Steven Chu, Barack Obama's pick for Energy Secretary, recently stated that "Sustainable carbon-neutral energy is the most important scientific challenge we face today."

Antonio Bento uses this quote to start his examination of the pressing needs for fossil fuels and the costs and environmental consequences of federal and state ethanol subsidies.

Bento is an associate professor in Cornell's Department of Applied Economics and Management. Most of his research lies at the boundaries of environmental, energy, urban, and public economics, and uses state-of-the-art econometric and computable general equilibrium methods, as well as geographical information (GIS) tools.

Bento graduated from the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal, with a B.A. in economics in 1996 and earned a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of Maryland in 2000. Prior to joining Cornell, he was a faculty member at the Donald Bren School of Environmental Sciences and Management and the Department of Economics at the University of California-Santa Barbara and, more recently, at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy. He has also been a consultant to the research division of the World Bank.