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The Financial Post reports,

Wheat prices alone have risen 92% in the past year, and yesterday closed at US$9.45 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade.

At the centre of the imminent food catastrophe is corn - the main staple of the ethanol industry. The price of corn has risen about 44% over the past 15 months, closing at US$4.66 a bushel on the CBOT yesterday - its best finish since June 1996.

...Biofuels are expected to eat up about a third of America's grain harvest in 2007.

Our energy policies are working. Robert Zubrin thinks that with more of the same, we can have what he calls "victory."

Thanks to Tim Haab for the pointer.

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COMMENTS (9 to date)
8 writes:

The secret strategy was to form a grain cartel?

Troy Camplin writes:

Yes, our energy strategy is certainly working -- to impoverish the poor with higher food prices. Brilliant strategy!

Matt writes:

Wekk, back to glonal warming.

The amount of cheap fossil fuel is limited, in direct relationship to co2 in the atmosphere. The total carbon accessible to circulation must be limited to the maximum amount of biosphere carbon that evolution can tolerate. Otherwise we would not be here.

So, if it is not global warming taxes, it will be peak oil. One way or another, we are forced to use solar energy to recirculate carbon.

Dan Weber writes:
The total carbon accessible to circulation must be limited to the maximum amount of biosphere carbon that evolution can tolerate. Otherwise we would not be here.

That doesn't follow. For the same reason that I can have more money in my bank account than I ever had in my wallet at a time, we could have many times the total C stuck in the earth than was ever circulating at one time.

And eons ago the Earth had a mostly CO2 atmosphere, which "tolerated evolution" in the sense that life didn't end. I can guarantee you that all animal life would end if we went back to that climate.

Gary Rogers writes:

Wow! I was thinking about planting a bunch of trees in my back yard and selling them for carbon credits. Maybe I should plant it in corn instead. It's obvious I need to learn to play this game, because I sure don't think the way these people do.

FC writes:

I have not heard Zubrin calling for corn subsidies. His plan seems to be trying to increase demand in an attempt to lower the real price of alcohol.

Gary Rogers writes:

I have to admit that when I first read this blog I was not familiar with Robert Zubrin and that I reacted emotionally to what I consider the extremely bad Federal policy of subsidizing ethanol. This morning I read some of what Zubrin has to say, and it is worth reading. He is promoting methanol over ethanol and I did not see him calling for government intervention. I believe that the only way some of these dire predictions are going to come true is through the unintended consequences of governments trying to do good.

PJens writes:

There is more to the high price of wheat than just the US energy policy. Wheat, like oil, is a global commodity. US wheat production is a large part of supply, but certainly not the only source. High prices will buy more wheat acres around the world and soon supply will meet demand. Isn't that the way it is supposed to work?

Troy Camplin writes:

That is how it works. But there's also only so much land. new hybrids and genetically engineered crops can increase yields through vertical increase, but those new alternatives can take a few years. The point is that the government distorted the market, and people are hurting from it. As usual.

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