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Funny if it Weren’t so Sad

July 1, 2010


Environmentalists may lack some concrete solutions today to actively address the nation's energy challenges, but one thing they are not short on is creativity – at least when it comes to finding new ways to thwart biofuels. The latest theory is called "Global Rebound Effect." Enviros claim that if America increases its use of biofuels like ethanol, we will reduce our use of oil thereby lowering the world price for oil and encouraging greater oil use in other nations. The resulting carbon emissions from this oil use, of course, must be debited against ethanol's carbon benefits. Such a leap in logic would be laughable were it not for the fact this is a pattern of behavior meant to undermine America's ethanol industry. Nor is it funny considering many of these very environmentalists list reducing America's oil consumption. Yet, when presented with an alternative they admit in this theory actually reduces American oil use, the dream up still another roadblock to obstruct its progress. Applying their own logic to technologies they claim to support would mean all efforts to improve Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards would be slapped with a carbon penalty. So too would Energy Star appliances, that would reduce total electricity use thereby reducing the cost of coal and natural gas and increase worldwide use. This rebound effect thought process is a continuation of the kind of logic that seeks to blame American ethanol producers for the land use decisions made elsewhere around the world. There was a time when the environmental community worked with biofuel producers to improve the sustainability of America's motor fuel supply and reduce our reliance on oil. Today, they partner with multinational oil and food processing companies (not known as environmental champions) to block the progress of biofuels at every turn – all the while the Gulf of Mexico fills with oil.