$93 billion from taxpayers pocket for ethanol and biodiesel

A new study looks at the cost of biofuels - specifically ethanol and biodiesel - as an alternative to the CO2-emitting stuff we currently pump into our cars. It concludes: it ain't cheap. Economist Doug Koplow from Earth Track analyzed the current subsidies, laws and production projections for ethanol and biodiesel and found they amount to $93 billion between 2006-2012. Most of that supports corn-based ethanol, whose environmental profile and impact on word food production and prices have been heavily criticized. But Koplow takes the study one step further and examines the costs involved in the much-discussed cellulosic ethanol. While ethanol derived from biomass is potentially better for the environment when compared to corn ethanol, the CO2 it displaces costs more than $100 a metric ton. Thats less expensive than corn which he figures at $300 a metric ton displaced. Under the European Climate Exchange, where CO2 displacement is traded as a commodity, a metric ton never sold for more than $41 a metric ton. Americans emit roughly 20 metric tons of CO2 per person annually and in total are a hair shy of 6 million metric tons a year, according to the UNFCCC. Many scientists say we need to cut that number by 80% in order to avoid catastrophic repercussions brought on by climate change. Thanks to Victoria for the report.

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