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Being Green At Ben & Jerry s
MSNBC.com ^ | 04/30/02 | George Will

Posted on 04/30/2002 9:38:46 AM PDT by gubamyster

Some environmental policies are feel-good indulgences for an era of energy abundances

NEWSWEEK

May 6 issue — If you have an average-size dinner table, four feet by six feet, put a dime on the edge of it. Think of the surface of the table as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. The dime is larger than the piece of the coastal plain that would have been opened to drilling for oil and natural gas. The House of Representatives voted for drilling, but the Senate voted against access to what Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and presidential aspirant, calls “a few drops of oil.” ANWR could produce, for 25 years, at least as much oil as America currently imports from Saudi Arabia.

SIX WEEKS OF DESULTORY Senate debate about the energy bill reached an almost comic culmination in ... yet another agriculture subsidy. The subsidy is a requirement that will triple the amount of ethanol, which is made from corn, that must be put in gasoline, ostensibly to clean America’s air, actually to buy farmers’ votes. Over the last three decades, energy use has risen about 30 percent. But so has population, which means per capita energy use is unchanged. And per capita GDP has risen substantially, so we are using 40 percent less energy per dollar output. Which is one reason there is no energy crisis, at least none as most Americans understand such things—a shortage of, and therefore high prices of, gasoline for cars, heating oil for furnaces and electricity for air conditioners.

In the absence of a crisis to concentrate the attention of the inattentive American majority, an intense faction—full-time environmentalists—goes to work. Spencer Abraham, the secretary of Energy, says “the previous administration ... simply drew up a list of fuels it didn’t like—nuclear energy, coal, hydropower, and oil—which together account for 73 percent of America’s energy supply.” Well, there are always windmills.

Sometimes lofty environmentalism is a cover for crude politics. The United States has the world’s largest proven reserves of coal. But Mike Oliver, a retired physicist and engineer, and John Hospers, professor emeritus of philosophy at USC, note that in 1996 President Clinton put 68 billion tons of America’s cleanest-burning coal, located in Utah, off-limits for mining, ostensibly for environmental reasons. If every existing U.S. electric power plant burned coal, the 68 billion tons could fuel them for 45 years at the current rate of consumption. Now power companies must import clean-burning coal, some from mines owned by Indonesia’s Lippo Group, the heavy contributor to Clinton, whose decision about Utah’s coal vastly increased the value of Lippo’s coal.

The United States has just 2.14 percent of the world’s proven reserves of oil, so some people say it is pointless to drill in places like ANWR because “energy independence” is a chimera. Indeed it is. But domestic supplies can provide important insurance against uncertain foreign supplies. And domestic supplies can mean exporting hundreds of billions of dollars less to oil-producing nations, such as Iraq.

Besides, when considering proven reserves, note the adjective. In 1930 the United States had proven reserves of 13 billion barrels. We then fought the Second World War and fueled the most fabulous economic expansion in human history, including the electricity-driven “New Economy.” (Manufacturing and running computers consume 15 percent of U.S. electricity. Internet use alone accounts for half of the growth in demand for electricity.) So by 1990 proven reserves were... 17 billion barrels, not counting any in Alaska or Hawaii.

In 1975 proven reserves in the Persian Gulf were 74 billion barrels. In 1993 they were 663 billion, a ninefold increase. At the current rate of consumption, today’s proven reserves would last 150 years. New discoveries will be made, some by vastly improved techniques of deep-water drilling. But environmental policies will define opportunities. The government estimates that beneath the U.S. outer continental shelf, which the government owns, there are at least 46 billion barrels of oil. But only 2 percent of the shelf has been leased for energy development.

Opponents of increased energy production usually argue for decreased consumption. But they flinch from conservation measures. A new $1 gasoline tax would dampen demand for gasoline, but it would stimulate demands for the heads of the tax increasers. After all, Americans get irritable when impersonal market forces add 25 cents to the cost of a gallon. Tougher fuel-efficiency requirements for vehicles would save a lot of energy. But who would save the legislators who passed those requirements? Beware the wrath of Americans who like to drive, and autoworkers who like to make, cars that are large, heavy and safer than the gasoline-sippers that environmentalists prefer.

Some environmentalism is a feel-good indulgence for an era of energy abundance, which means an era of avoided choices. Or ignored choices—ignored because if acknowledged, they would not make the choosers feel good. Karl Zinsmeister, editor in chief of The American Enterprise magazine, imagines an oh-so-green environmentalist enjoying the most politically correct product on the planet—Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Made in a factory that depends on electricity-guzzling refrigeration, a gallon of ice cream requires four gallons of milk. While making that much milk, a cow produces eight gallons of manure, and flatulence with another eight gallons of methane, a potent “greenhouse” gas. And the cow consumes lots of water plus three pounds of grain and hay, which is produced with tractor fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and is transported with truck or train fuel:

“So every time he digs into his Cherry Garcia, the conscientious environmentalist should visualize (in addition to world peace) a pile of grain, water, farm chemicals, and energy inputs much bigger than his ice cream bowl on one side of the table, and, on the other side of the table, a mound of manure eight times the size of his bowl, plus a balloon of methane that would barely fit under the dining room table.” Cherry Garcia. It’s a choice. Bon appetit.

© 2002 Newsweek, Inc.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: environment

1 posted on 04/30/2002 9:38:46 AM PDT by gubamyster
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To: gubamyster
ANWR could produce, for 25 years, at least as much oil as America currently imports from Saudi Arabia.

The problem with most articles about America's dependence on foreign oil is that the author's are often woefully ignorant. Some estimates indicate that the tar sands region in northern Alberta could produce enough oil to sustain the current level of consumption in all of North America for the next 500 years. The problem is that it isn't terribly cost-effective to get most of the stuff out of the ground.

Even if ANWR were opened tomorrow, the U.S. would still import oil from the cheapest sources all over the globe. And you can be sure that the high cost of U.S. labor and a strong U.S. dollar will make ANWR oil far more costly to extract than oil from anywhere else in the world.

2 posted on 04/30/2002 9:49:06 AM PDT by Alberta's Child
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To: gubamyster
Of course, Ben and Jerry can afford gasoline at $ 3/gallon. Typical Marxist bums.
3 posted on 04/30/2002 9:49:44 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: gubamyster
The United States has the world’s largest proven reserves of coal. But Mike Oliver, a retired physicist and engineer, and John Hospers, professor emeritus of philosophy at USC, note that in 1996 President Clinton put 68 billion tons of America’s cleanest-burning coal, located in Utah, off-limits for mining, ostensibly for environmental reasons. If every existing U.S. electric power plant burned coal, the 68 billion tons could fuel them for 45 years at the current rate of consumption. Now power companies must import clean-burning coal, some from mines owned by Indonesia’s Lippo Group, the heavy contributor to Clinton, whose decision about Utah’s coal vastly increased the value of Lippo’s coal.

I am of the opinion that this decision could be easily reversed.

And we wouldn't even need to redefine what the meaning of the word 'is', is.

4 posted on 04/30/2002 9:52:06 AM PDT by Lazamataz
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Comment #5 Removed by Moderator

To: Lazamataz
in 1996 President Clinton put 68 billion tons of America’s cleanest-burning coal, located in Utah, off-limits for mining, ostensibly for environmental reasons.

WRONG! Clinton put it off limits as a campaign cash pay off to Riadi (sp?). Guess who has the 2nd largest reserve... Indonesia!

6 posted on 04/30/2002 9:57:47 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: Col. Forbin
Ask Ted Turner.
7 posted on 04/30/2002 9:58:16 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: Col. Forbin
I suppose you also think that George Soros and Ted Turner are fully dedicated to capitalism, right?

Ben and Jerry are wackos plain and simple.
8 posted on 04/30/2002 9:59:55 AM PDT by bourbon
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To: Col. Forbin
They may not be "Marxist bums" when it comes to their own interests, but they sure are @ssholes.

About ten years ago the company was an active supporter in a grassroots campaign to keep one of the large big-box stores (I think it was Wal-Mart) out of Vermont. The state has always had a reputation for being extremely protective of its rural image (often to the detriment of their own financial well-being).

One of the newspapers did a little research and found out that even as they were opposing the construction of the state's first Wal-Mart store, Ben & Jerry's had already signed an agreement with Wal-Mart giving them the exclusive right to operate ice cream stands within Wal-Mart stores in Vermont once they did get built.

9 posted on 04/30/2002 10:01:42 AM PDT by Alberta's Child
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To: Phantom Lord
Yeah Phantom! Good burn comeback!
10 posted on 04/30/2002 10:08:23 AM PDT by Bommer
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To: Col. Forbin
Oh, and Ben & Jerry do not own the company any more. They ran it into the ground after achieving great success and were on the verge of bankruptcy. They had to sell out to a big "evil" corporation.
11 posted on 04/30/2002 10:10:43 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

BFLR
13 posted on 04/30/2002 10:12:28 AM PDT by Captainpaintball
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Comment #14 Removed by Moderator

To: Phantom Lord
Phantom Lord the story agrees with your point..

Clinton put 68 billion tons of America’s cleanest-burning coal, located in Utah, off-limits for mining, ostensibly for environmental reasons ........
.....Now power companies must import clean-burning coal, some from mines owned by Indonesia’s Lippo Group, the heavy contributor to Clinton, whose decision about Utah’s coal vastly increased the value of Lippo’s coal.

ostensibly = supposedly = appears to be (but not really)

15 posted on 04/30/2002 10:18:04 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: gubamyster
Sorry about the size, but scaled down it's hard to see some of the details.

When I lived in ALaska, I don't remember to many people living that far north, heck for that matter, I don't remember any people WANTING to live that far north! After passing the arctic circle, (Which in well below the ANWR site), there was no desire for myself to even go exploring farther.

16 posted on 04/30/2002 10:19:21 AM PDT by KineticKitty
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To: gubamyster
Top 10 rejected Ben & Jerry flavors (From David Letterman, 02/21/97)

10. Rocky Roadkill

9. Cholesterol Chunk

8. Fudge Wapner

7. It Came from Wolf Blitzer's Beard

6. Contraceptive Crunch

5. Last Will and Testa-Mint

4. Marv Sherbert

3. Richard Simmons' Fruit Swirl

2. Michael Jackson's White Chocolate

1. Cookies 'n' Crack

17 posted on 04/30/2002 10:19:48 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: Col. Forbin
Actually, the Bill Gates that was running ads and promoting higher taxes and the continuance of the inheritance tax was Bill Gates Sr., Microsoft Bill's dad.

And as is the case with most hard core lefties, capatilism is fine for them, but not for you. The rules and dictates of socialism do not apply to them, but to the "lessors."

18 posted on 04/30/2002 10:21:50 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: gubamyster
Top 10 Least Popular Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Flavors - (David Letterman October 18, 1989)

10. Oprah Mocha

9. Raspberry Rash

8. Norieggnog

7. Cholesterol Chip

6. Zsa Zsa Gaboreo

5. Tiny Filaments O'Tungsten

4. Uninhibited by Cher

3. Stuff-Found-in-Ben-&-Jerry's-Pockets

2. Bus Depot Fudge

1. Hitler Ripple

19 posted on 04/30/2002 10:23:52 AM PDT by Phantom Lord
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To: gubamyster
Bump for Hagen Daz
20 posted on 04/30/2002 10:24:14 AM PDT by Helms
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To: Col. Forbin
Actually all of these executives are socialist, although a better term is limosine liberial. They advocate goverment controllin g the behavior of other throught their advocacy of goverment imposed solution to a variety of economic and social issues, exempting their own behavior of course. Read Thomas Sowell's book: "The Vision of the Anointed", he explains the behavior of the elite rich socialist far better than anyone on this board could.
21 posted on 04/30/2002 10:25:05 AM PDT by Leto
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To: Col. Forbin
I don't really think much about George Soros or Ted Turner

No offense, Colonel, but I can tell.

Wealth or even success at business does not automatically make one a supporter of the capitalist system. History is littered with folks like Robert Owen (and yes, Ted Turner, Geo. Soros, and Ben and Jerry) who used the proceeds from their successful businesses to underwrite socialist programs. I don't want to chasten you, but please wake up to this fact. They are a danger to the capitalist system as a whole, just as are other "rent-seeking" industrialists and monopolists.

Robert Owen--"The Father of English Socialism."
22 posted on 04/30/2002 10:27:53 AM PDT by bourbon
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To: Phantom Lord
Yes Indeed- Unilever---a Multi National To boot:

Press Contact:

Sun and Earth, Inc.

(610) 239-9677

info@sunandearth.com

FOR IMMEDIATE

RELEASE Cleaning Up After Ice Cream: Ben Cohen Leads Acquisition of Sun and Earth

-- Infusion of cash and business acumen expected to help propel natural soap company to market leadership --

Norristown, PA -- A non-profit venture fund established by Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, has purchased Sun and Earth, a line of natural, non-toxic household cleaning products headquartered in Norristown, an urban neighborhood located just outside Philadelphia. The acquisition was made by The Barred Rock Fund, a $5 million non-profit social venture fund established by Ben Cohen following the sale of Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever. The goal of the fund is to invest in companies that offer high quality entry-level jobs accessible to people living in low-income communities, and to provide equity ownership to workers. As a key component of the acquisition, a minimum of 20% of the company has been reserved for equity distribution to all Sun and Earth emplo

23 posted on 04/30/2002 10:31:36 AM PDT by Helms
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To: Alberta's Child
Some estimates indicate that the tar sands region in northern Alberta could produce enough oil to sustain the current level of consumption in all of North America for the next 500 years.

How about the Green River Shale formation in UT, CO and WY. Isn't that even a larger reserve than the Tar Sands?

24 posted on 04/30/2002 11:12:41 AM PDT by Mike Darancette
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To: Col. Forbin
They may be, but they make pretty good ice cream.

So does Haagen-Dasz, and you don't have to swallow a load of holier-than-thou liberal sanctimony with every spoonful.

25 posted on 04/30/2002 11:21:30 AM PDT by Still Thinking
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To: gubamyster
Don't forget that Ben & Jerry's are big PETA supporters, which we all know is a front for ELF (a known terrorist organization)
26 posted on 04/30/2002 11:25:09 AM PDT by shadowman99
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To: gubamyster
Enviroweenie Bump
27 posted on 05/01/2002 8:58:25 AM PDT by finnman69
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To: gubamyster
"Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Made in a factory that depends on electricity-guzzling refrigeration, a gallon of ice cream requires four gallons of milk. While making that much milk, a cow produces eight gallons of manure, and flatulence with another eight gallons of methane, a potent “greenhouse” gas. And the cow consumes lots of water plus three pounds of grain and hay, which is produced with tractor fuel, chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides, and is transported with truck or train fuel:"

The 'pagan religions' being taught in the public schools under the cover of pseudo-science. 'A religion by any other name, is still a religion'. And, a school teaching 'faith as fact' is known, in honest circles, as a church.

28 posted on 05/06/2002 10:00:53 AM PDT by d14truth
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