Thomas Friedman‘s column is so logical and simple, it is almost hard to bear. Why can’t some of these ideas make it on the political agenda?
“During the 1973 Arab oil embargo Brazil was importing almost 80 percent of its fuel supply,” notes Mr. Luft, director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security. “Within three decades it cut its dependence by more than half. … During that period the Brazilians invested massively in a sugar-based ethanol industry to the degree that about a third of the fuel they use in their vehicles is domestically grown. They also created a fleet that can accommodate this fuel.” Half the new cars sold this year in Brazil will run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol. “Bringing hydrocarbons and carbohydrates to live happily together in the same fuel tank,” he added, “has not only made Brazil close to energy independence, but has also insulated the Brazilian economy from the harming impact of the current spike in oil prices.”
The new energy bill includes support for corn-based ethanol, but, bowing to the dictates of the U.S. corn and sugar lobbies (which oppose sugar imports), it ignores Brazilian-style sugar-based ethanol, even though it takes much less energy to make and produces more energy than corn-based ethanol. We are ready to import oil from Saudi Arabia but not sugar from Brazil.
The sum of all lobbies. …
It seems as though only a big crisis will force our country to override all the cynical lobbies and change our energy usage. I thought 9/11 was that crisis. It sure was for me, but not, it seems, for this White House, Congress or many Americans. Do we really have to wait for something bigger in order to get smarter?”