At the Weekly Standard, Irwin Stelzer explains that, while we don’t know how deleterious global warming might be, we do know already how damaging, for the poor, efforts to stop global warming already are. This is especially true for ethanol, which turns food crops into fuel. Turns out the remedial steps might not just damage the poor either:
If ethanol ever gains widespread use as a clean alternative fuel to gasoline, people with respiratory illnesses may be in trouble.
A new study out of Stanford says pollution from ethanol could end up creating a worse health hazard than gasoline, especially for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases.
“Ethanol is being promoted as a clean and renewable fuel that will reduce global warming and air pollution,” Mark Z. Jacobson, the study’s author and an atmospheric scientist at Stanford, said in a statement. “But our results show that a high blend of ethanol poses an equal or greater risk to public health than gasoline, which already causes significant health damage.”
The study appears in today’s online edition of Environmental Science & Technology, a publication of the American Chemical Society. It comes at a time when the Bush administration is pushing plans to boost ethanol production and the nation’s automakers are required by 2012 to have half their vehicles run on flex fuel, allowing the use of either gasoline or ethanol.