This headline, as you may have noticed, is not really good news. Sure, we at Treehugger like the idea of ethanol and bio diesel, but 100 million acres is an awful lot of land and I'm not sure that we have that much to spare. Nonetheless, this statistic, from a recent report from the University of Tennessee, is interesting and encouraging.
The report was commissioned 25x25, an organization that hopes that 25% of America's energy will come from renewable sources in the next 25 years. The report, which studies the viability of that vision, is encouraging on several fronts. First, almost all of the 100 million acres would come from rangeland, not from farmland, meaning we'll be depriving cows of their meals, not people. This, of course, is contingent on the development of inexpensive technology that can convert switch grass to ethanol. Without that, says the report, we've got nothing.Additionally, the researchers at U.Tenn studied the economic impacts of using 100 million acres of American land for switch grass ethanol and showed that, while costs of corn, meat, wheat and soy would go up significantly, an entire new industry would be created in America that would add roughly 700 billion dollars and 5 million jobs to the American economy. Additionally, a large number of agricultural subsidies would become obsolete.
If we really can trade foreign dependence on oil for more expensive beef, then Treehugger is behind 25x25 100%.