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The advisability of growing crops to produce fuel requires at least some scientific expertise that I do not possess, and that limits the value of my thoughts on the matter. Nevertheless, I feel safe opining that ...

a) Growing food to make fuel when there millions are starving is absurd. This is especially true of corn, which (I've read) converts poorly to ethanol and requires lots of fossil fuel to grow. And, if ethanol producers become players in the corn market, they're going to drive up the prices that people who use corn for food will pay. This has to affect supplies for the poor. (Comment here, though note the last line of the post, regarding the source.)

b) The general populace has put biofuels into the same bin as wind, solar, etc.: "If we don't have to buy it from OPEC, it must be a good idea." Not so, I say. The principles should be sustainability and resource intensity.

For example, from what I understand (again conceding that my understandings can be flawed), there are some crops, such as switchgrass, that grow with relatively few resources, are good for the soil while growing (putting nitrogen into the soil, enriching it for the next crop), and convert well to biofuels upon harvesting.

I am eager to find the post-fossil-fuel future, and would be enthusiastically in favor of government investment, or taxation rules (one example here), that gave a leg up to technologists pointed in that direction. But corn has a potent lobby, and I fear that misguided and/or ill-informed legislators will hear "biofuels" and ask where to deliver the booty, instead of making wiser choices.

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