the growing number of ethanol distilleries throughout the midwest is twice as much as the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture estimated last February. He was quick to assert the emerging competition for corn between ethanol-blended fuels and food processsors could drive corn and other grain prices to record levels. And with that, in time, could come a consumer backlash against the ethanol industry and riots in lower-income countries that rely on grain imports.

The U.S. corn crop, according to a newly-released Institute study, accounts for 40 percent of the global harvest and supplies 70 percent of the world's corn exports. Brown called for a time-out on the licensing of new distilleries and a strategy to deal with the emerging food-fuel battle. "We need to make sure that in trying to solve one problem--our dependence on imported oil--we do not crate a far more serious one: chaos in the world food economy," Brown said.

ethanol, corn, Earth Policy Institute, Lester Brown, renewable energy

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