Colbert Report thinks corn ethanol is laughable
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This past Tuesday, Steven Colbert of Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report discussed how the current drought — the worst in 50 years– will raise food prices around the country and destabilize the corn ethanol market. Colbert and his guest, Iowa State professor Bruce Babcock, highlighted that because corn is such a huge source of animal feed, when corn prices go up, so do the prices of dairy, eggs, meat, and poultry at the grocery store. The duo also rightly highlighted that falling corn yields due to drought would be a far less devastating problem if America wasn’t directing almost half it’s corn to ethanol production to fuel instead of food.
“Will I have to fight my Audi for lunch?” Colbert asked.
Well, new government data released Wednesday suggests we’ll probably see Colbert punching out his car windows pretty soon. The data demonstrates that food price inflation is rising much faster than normal this year, with prices rising for bread, milk, eggs, cheese, and a lot of the other basics of the American dinner table. This new graphic (produced by James West/Climate Desk) highlights some expected food price increases heading to your supermarket soon.
Unless we reform our biofuels policies and address our exorbitant mandate for biofuels – the Renewable Fuel Standard – this fight for corn between the food and fuel markets isn’t going away. Corn ethanol is not only driving up food prices here and around the world, but also damaging our natural resources by exacerbating climate change and poisoning our air, water, and soil.