Given the lively debate on this list, as well as the recent visits to our state from Mr. Brown, the Worldwatch Institute and others on this topic, this article may be of interest.
"By the end of 2007," he writes in one of his newsletter updates, "the emerging competition between the 800 million automobile owners who want to maintain their mobility and the world's 2 billion poorest people who want simply to survive will be on center stage."
Among environmentalists, Brown's fears over man-vs.-machine competition for corn make him something of an iconoclast. There are those who believe that his zeal is causing a far more serious problem.
"He's painting such a bleak picture of the future of biofuels based on an extrapolation from corn," says Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition, "that it could damage the development of biofuels as alternatives to gasoline in general."
The Worldwatch Institute, which Brown left in 2001, has become a champion of biofuels. The institute's president, Christopher Flavin, says his group has studied a variety of alternative energy possibilities and believes that rapidly developing technologies, new crops and innovative production methods will make organic fuel more appealing. "The biofuels industry," he says, "is moving away from corn."