Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters to the Editor

Article excerpt

Corn-based ethanol is not the best alternative energy

In response to the May 21 Opinion piece by Colin A. Carter and Henry I. Miller, "Hidden costs of corn-based ethanol": The authors write that diverting "corn from food to fuel could create unprecedented turmoil." Has anyone considered what the effects of climate change will be on our "corn belt"?

To base America's biofuel plans on the assumption that climate change will bypass our agricultural areas is essentially taking a gamble that there will be no droughts in the Midwest anytime in the near future.

If the climate change there is minimal, or even benign, that's fine. But if it isn't, then what happens?

Donald Reaves Blue Springs, Mo.

Regarding the Opinion piece on using ethanol for fuel in the US, by Colin A. Carter and Henry I. Miller: Using ethanol for fuel has more carbon costs than were mentioned.

First, the piece did not include the amount of petroleum needed to make fertilizer, run the farming machinery, and haul the corn to the distillery.

Second, it didn't mention the energy needed to boil the fermented mash to separate ethanol from the water in which the fermentation occurs.

If Congress requires all motor fuel to be ethanol, petroleum imports might actually increase.

John Bettenhausen Coatesville, Pa.

In response to the Opinion piece on ethanol: There is a much better solution for renewable energy: canola oil.

In Germany, many cars now use canola oil instead of diesel fuel. Farmers especially are taking advantage of this.

Using canola oil could eliminate the need to import oil from foreign countries. It would also remove the need to rely on refineries and long-distance transportation. Within 10 years, the US could become independent of fossil fuel for diesel cars and equipment.

Martin Diesel at first used peanut oil when he invented the diesel engine.

Reinold Hofmann Bad Hall, Austria

Falling dollar won't boost economy

Regarding the May 21 article, "Dollar buying ever less of world's goods": I doubt that the falling dollar really will help the US economy. The US often imports products from other countries because it is not producing them itself, not because its currency is stronger.

While a weaker dollar may make some luxury goods less appealing, it is more likely to simply make the normal goods we purchase on a regular basis more expensive.

If this was the "free market" of a few decades ago, when the main exports and imports were to and from Europe, then the falling dollar would make a profound difference.

As it is, both the European Union and the United States are getting a significant amount of their imports from developing and newly industrialized countries, especially in Asia.

It's possible that the result of the falling dollar will be cultural, not economic. For example, Japan's economic success made "Eastern thinking" a popular addition to corporate management techniques, and was then introduced to the general population as well. …

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