Vandaag ontvangt Al gore een eredoctoraat van de Universiteit Tilburg ter gelegenheid van de 83e verjaardag van deze universiteit. Na ontvangst van zijn zoveelste onderscheiding houdt hij een lezing getiteld: “Groen denken – een economische strategie voor de 21e eeuw”. Onwillekeurig moet ik bij deze titel denken aan het beroemde WK voetbal voor filosofen van Monthy Python (must see video), waarbij Archimedes’ Eureka moment natuurlijk het uiteindelijke inzicht zal zijn dat de Groene Economie weinig meer is dan blabla en dat er gewoon ouderwets kapitalistisch gescoord moet worden.

Maar wacht even? Had Al Gore niet allang dik gescoord? Was het hem niet allang gelukt om ervoor te zorgen dat 40% van de Amerikaanse maïs wordt omgezet in ethanol om vervolgens in SUV’s te worden verstookt? Ja dat doelpunt staat op zijn naam. Maar nu blijkt het een eigengoal te zijn. Al Gore heeft gisteren in Athene op de conferentie Merchandise Markers, Environment, and Climate Change het volgende gezegd:

It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol. First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going. One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.

Oeps foutje. Margareth Tatcher maakte ook zo’n foutje toen ze om haar kernenergieambities en haar antipathie tegen de mijnwerkersvakbonden te botvieren de Royal Society opdracht gaf om CO2 in een kwaad daglicht te zetten. De milieubeweging is gek genoeg om rondom dit soort foutjes heuse occulte genootschappen te stichten zoals blijkt uit deze wiki van Iburncorn.com. Zal Al Gore vanmiddag snel de privéjet naar huis nemen om de Europese sneeuwstormen voor te blijven, zoals Obama afgelopen december deed vanuit Kopenhagen? Of zijn ski’s inmiddels vast onderdeel van zijn bagage en gaat hij een paar daagjes genieten van zijn eigen Gore effect?

Hieronder het volledige Reuters persbericht dat de Nederlandse media, die wel bol staan van het eredoctoraat, natuurlijk weer hebben laten liggen…

U.S. corn ethanol “was not a good policy”-Gore

Mon Nov 22, 2010 12:24pm GMT

* U.S. ethanol consumes about 40 pct corn crop
* Impact on food prices “real”

By Gerard Wynn

ATHENS, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was “not a good policy”, weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

Total U.S. ethanol subsidies reached $7.7 billion last year according to the International Energy Industry, which said biofuels worldwide received more subsidies than any other form of renewable energy.

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

“It’s hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

“One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

U.S. ethanol is made by extracting sugar from corn, an energy-intensive process. The U.S. ethanol industry will consume about 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year, or 15 percent of the global corn crop, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.

A food-versus-fuel debate erupted in 2008, in the wake of record food prices, where the biofuel industry was criticised for helping stoke food prices.

Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect.

“The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

“The competition with food prices is real.”

Gore supported so-called second generation technologies which do not compete with food, for example cellulosic technologies which use chemicals or enzymes to extract sugar from fibre for example in wood, waste or grass.

“I do think second and third generation that don’t compete with food prices will play an increasing role, certainly with aviation fuels.”

Gore added did that he did not expect a U.S. clean energy or climate bill for “at least two years” following the mid-term elections which saw Republicans increase their support.

(Reporting by Gerard Wynn; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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