“For decades, we talked about how our dependence on oil threatened our economy; but our will to act rose and fell with the price at the pump.” This was one of the key points that President Obama made this week during a visit to the POET Biorefining plant in Macon, MO, which celebrates its 10th anniversary next month. POET Biorefining Macon now produces 46 million gallons of ethanol annually. To listen to an audio of the President’s speech, visit http://www.rhapsodyingreen.com and then click on the ZimmCom link.
We have long depended on foreign oil at great cost, particularly in human life. In the shadow of yet another oil disaster off our own shores, we continue to pay a high price. One does not have to be a dyed-in-the-wool “tree hugger” to feel sick at the sight of oil-covered birds and other wildlife.
Our country’s dependence on foreign oil has only increased since the time Richard Nixon was in office. Since then other countries have made huge investments in clean energy. Spain, for example, has made significant investments in biofuels, and wind and solar power.
Brazil is one of the world’s largest ethanol producers and is the largest exporter of the fuel. In 2008, it produced 454,000 bbl/d of ethanol, and the fuel’s importance in Brazil’s domestic market will only increase, reports the US. Energy Information Administration. According to Petrobras, the Brazilian oil production giant, ethanol accounts for more than 50 percent of current light vehicle fuel demand, and the company expects this to increase to over 80 percent by 2020.
And then there’s China. According to a Pew Charitable Trusts study, China spent more than any other major country on clean energy in 2009, including wind and solar. This toppled the U.S. from the top spot for the first time in five years, USA Today reported in March.
Consider what other countries are doing and then consider what President Obama told those at the POET event this week —“The country that leads the clean energy economy will be the country that leads the 21st Century global economy.” Tired about hearing how much the government is pouring into “subsidies” for the biofuels industry? I ask this--what are the ultimate costs of not investing in clean energy?