Do not expect to read much about this in the NY Times — and definitely don’t expect any follow up questions about his motivation for climate policy ($$$). Former Vice President Al Gore has admitted that his “support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was “not a good policy”, weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.”
Gore was the tie-breaking vote in the Senate mandating the use of ethanol in 1994.
“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 continues (admitting more of the obvious):
“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.”
However, don’t make the mistake that he has had an epiphany on climate change:
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.
Again, the Democrats had 60 seats in the Senate, which is a filibuster proof majority and Pelosi controlled the House of Representatives with members to spare for most of 2009. They could have passed whatever they wanted. At least two years is translated: maybe in 2012 if Obama is re-elected, the Dems take back the House, and they don’t lose the Senate. In other words, the bill is dead.