By Mark Kleis
Monday, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 3:26 pm
 
While delivering a speech on green energy policies in Europe today, former vice president Al Gore revealed several reasons for his former support for the federal subsidization of ethanol, many of which had nothing to do with the environment.

When speaking of the $7.7 billion in subsidies for ethanol in 2009, Gore admitted for the first time today that the subsidies may not be the right thing for the energy policy or the taxpayer.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol." said Gore, according to Reuters. Gore added, "First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. It's hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."

As the creator of the world famous documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth," Gore established himself as a pseudo-expert on climate change and the necessary changes required in order to avoid it. Following the film's release, Gore has been addressing governments around the world for years on energy policies based on his expertise.

Yet, despite establishing himself as someone who was concerned with the environment first, and politics second, perhaps the most shocking revelation to come from Gore today was his admission of the reasons behind supporting ethanol, "One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."

Fast food facts
The process of creating ethanol fuel is fairly complex, and energy and material intensive. In the U.S., 41 percent of all corn being grown is used to create ethanol, a process that extracts sugar from the corn in an inefficient process due to the limitations of technology, according to Reuters.

Because of a combination of expected inflation and the major portion of corn that is then diverted from feeding either humans or livestock, many analysts are now predicting potentially devastating increases in the price of corn found at grocery stores in the near future. Gore said, "The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices. The competition with food prices is real."

Gore went on to explain that he expects the use of corn for fuel will continue to drive food prices up even into the second- and third-generations of production.


References
1.'U.S. corn ethanol...' view