Is it too late to stop the ethanol con job?

The oil industry was never keen on biofuels, but you never believed the oil industry. Now no less a sober authority than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says biofuels – notably ethanol, a fuel worshipped by governments, farmers and refiners in Canada, the United States and parts of Europe – might be a con job on a massive scale.

An OECD report released this week said biofuels may “offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal.” It said the vast amounts of land devoted to biofuel production harms biodiversity and pollutes the environment with herbicides and pesticides. (A July report put out by the OECD and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization said rising biofuel demand is “underpinning higher agriculture prices” and will lead to a “food-versus-fuel” debate).

The OECD recommended that governments “cease to create new mandates for biofuels and investigate ways to phase them out.” It recommended oil conservation instead of “subsidizing inefficient new sources of [biofuels] supply.”

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