"The Clean Energy Scam" Article Critiqued

Michael Grunwald writes articles in Times Magazine and today I read one of his articles. The title of the article was striking, it read: "The Clean Energy Scam" in bold at the top of the first page. The subtitle stated: "Hyped as an eco-friendly fuel, ethanol, increases global warming, destroys forests and inflates food prices. So why are we subsidizing it?" The entire second page has on it a picture of what used to be a large portion of the Amazon Rain Forest, now it looks like farmland as far as the eye can see with a small patch of forest tucked into the lower right hand corner of the page, about the size of a small subdivision. Underneath the picture a statistic reads: "750,000 Acres of Brazilian rain forest was lost in the last six months of 2007 (equal to the area of Rhode Island)"

Deforestation is happening all over the world. Why is deforestation bad? Our forests store carbon. Carbon released into the atmosphere creates global warming. Grunwald writes, "Backed by billions in investment capital, this alarming phenomenon is replicating itself around the world. Indonesia has bulldozed and burned so much wilderness to grow palm oil trees for biodiesel that its ranking among the worlds top carbon emitters has surged from 21st to third." According to Grunwald, Malaysia is converting forests into palm oil farms so rapidly that it's running out of uncultivated land. The picture of what looks like farmland in the picture of Brazil on the second page is actually grazing pastures. Brazil is destroying its Rain Forests to raise cattle. Why? Because according to Grunwald, U.S. farmers are selling one-fifth of their corn to ethanol production. U.S. soy bean farmers are seeing the demand for corn rise and are switching to corn. Meanwhile our corn is getting more expensive because they can't produce it fast enough. To meet the global demand for soy beans, Brazilian soy bean farmers are expanding into fields previously used as cattle pastures. In turn, the cattle ranchers are clearing out the rain forest to make pastures for their cattle.

Our government, true to its form, in trying to find a solution to our dependency on oil, has created another problem for the world. In the article Grunwald writes, "Hillary Rodham Clinton unveiled an eye-popping plan that would require all gas stations in the U.S. to offer ethanol by 2017... Barack Obama immediately criticized her - not for posing such an expansive plan but for failing to support ethanol before she started trolling for votes in Iowa's caucuses." Iowa is famous for corn which is used to make ethanol. Who is to blame? Our whole system of government is to blame, a system in which lobbyists control politics. The farm lobby is extremely powerful and it is influencing decisions. Our government has found a cheap and lucrative alternative to oil in which they are marketing it like crazy. What do you think is going to happen when the our government brings ethanol to every gas station in America? The rest of the world will follow, in order to compete, and soon all forests will be gone. We will destroy nature's way of trapping carbon and could drastically increase global warming.

http://www.TIME.com, "The Clean Energy Scam"

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