Gore sold-out. There are few other ways to interpret his recent admission that he supported ethanol not because of its potential to (partly) solve manmade climate change, but because he wanted votes for his presidential candidacy.
Let's be clear: ethanol was a decent effort. Not every proposed solution to the global warming problem is going to pan out, and it is often not clear whether a solution will pan out -- in whole or in part -- until you start down its path and learn about its problems, and its unintended consequences, in detail. (And you will only learn about some details by starting down the path.)
So I don't think you can fault anyone for having backing ethanol. But you can fault them if the primary reason they backed it was to garner votes -- which is what Gore seems to say he did:
"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small," he said, referring to how much energy is produced in the process.
The U.S. ethanol industry will consume about 41 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year, or 15 percent of the global corn crop, according to Goldman Sachs analysts.
Gore explained his own support for the original program on his presidential ambitions.
"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president" in 2000."This is a noble proclamation -- but no less damaging. Gore did exactly what so many have accused climate skeptics/deniers of doing -- taking a position for political and/or economic gain.
Tonight, I can't see how he can outlive this or get his former credibility back.