FROM Dennis Langley
Biofuels: The Benefits and the Bad News The rush is on for biofuels: to end dependence on oil, help solve global warming and create jobs for the rural poor. Corn-belt farmers are giving thanks today for ethanol, which brings incentives and subsidies from states and the federal government. But last May, the UN reported that biofuels may cause more environmental problems than they solve, as well as increasing the price of food. On this archived edition of To the Point, we weigh the pros and cons of energy from agricultural products. Is it really cleaner and cheaper? Is the US moving too fast?
Do Biofuels Cause More Problems than They Solve? The rush is on for biofuels to end dependence on oil, help solve global warming and create jobs for the rural poor. In America's corn-belt, especially in Iowa, there's a rush to produce ethanol. States and the federal government are providing incentives, including subsidies, for fuels derived from agricultural products. But a new UN report says the benefits of biofuels-including ethanol-may be offset by environmental damage, and there is growing concern about their impact on the price of food. We examine the pros and cons of energy from agricultural products. Is it really cleaner and cheaper? Is the US moving too fast?
Energy Independence and Ethanol One day after his State of the Union address, President Bush was on the road pushing energy independence by way of alternative fuels. Ethanol production, which is already a booming industry, would be increased five times on the way to reducing consumption of gasoline by twenty percent in the next ten years. Dozens of new, corn-based ethanol plans are coming on line in the farm states, and Wall Street sees a new gold rush. American voters also expect there's ethanol in their future, but there are plenty of not-so-hidden costs. Will corn-based ethanol deplete the food supply? What about greenhouse gases from ethanol and other "alternatives" like oil shale and coal? Is conservation a better solution? We're joined by pollsters, and energy experts and producers.
A New York Times op-ed on climate change sparks uproar The New York Times is embroiled in a public furor over a new columnist, who wrote that scientific uncertainty is reason for debate about climate change. Many conservatives are delighted. Is America's leading liberal newspaper fostering climate denial? This is the latest in our series, "The Emotional States of America."
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?