Friday, February 8, 2008


Some people think our campaign for cheap beer is just a joke, but we are dead serious about this. Why has the cost of beer been going up for the past couple of years? It is because the farmers who used to grow barley are now growing corn. Barley is used to make beer. As the supply of barley decreases, the price goes up. The cost is then passed on to the nation’s beer drinkers.

Why are farmers growing corn? Because corn will be processed into ethanol. The more ethanol we use, the less petroleum. The less petroleum, the less damage to the atmosphere. At least that’s the theory. But according to a recent study, it might not work that way. As more and more land is cleared to make way for biofuels, greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere. This happens when vegetation that has been cut down is burned. It gets worse. The new crops do not absorb as much carbon dioxide as the trees they replaced. The end result is that biofuels ultimately create more greenhouse gases than do conventional fuels.

Another adverse result is that vegetable oil once used in cooking is now being converted in diesel fuel. The result is that the cost of food has gone up. This is particularly painful in the poorer countries.

We’re all for protecting the atmosphere, but we wonder if biofuels are the way to go, particularly if they don’t really cut down on greenhouse gases, make food more expensive for the world’s poor, and increase the cost of beer.

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