Skip to comments.If we want to save the planet, we need a five-year freeze on biofuels
Posted on 03/30/2007 6:21:51 AM PDT by Uncledave
It used to be a matter of good intentions gone awry. Now it is plain fraud. The governments using biofuel to tackle global warming know that it causes more harm than good. But they plough on regardless.
So what's wrong with these programmes? Only that they are a formula for environmental and humanitarian disaster. In 2004 I warned, on these pages, that biofuels would set up a competition for food between cars and people. The people would necessarily lose: those who can afford to drive are richer than those who are in danger of starvation. It would also lead to the destruction of rainforests and other important habitats.
Since the beginning of last year, the price of maize has doubled. The price of wheat has also reached a 10-year high, while global stockpiles of both grains have reached 25-year lows. Already there have been food riots in Mexico and reports that the poor are feeling the strain all over the world. The US department of agriculture warns that "if we have a drought or a very poor harvest, we could see the sort of volatility we saw in the 1970s, and if it does not happen this year, we are also forecasting lower stockpiles next year". According to the UN food and agriculture organisation, the main reason is the demand for ethanol: the alcohol used for motor fuel, which can be made from maize and wheat.
Farmers will respond to better prices by planting more, but it is not clear that they can overtake the booming demand for biofuel. Even if they do, they will catch up only by ploughing virgin habitat.
(Excerpt) Read more at environment.guardian.co.uk ...
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I guess it's lights-out for planet Earth, then. Hey, let's not all be sad. It was a good run.
Growing plants to use for fuel is somthing that would not happen in today's world, except for the intervention of busybodies in the marketplace.
And to stop it, all that needs to happen is for the busybodies to but out. Geroge Moonbat is one of the busybodies himself. And I'm sure that his solution is one that will involve more busybody tinkering to fix the problems caused by previous busybody tinkering.
I guess we better take care of the environment.
We'll never "save" the planet. It'll die off eventually as the sun burns itself up.
Is there a coherent reason for your aversion? Why is burning crops for fuel bizarre? The diesel engine was originally designed to run on peanut and corn oil, so its certainly not something new.
The only objections in this article are the usual enviro-wacko BS; killing rainforests, starving the poor, CO2 causing global warming.
Diesel engines running biodiesel is one of the only workable energy solution to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and when Honda releases their diesels in the US, I'll be first in line to get one. They're more efficient, faster, and can run on fuel that doesn't come from terrorist countries.
Do you think wholesale milk prices rising 9% by next fall has anything to do with converting corn into ethanol instead of feed?
Poor Mexicans are having problems buying tortillas because of corn prices rising to unaffordable levels.
Also read a couple days ago that some farmers are having problems getting seed corn because more corn is being planted.
This is what happens when the governments try to fix "social" problems. They can't see past their own nose.
MTBE anyone? C'mon California, tell 'em about MTBE.
I'm surprised that the hemp folks haven't chimed in yet. The stuff grows like weeds in places where food crops don't do well and has a number of other uses (besides the the favored one of the hemp crowd).
Wasting corn on biofuel does not make sense due to the degree of care and cultivation required.
Hey, I just had an idea. Let the price of fuels go up as demand outstrips supply and prople will find ways to live with less fuel. And besides that, they will be forced to find practical alternatives. Where do I sign up for my Nobel prize?
Agreed. Pebble-bed nuclear reactors powering electrics is the only long term solution.
Just plain ain't so. It takes fossil energy to produce biofuels. Fertilizer (Haber process - natural gas) Tractors (diesel) harvesters (diesel) transportation (diesel) pressing (electricity coal 50+% rest hydro, nuc) distillation (fuel oil or natural gas). What is critical is the energy balance in these processes. If they use as much energy (on according to some studies more) fossil energy than they produce, then they INCREASE dependence on foreign oil.
They're a fraud all right, but not for the reasons given in the article. They're a fraud because they're designed to transfer wealth (mandatory ethanol usage) from the general public to the ethanol producers and farmers at an increased dependence on foreign oil.
We will probably never know the true cost of our government's little ethanol folly. Besides heavy government subsidies, there is also the increased cost of corn and things made from corn. Ethanol not only raises the price of gas, it delivers lower fuel efficiency. If it was the answer, then why does government put a tax on imported ethanol from Brazil? Is there anyone on FR that still believes this is not a giant gift to Archer Daniels Midland and the grain lobby?
The current price increase is simply a temporary phenomenon as the US farmers gear up for increased production.
>Biodiesel has the same problems as ethanol; we don't have enough arable land to grow enough crops for it.<
Biodiesel can be made from used cooking oil. There's enough of that in US restaurants to make a sizable dent in our dependence on ME oil supplies. It takes less energy by far to produce biodiesel than it does ethanol, because of the recycling.
[Biodiesel has the same problems as ethanol; we don't have enough arable land to grow enough crops for it.]
Actually we do. We have plenty. If the guvmnt stays out of it, capitolism will make it all work. Part of GB's energy plan breaks down the farm aid acts that prohibit (and pay) farmers not to grow crops. We do not farm nearly as much land as you might think. Government subsidies pay farmers not to plant crops in order to control supply and prices. Years ago this was thought to protect the "family farmer." Now a days, wealthy people buy big lands and grab the subsidies because there is little oversite or regulation. I don't know the deatails, but I know that part of Bush's energy plan allows farmers to grow crops for fuel at will.
If you don't believe that there is plenty of land to grow corn for fuel, I recommend you take a cross country trip via three routes; I-70, I-80 and West Texas. I don't recommend an electric car for this trip unless you have a tent and a satelite phone.
We need a five-year freeze on the enviralists.
I asked a couple of farmers I know about the seed corn story. Neither mentioned any shortage. They pay cash, of course...
Original peanut oil engine designs did not envision the requirements of the worldwide market for transportation fuels.
I'm averted to the idea of burning food for fuel because I don't like the idea of food pricing competing with other uses. The factors of food demand and costs (costs of farming and processing/distribution) generate food prices. But I have an ethical problem bidding up the price of food based on demand that does not involve *eating* the food, when it's on this kind of scale.
I've always been taught to not waste food and burning it in a Honda is a waste to me. Let's drill for more oil for that purpose until there's better options available.
First rule of civilization: Don't burn your food.......
From the Guardian, no less.
Yes, but even though there may be no food there, you'll STILL be able to DRIVE to the supermarket...
Biodiesel oils from restaurants can be used as food and fuel after they are unuseable..........
You'll STILL be able to DRIVE to the supermarket......and pick up your copy of People, Time, Enquirer, Star............
Popular seed corn hybrids sold out because of ethanol boom
By Thomas Geyer Quad-City Times | Monday, March 19, 2007
Farmers ready to cash in on rising corn prices already should have bought their hybrid seeds for planting that will start in the next month.
Otherwise, their first and even second choices for hybrids probably are sold out.
Corn futures continue to hover about $4 a bushel in response to the growing demand for ethanol, which is why farmers are choosing to plant more corn.
At this point, any shortage of first or second choice hybrids probably is not a problem here in the cornbelt, but it could be in states to the south, where the planting season starts earlier, said DeWitt, Iowa, farmer Bob Bowman, president of the Iowa Corn Growers Association.
Restaurant waste is fine but it's a proverbial drop in the oil can.
The only objections in this article are the usual enviro-wacko BS; killing rainforests, starving the poor,
If you think starving the poor so you can feel good about driving your car is a good idea then you're part of the problem, not part of the solution.
Unless you grow the stuff, and then.....
So where did they get five years from? I figure it's from the same place most statistics come from with envirowhackos, from their tuckus.
An eyepopping report on the full range of subsidies, federal and state, is in the report "Biofuels: At What Cost. Government Support for Ethanol and Biodiesel in the United States" at http://www.globalsubsidies.org/IMG/pdf/biofuels_subsidies_us.pdf
Says who? Sounds like the same people who warn that "the planet is running out of oil".
This is a fuel that is readily available now, for engines that we have now that require little or no modification. Where's your electric car?
There will be plenty of corn, most likely too much of it, when the rising prices make other methods of making ethanol relatively cheaper. I'd be hesitant to plant too much acreage in corn.
At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30.
Archer Daniels Midland
A Case Study In Corporate Welfare http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-241.html
This makes no sense whatsoever. Three of those variables can themselves run on biodiesel. As for the rest, can you explain how using nuclear, hydro, and natural gas have anything to do with foreign oil?
Who is 'starving the poor?'
DUMPING US CORN EXPORTS TO MEXICO CAUSING POVERTY http://gristmill.grist.org/images/user/2988/oxfam_report_corn.pdf
If we want to save the planet, we should pass a Constitutional amendment prohibiting Congress from making any law that screws with the climate.
"Since the beginning of last year, the price of maize has doubled"
Oh, the horror!
You mean you I can't buy a bushel of corn for less than a 20 oz Dasani at the Kwiki-Mart anymore?
"Who is 'starving the poor?'"
Obviously, someone has not been shopping at Walmart lately. Our "poor" have to ride around in the motorized carts because they are too fat to walk.
The general health of the US population would be vastly improved if everyone had to grow their own food. Maybe we could reintroduce the concept of the Victory garden.
Farmers exploit misunderstandings to the hilt. After massive PR about flood losses and disaster relief, one summer I was in the Des Moines airport and eavesdropping on the conversations of farmers leaving on vacations paid for by the guv. They were discusssing what prices they got for their stored grain. It sounded a lot like a wine conversation with years and moisture percentages cited. The guv doesn't know what it is doing. My bro married into an Iowa farm family. They declared and got paid for crop losses, but the corn actually went to Tyson's in Arkansas.
Corn price has been too low since the British passed the first corn laws in 1800 to subsidize English farmers threatened by surpluses from colonies. Higher prices will enable farmers to modernize their operations to meet demand. And please explain why a wild rainforest is better than a well managed plantation in Brazil or Indonesia. Both photosynthesize.