Ethanol is Bad for the Poor

A great post on the blog today notes that increased ethanol production is having the unintended consequence of lessening the effectiveness of food distribution to poor countries.

Why? Because the burgeoning use of ethanol as a fuel has ratcheted up the price of corn. Apparently, the Financial Times is reporting that the U.N. now says it can no longer afford to feed the nearly 100 million starving people it helps each year with the currently allocated food budget.

So now ethanol has three strikes against it. It uses more energy to make than it produces as a fuel, subsides for it incentivizes the destruction of natural plant life, and it inflates the price of a useful commodity needed by millions to survive. Nice going, alternative energy movement!