WSJ.com - Opinion: Sins of Emission
The ethanol boondoggle is also an environmental catastrophe.
The latest embarrassment [for the clean energy economy] arrives via the peer-reviewed journal Science, not known for its right-wing inclinations. A new paper calls attention to what the authors (led by Princeton's Tim Searchinger) call "a critical accounting error" in the way carbon emissions from biofuels are measured in climate-change programs world-wide. Bernie Madoff had a few critical accounting errors too.
Though you won't hear it from the biofuels lobby, ethanol actually generates the same amount of greenhouse gas as fossil fuels, or more, per unit of energy.
In other words, not only is cap and trade self-defeating on its own terms but it also risks creating a genuine ecological disaster.
By way of a solution, Mr. Searchinger and his coauthors modestly suggest doing away with the regulatory three-card monte and counting net ethanol emissions from where they are actually emitted. But this is political heresy on Rep. Henry Waxman's Energy and Commerce Committee, which passed its own cap-and-tax program in July with the votes of farm-state Democrats, because the bill all but banned the Environmental Protection Agency from studying land-use changes. So much for letting "the science" guide public policy.