This week's City Pages paints a rosy picture of today's Brazil - and possibly tomorrow's Minnesota - in their misguided and one-sided article on ethanol.
Biofuel, while a burgeoning and promising field of renewable energy, is by no means ready for prime time. Until switchgrass and closed-loop ethanol plants get more efficient, it is irresponsible in this gas-crazed climate to suggest that a green alternative is out there, prêt-à-porter.
Not even close. While the City Pages wants us to believe that happy Brazilians breeze through gas stations making smart, economical choices on ethanol over gas, the gloomier realities of biofuel production get swept under the rug. Considering that it presently takes almost a gallon of oil to produce a gallon of ethanol, choosing a cheaper ethanol at the pump could actually do more damage to the environment that using plain old gas. That fact shouldn't have escaped City Pages' otherwise deft attention.
What City Pages did get right is that pioneering renewable energy resources should be the number one priority of this country today. The tentacles of the oil industry infect everything from our national security to our tattered economy. The world's largest oil reserves are controlled by some of the most unstable nations on the planet, causing no end of the mischievous games of diplomatic Twister we play every year. Drilling at home may seem a sensible solution for now, but it's not going to help much. We need much, much more than that to get through the next century. (Hi, China. Hi, India.)
Biofuel is a small part of a larger picture, but it's by no means going to save us in the short run. City Pages should be ashamed for trying to mislead their readers, but they probably won't be. I challenge them to consider both sides of an issue before the ink hits the paper. (It's called journalistic integrity.) Anything short of this must be called out for what it is: propaganda.