What explains The Economist‘s fascination with ethanol? In this week’s issue, Britain’s leading current-affairs magazine has published an extended article on “Green America: Waking up and catching up.” Although most of the article actually talks about other energy sources besides ethanol, and about state-level efforts to encourage energy conservation and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the photo editors chose to illustrate it with pictures of ethanol, ethanol, ethanol.
There are three in the print edition. One shows an ethanol plant (with the obligatory corn stalks in the foreground), another the Gubernator standing in front of a flex-fuel gas-hog (emblazoned with “live green, go yellow”), and a third the famous billboard (“Who would you rather buy your gas from [an American farmer or an Arab sheik]?”) supporting a statewide ethanol standard in Missouri. Energy conservation is hard to photograph, I realize, but with a little imagination The Economist could have found some pictures, say, of people riding bicycles or installing solar water heaters, or of a hand turning down a thermostat.
If The Economist‘s persistent equating of “green energy” with ethanol bugs you as too narrowly focused, I encourage you to write a short letter to its editor (email@example.com). It is unlikely the magazine will print it, but if they receive enough such letters they might sit up and take notice.