Ethanol and Kyoto

Ken Parish has an interesting post on “a new American process that is believed could halve the cost of producing ethanol”. If it pans out, this could provide one route to meeting our Kyoto commitments, which the government says it will do even without ratification. (Ken seems to suggest that ethanol is an alternative to Kyoto, but I don’t follow this.)
Unfortunately, I have been following alternative fuels for a long time, and, as with large-scale solar electricity or nuclear fusion, cost-effective ethanol is one of those things that always seems to be just around the corner. At least for the next twenty years, my guess is that we’ll be focusing on more prosaic approaches such as
(a) improving energy efficiency across a wide range of activities
(b) halting and reversing tree-clearing
(c) substituting gas for coal
(d) cutting down on some energy-intensive activities
I haven’t mentioned nuclear fission yet. The capital costs of nuclear fission plants are so great that only a hefty carbon tax would make them profitable, and the price responses to such a tax (reduced usage) would be sufficient to meet not only Kyoto targets, but probably the next few rounds as well. (Of course, you can cut costs by leaving out all that expensive shielding as the Russians did, but we know what happened there).
Ken also mentions a study by ABARE which I disregarded in reporting Warwick McKibbin’s work on Kyoto. When I get time, I will put up a detailed post explaining why I don’t think ABARE’s work on this issue deserves much weight.