Sprechen Zie Ethanol?

While our President continues to tell us the ethanol and other alternative energy sources are the future of energy here in the US, those Germans are saying nein:

German motorists are to blame for the commercial failure of the supposed green gasoline. The first attempt by politicians to foist a product that is both expensive and environmentally questionable on consumers has failed. German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, who had earlier argued in favor of the fuel, is now as embarrassed as the petroleum industry and the auto industry.

“Consumers have made up their minds,” says Volker Kauder, chairman of the parliamentary group of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). “With people starving in many countries, wheat doesn’t belong in our gas tanks.”

How very interesting. Hold on, though, it gets even better:

From an environmental standpoint, however, it is actually a blessing that E10 is not a success with consumers. “Increasing the ethanol content of gasoline is not a sensible climate or environmental protection measure,” a Greenpeace statement reads, while BUND, the German branch of Friends of the Earth, calls the measure “ineffective.” According to the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU), “it would be better for drivers to fill up with conventional gasoline.”

In a jointly funded study at the London-based Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP), nine major European environmental organizations found that the environmental record of fuel from renewable resources is not positive, but negative. According to the study’s devastating conclusion, biofuel is “more harmful” to the climate than the fossil fuels it is supposed to replace.

The wonderful green fuel is actually not green at all? The greenest of the green organizations are against it? Who would have ever thought that this would be true. Surely we will find out that this jointly funded study was actually underwritten by the Koch brothers in collaboration with Halliburton and Exxon-Mobil.

Unfortunately, the momentum of this poor decision must be addressed:

The average subsidy for farmers in Germany is about €340 per hectare. According to a study by the environmental organization WWF, if a farmer grows biofuel plants in his fields and processes them into electricity or biogas, he can earn up to €3,000 in revenue per hectare. The risk-free business is attracting all kinds of business interests looking to make money. Farmers, big landowners, operators of ethanol and biogas facilities and fertilizer producers all stand to profit from the fabulous returns in the agricultural business.

Sound familiar? The numbers are a bit different, but the economic pressures are similar.

Go read the entire article for a good look at how bio-energy in Germany should provide us in the US with yet another object lesson in failed central planning with regard to agriculture and energy. It is not yet too late to admit we made a poor decision.