The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 7
The way history follows success stories, you'd almost think that coal, oil, and
leaded gasoline had been among the crowning achievements of an advanced
civilization. And you'd have to think that renewable energy, particularly ethanol,
had been a colossal failure.
Search any big library or online book seller. Thousands of histories have been
written about fossil fuels. Only a handful have been written about ethanol, solar,
wind or any renewable energy alternatives.
And yet, despite the fractured historical record, ethanol, solar and wind have
been wildly successful. They have become cheaper, cleaner, healthier and better for national security than the fossil fuels they are swiftly replacing.
Why is this success so little known? Part of the answer is that discussions
about the history and policy issues surrounding renewable have been fogged
by the oil industry and its public relations campaigns.
Despite the historical gaps this has created, it seems we are approaching a
transitional moment. Not only are our energy priorities shifting, but our views of
them are swiftly changing as well.
At moments like these, advocates like Marc J. Rauch have a special role to play
in skirmishing ahead of the main currents of discourse and puncturing the inflated self-images that once-dominant industries are still trying to project.
Although ethanol is not perfect, we are far too accustomed to thinking about
these issues as either black or white. Ethanol, from any public interest perspective, is closer to beige and silver, and rather distant from the crude oil-colored
end of the spectrum.