This is highly disturbing news
Via Jerome a Paris at Daily Kos comes this very disturbing story. We'll run out of beer before we run out of oil.
Now, ever since the issue of peak oil and global warming hit my consciousness a couple of years ago, I've known that ethanol was a weak idea at best. The amount of energy you spend planting crops just to turn them back into energy means your net energy is low compared to other systems, and you don't change the emissions levels drastically enough to make it worthwhile in my opinion. But this just puts the nail in the coffin for me.
The rapid expansion of biofuel production may be welcome news for environmentalists but for the world’s beer drinkers it could be a different story.
Strong demand for biofuel feedstocks such as corn, soyabeans and rapeseed is encouraging farmers to plant these crops instead of grains like barley, driving up prices.
Jean-François van Boxmeer, chief executive of Heineken the Dutch brewer, warned last week that the expansion of the biofuel sector was beginning to cause a “structural shift” in European and US agricultural markets.
One consequence, he said, could be a long-term shift upwards in the price of beer. Barley and hops account for about 7-8 per cent of brewing costs.
That's right. Less barley means more expensive beer--assuming you're talking about real beer and not that stuff made with rice.
There are some scholars who argue that the real reason humans became agricultural instead of staying hunter-gatherer societies was because we figured out how to make beer. To move away from that is to deny our ancient heritage. Or something.
Don't take away my beer dammit!