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.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.