Question: Is ethanol overhyped?
Dennis Kucinich: Corn used to be used to feed people. Hello? I mean if you drive up the price of corn because you’re using substantial amounts of it for ethanol, you’re going to cause the price . . . people not being able to afford their basic foodstuff. Now ethanol might be interesting for a transitional fuel for the moment to get us away from oil; but we have to realize that we need real sustainability. It’s you know . . . Ethanol is not sustainable because of the impact it has on food prices. And no one else other than myself is saying that in this presidential race. Now I know it’s easy to pander to the voters in Iowa where they grow a lot of corn, but imagine this. Imagine if that corn is used to be able to feed the hungry of the world, and where farmers can get their fair price. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recently come out with a report that says that coal is contributing greatly to the erosion of global climate quality. And what are we seeing? We’re seeing Wall Street and American banks just loaning money everywhere to try to build more coal burning facilities. We’re seeing this country going in the opposite direction that we should be going. Not only U.S., but India and China which are also major contributors to greenhouse gases. What should we be doing? Here’s what we should be doing, and here’s what a Kucinich administration will do. I call it the “Works Green Administration”. It’s a whole new approach where government becomes an engine of sustainability and helps use sustainability to achieve a full-employment economy. We would create manufacturing of wind and solar micro technologies which would then be available for application to millions of homes around the country – as well as maintenance jobs – for millions of homes around America. We would insulate millions of homes, keep drastically lowering the energy consumption within homes. And as you lower the energy consumption, you also lower the cost of energy to homeowners. The Works Green Administration would make every department of the federal government an engine for sustainability. Transportation – fund mass transit programs so you lower your oil consumption. Agriculture – promote small family farmers. Lower your transportation costs by selling into local markets. The Department of Housing – green housing – everything you build becomes a matter of sustainability. The lighting – natural lighting. Or the kind of bulbs that you use; the kind of energy systems used to heat a house – passive, solar or whatever. You build all these into housing. The Energy Department becomes about the transition away from oil, away from coal, away from nuclear and towards wind, solar, green hydrogen . . . you know, geothermal – all the types of energies that . . . that help us move away from those things that are harming our planet.
Recorded on: 10/19/07