Bush claims ethanol is answer to oil addiction

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George W Bush used his seventh annual State of the Union Address to say that Climate Change is "a serious challenge" and announce ethanol as the answer to oil dependency.

He claimed, "These technologies (known as biofuels in the UK) will help us become better stewards of the environment and they will help us confront the serious challenge of global climate change."

The US President will attempt to bring the production of US fuel back under US control by announcing a desire to cut American oil consumption by 20% by 2017 and increase alternatives to 7.5bn gallons by 2012 and 35bn gallons by 2017.

He also announced a greater focus on energy efficiency by increasing fuel economy standards in the US, which are currently below those of China, and save "up to 8.5 billion more gallons of gasoline by 2017". This is insufficient to halt the dramatic increase in global warming as the US is the world's largest oil consumer using around 20 million barrels of oil a day.

George Bush's claims his enthusiasm for ethanol comes from a desire to import less oil from countries the US deems unstable in the Middle East and to reduce carbon emissions. Others are more sceptical. Most of the Ethanol, biodiesel, methanol, butanol and hydrogen production will take place in Midwest Republican States heavily reliant on agriculture.

Some critics claim that Bush is attempting to appease Americans who have grown weary of 'big oil' making big profits while the nation suffers in a war for oil. Others have pointed out that ethanol currently costs more to produce that it sells for on the open market. The difference is subsidized by the American tax payer. As next months Ecologist special on Biofuels will show Ethanol production is unsustainable and damaging to the environment.

Oil Addiction

While ethanol production is to be increased in the future today George Bush's speech caused the biggest one-day jump in oil prices in 16 months as he announced plans to double the US's strategic reserves.

Oil rose 4.7% to $55 a barrel after Mr Bush pledged to double the size of US reserves by 1.5bn barrels by 2027. The US Department of Energy plans to start buying 100,000 barrels of oil a day in spring effectively subsidizing an industry that has announced record profits in 2006 while causing more environmental destruction than any other.