The list of failed U.S. taxpayer-funded green energy projects just keeps growing.
It is now being embarrassingly reported that the gigantic Ivanpah solar farm, which Google and NRG received huge subsidies for, is not producing the amount of energy contracted for.
The wealthy investors in the project are now requesting an extension of the time needed to prove the farm's output can even meet minimum levels agreed upon.
As this failed boondoggle is proving for U.S. taxpayers, sustainable, efficient and affordable green energy is not easy nor cheap. Deriving energy from the Sun is not "free" as activist proponents of non-fossil fuel sources claim.
And it's not only the U.S. that continues to experience terrible results from subsidized-green projects designed to enrich wealthy investors - here are recent examples of Australia and Spain, plus the ever-growing German Energiewende flop.
As has been well documented from multiple public sources over recent years, the establishment elites of power and wealth continue to easily waste taxpayer billions on questionable politically correct energy sources, instead of focusing those dollars for the basic research needed to make green energy a viable self-standing possibility.
Heavily subsidized wind turbine farms have been a mainstay for investors seeking wealth from the government mandated, renewable energy green fiascoes.
And wind farms have become a bloody slaughter-grounds mainstay for multiple species of birds and bats.
A threat of green-made extinction is in the air.
Now it appears that the significant offshore wind farm noise and other acoustic artifacts combine to produce a deadly impact on whales. And additional marine species may be adversely impacted too.
This image of the beached sperm whales on Europe's shores is not a typical occurrence. As this article explains, the gigantic offshore wind farms these two whales traversed may be the underlying cause.Sadly, an additional 27 whales suffered the same fates at the same time.
Since wind farm power generation has no discernible influence on global warming, and are unable to survive without a massive transfer of average taxpayer monies to wealthy investors, via government mandate, maybe its time for this subsidization of mass animal killings to end.
Article: The establishment climate science experts have long pushed their favored policy of fossil fuel energy production being replaced by renewable energy sources. The indisputable result has been a literal green energy fiasco in many countries as political leaders fall all over themselves to make taxpayers massively subsidize the green energy projects of billionaires and powerful corporations.
Yet when informed high-tech analysis is applied to an objective review of renewable green energy, it becomes readily apparent that current renewable energy options are abject failures on all counts, including the goal of reducing global warming.
Article: The EU's major industrial powerhouse is fast becoming a 90-pound weakling - sapped by the incredibly stupid energy policy known as Energiewende. The renewable fiasco has becomes so bad that German politics are severely split as to solutions, with the dominant solution being an increased reliance on CO2-producing coal energy.
As this chart depicts, energy prices for German consumers is on an exponential path skyward since the renewable polices were aggressively pursued.
The land-needed differential is simply staggering - some 300 to 580 times larger for solar and wind production (see top graphic).
Back in 2009, 'C3' created a similar type of image (see bottom graphic) that depicted how much land was needed to replace all U.S. fossil fuel plants with solar and wind facilities - based on this analysis. As in the UK depiction, the nuclear option (see green dot) land needed is a fraction of the enormous appetite of "leading" renewable solutions.
The stunning stuck-on-stupid green ideology shown in all its wasteful environmental graphic glory.
In a nutshell, the UN's IPCC's obsession and idiocy about non-existent catastrophic global warming begets the biofuel/ethanol idiocy.
"Getting rid of biofuel programs would cut Europe’s food costs in half by 2020, and lower global food prices by 15 percent. That’s according to a new report, commissioned by the EU’s own Joint Research Center (JRC), released ahead of a critical European Parliament..."
Grain for cars raises world food prices for the impoverished by 15% - that's a humanitarian crime that only wealthy elites can envision and be excited about.
Because climate doomsday scientists and activists continue to frighten the hysterical-prone media and bureaucrats, there are now those who consider burning the world's forests to generate electricity to be a viable solution - another questionable proposal from CAGW devotees
Read here. The hysterical fears associated with CAGW belief often leads to bizarre regulations and proposals to reduce and/or eliminate human CO2 emissions.
One such bizarre "green" proposal is to harvest the world's existing forests and burn the wood in power plants to generate electricity. This idea by extreme green fanatics borders on a "sacrificing the patient to cure a speculative disease" type of mentality.
A team of researchers (Schulze et al.) analyzed this bizarre proposal and concluded the following:
"..."such an increase in biomass harvest would result in younger forests, lower biomass pools, depleted soil nutrient stocks and a loss of other ecosystem functions," such that "the proposed strategy is likely to miss its main objective, i.e. to reduce GHG emissions, because it would result in a reduction of biomass pools that may take decades to centuries to be paid back by fossil fuel substitution, if paid back at all." In the long run, therefore, they feel that "depleted soil fertility will make the production unsustainable and require fertilization, which in turn increases GHG emissions due to N2O emissions," which ultimately makes the large-scale production of bioenergy from forest biomass, in their opinion, "neither sustainable nor GHG neutral."...they caution that society should fully quantify direct and indirect GHG emissions associated with energy alternatives and associated consequences prior to making policy commitments that have long-term effects on global forests; for they ominously warn "there is a substantial risk of sacrificing forest integrity and sustainability for maintaining or even increasing energy production with no guarantee to mitigate climate change.""
Read here. Another incredible example of big government 'green energy' failure. The green idiocy just begets more.
"Department of Energy officials gave a New Hampshire-based biofuel company access to $80 million for a Michigan project that has already fallen short of job creation expectations, despite receiving another $40 million in state and DOE subsidies...“In September 2008, Mascoma [Corp.] pledged 70 jobs at the plant by the end of 2012. On Feb. 29 of this year, Mascoma reported to the MEDC that only three jobs had been created by the grant,”..."
It's a connect the dots "climate change" moment: The ever self-righteous green organizations, such as the WWF, are being paid by 'Big Wind' companies for less than charitable reasons - obviously, what's best for the environment is no longer the primary mission for most greens
Read here. If true, it's another confirmation that big green is on the payroll of special interest groups that happen to spoil nature, harm the environment and cause climate change.
As more and more local communities do battle with the wind firms in order to save their environment, they are being back stabbed by the paragons of "green," all in the name of a greener green - the money in their coffers.
And it's not just the WWF.
"It has apparently also been revealed that Friends of the Earth Scotland are supported by Scottish Power Renewables, while the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Scotland is also in the pay of big wind."
Connect the dots climate change has more importantly become the sleazeball issue of 'follow the money' - not the talked about issue of global warming or climate change (severe weather) events. Green groups, such as the WWF, are compromised by greed and not to be trusted to protect either nature or the environment
Read here. The notoriety of Obama's and the Democrat's green job fiasco is finally being picked up by the leading pulpit of green-leftism in the U.S. - the New York Times. The gullibility and idiocy represented by the article brings a certain level of schadenfreude as greenie/leftie/liberal cope with the obvious, yet continue to pursue a failed strategy they do excel at: wasting taxpayer monies.
"In the Bay Area as in much of the country, the green economy is not proving to be the job-creation engine that many politicians envisioned. President Obama once pledged to create five million green jobs over 10 years. Gov. Jerry Brown promised 500,000 clean-technology jobs statewide by the end of the decade."
Rather than adding jobs, the study found, the sector actually lost 492 positions from 2003 to 2010 in the South Bay, where the unemployment rate in June was 10.5 percent.
Federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed, government records show.
Job training programs intended for the clean economy have also failed to generate big numbers...$59 million in state, federal and private money dedicated to green jobs training and apprenticeship has led to only 719 job placements — the equivalent of an $82,000 subsidy for each one."
Read here. With U.S. state budgets under tremendous pressure to balance budgets, many are cutting expenses, including those lucrative subsidies for solar installations. Now that solar subsidies have been reduced or eliminated, solar home and business installations rarely make viable economic sense.
Tennessee and Oregon are two recent states that are pulling the plug on solar.
""While the state has put great emphasis on solar technology in recent years, bringing that technology to bear in Tennessee homes and businesses is proving a difficult task because of the high cost of installation, which is becoming increasingly hard for the state and its citizens to swallow. Wednesday, the Tennessee Solar Institute announced it would stop processing applications for further grants as it exhausts about $10 million of stimulus funds encouraging businesses to invest in solar technology."......""Without the tax credits, the economics of commercial solar projects don't work, for electricity buyers or investors who underwrite the projects.""
Read here and here. The problem of rare earth supply is one even shared by China's own wind turbine manufacturers. The prices have risen so sharply that production of high demand wind turbines has to be curtailed to the detriment of Chinese producers and international turbine customers.
With the massive government subsidization of renewable energy projects, the supply of rare earth production has tightened, and has become especially acute since China production represents 95% of the world's supply. Despite this known death grip on supply, the Obama administration and other western countries have done little to solve the China problem.
"The result, according to US analysts, is that the rest of the world has sleepwalked into the parlous situation it now finds itself in. 'We all know the ball has been dropped in this [rare earths] space and not only by the US but by a whole swath of Western economies,'...The GAO report estimated it could take 15 years for the West to catch up with China and develop alternative supplies...a senior metallurgist at the US Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory, has been studying rare-earth materials since the 1960s. 'There is nearly zero rare-earths mining, processing and research going on now in the US,'...Officials in the US, Japan and Europe are now debating whether to lodge a complaint with the World Trade Organisation over China's export quotas on rare earths. Their concern is that China will have an unfair price advantage as it builds up a green-tech industry that it wants to export all over the world."
Read here. Obama and his team think they can pick green energy technology winners. They have increased the subsidies to solar companies by 626% while trying to reduce subsidies to fossil fuels.
"President Barack Obama wants to end subsidies that go to oil and natural gas companies, a new Department of Energy report shows that federal subsidies to clean energy are way up, with solar seeing a subsidy increase of 626 percent...Obama repeated his call to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and said that “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we should invest in tomorrow’s,” adding that “clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses,” and “[a]n investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow.”"
But those solar investments are going south, losing the taxpayer monies in the process as we discussed here and here. Obama and the Federal government need to remove themselves from the energy market, which subsidies and regulation have turned into a dysfunctional sector of the economy.
Read here. Solon Solar is closing their Arizona plant. Green jobs lost will be 65. The company will move manufacturing to existing overseas plants.
""The Solon product we manufacture here in Tucson may have a better fit and finish than some others, but the market doesn't really value that," he said. "The market values a low price. We are going to stop beating our heads against the wall and say, 'How can we be smart strategically?' "
Just more evidence that the continuing hefty subsidies of "green jobs" by the Obama administration is a complete waste of tax payer monies.
Read here. Evergreen Solar a subsidized concern that closed its plant and cut 800 jobs has now filed for bankruptcy. Before doing so, they moved their plant to China.
From 2008, at the genesis of the Obama 'green job' scam:
""Thanks to the dedication and collaboration of AeonSolar, Evergreen Solar, PV Powered, IBEW, Turner Construction and the DNCC, we have been able to provide clean, renewable solar power to the Pepsi Center and raise awareness on renewable sources of energy to those attending the Democratic National Convention,” said Andrea Robinson, Director of Sustainability & Greening, Democratic National Convention Committee."
Read here. (h/t Tom Nelson) Enron alumni Jim Rogers is another "green" cap and trade lover who seems committed to destroying local environments for the sake of making a profit. If companies like Duke, and wealthy investors like Gore and Soros have their way, the world will be a barren wasteland because of the deranged profit incentive of anti-CO2 policies.
"Last year Duke sought permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to classify two of its coal-fired power plants as renewable facilities, because the company wants to burn a combination of wood chips and coal at the plants. NCUC determined the renewables statute allowed that “wood derived from whole trees in primary harvest is a ‘biomass resource’ and thus a ‘renewable energy resource,’” and therefore approved Duke’s application. Environmental Defense Fund and the NC Sustainable Energy Association – with Southern Environmental Law Center providing legal help – challenged the ruling, and the Court of Appeals sided with NCUC and Duke"
Read here. Al Gore and his billionaire friends need to make more money. The easiest and sleazeball way to accomplish said objective is to invest in "green" renewable energy schemes that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers in order to enrich the rich. Wealthy investors putting stakes into "green" wind turbine farms is one such example.
Wind energy, which represents ancient technology gussied up to excite investors, is a major environmental degradation. As is well documented, the wind turbines are efficient bird cuisinarts, killing at least 400,000 birds per year and growing.
To make wind turbine farms somewhat efficient, they need to be placed in windy areas that migratory birds favor. A U.S. agency committed to wildlife protection has given its blessing to placing wind farms along a 200-mile wide corridor within the U.S. that is a major migration path for the endagered whooping crane.
When Al Gore's money talks, bad things happen.....
"The plan by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) would allow for killing endangered whooping cranes. The government’s environmental review will consider a permit, sought by 19 energy developers, which would allow constructing turbines (over 300 feet tall) and associated transmission lines on non-federal lands in nine states from Montana to the Texas coast, encroaching on the migratory route of the cranes...The leading cause of death for the nation’s last historic population of whooping cranes, which stand at 5 feet and have a wingspan of more than 7 feet, is overhead utility lines, the Fish and Wildlife Service has said."
Read here. Producing the gigantic amounts of biofuel crops planned for the future will require the accelerated growth of dangerous chemicals and pesticides use across even pristine non-agricultural areas. To maximize yield and profit potential for wealthy biofuel investors, such as Al Gore and George Soros, modern industrialized agriculture demands the utilization of these hazardous, very toxic substances.
Peer reviewed research is documenting a future of significant environmental degradation as a direct result of the anti-fossil fuel, pro biofuel campaign - a campaign led by a collaboration of faux-green wealthy individuals and "sustainable" crony capitalists. Essentially, the "greens" will destroy the planet to save it.
"...the two researchers note that industrialized agriculture "is one of the most important drivers of environmental degradation worldwide," reporting that it "has caused large-scale contamination of soil, water and biota, through the extensive use of agro-chemicals, including pesticides and soil amendment products such as fertilizers." And they report that "there is increasing concern that micropollution -- characterized by low-level, multi-compound exposure -- may suffice to elicit critical, potentially hazardous effects on environmental and human health..."the hazards imposed by all 784 pesticides currently registered for use on biofuel crops in Brazil," and in doing so, they say they detected compounds that have been "suspended by international conventions," as well as compounds that are included in databases and lists of priority concern that are "highly toxic in acute exposure, neurotoxic, probable or known carcinogens, known groundwater contaminants, and/or of known reproductive or developmental toxicity,"...suggest that these chemicals will soon be employed "at increased rates, or for the first time, across large expanses of agro-industrially converted pastures and native (i.e., pristine) habitat in the cerrado (tropical savanna) and Amazonian rainforest biomes," which ecosystems will undoubtedly see great pressures exerted on the vast array of indigenous species of plants and animals that reside within them, perhaps driving many of them to extinction..." [Luis Schiesari, Britta Grillitsch 2011: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment]
Read here and here. The anti-CO2 greens and liberal/progressive/Democrats have been at the forefront of pushing wind turbines as renewable energy sources. Yet these million dollar machines are wreaking havoc and mayhem on birds and bats - it's man-made, environmentalist-caused species extinction in full progress.
In California, they are finally investigating the slaughter:
"An investigation has been launched into the deaths of migratory birds including several federally protected golden eagles at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s Pine Tree Wind Project...Should the inquiry result in a prosecution, the 120-megawatt facility on 8,000 acres of rugged terrain would be the first wind farm to face charges under the Endangered Species Act..."
"Scores of the protected birds have been dying each year after colliding with the blades of about 5,000 wind turbines...Now the drive for renewable power sources, such as wind and the sun, being promoted by President Obama and state Governor Jerry Brown has raised fears that the number of newborn golden eagles may not be able to keep pace with the number of turbine fatalities..."It would take 167 pairs of local nesting golden eagles to produce enough young to compensate for their mortality rate related to wind energy production.""
Read here and here. The U.S. Senate has overwhelmingly voted to end the lucrative ethanol corporate welfare scheme. The two largest supporters of this billions-of-dollars per year welfare scam are President Obama and presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and both remained loyal to the bitter end. Their support was primarily due to pandering for Iowa votes and for immense contributions from the ethanol industry.
Originally, politicians embraced ethanol subsidies as a supposed means to reduce global warming and to provide energy independence, plus Obama's team claimed the subsidy would increase the nation's "green job" employment. As this corporate welfare program continued to suck money out of taxpayer wallets, it became obvious that ethanol production/use had no discernible impact on global warming or energy independence or overall employment.
Other than Obama and Romney, the majority of politicians from both parties decided it was time for this brain-dead corporate welfare subsidy to end. When true leadership was required to stare down the pigs at the government trough, neither party's major candidate had the spine to do so.
"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called Thursday’s Senate vote in favor of quickly killing a major ethanol industry tax break “ill advised,” alleging it will cost jobs...“The Administration supports efforts currently underway in the Senate to reform and modernize tax incentives and other programs that support biofuels. However, today’s amendments are not reforms and are ill advised. They will lead to job loss as our nation begins its economic recovery and pull the rug out from under industry, which will lead to less choice for consumers and greater dependence on foreign oil.”"
Read here and here. No wonder Newt thinks ethanol subsidies are such a great idea - he literally gets paid huge bucks to say that. He's definitely going to be a big hit in the Iowa 2012 Republican primary where a large number of the ethanol-loving parasites live and vote.
Over the last 15 years, corn farmers have averaged about $5 billion per year in subsidies. In addition, ethanol blenders get 45 cents per gallon, almost another $5 billion, which is indirectly shared with the corn producers. And finally, the federal government imposes a 54 cent/gallon tariff on cheap foreign ethanol products, which is another indirect subsidy for corn farmers (the tariffs protect them from a cheaper and better product, foreign sugarcane ethanol).
Sooo, while the farmer and corporate welfare queens are pigging out at the ethanol-subsidy trough, a new peer-researched report in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons indicates that the subsidized/mandated biofuel polices are increasing the levels of poverty, starvation and death across the globe.
"Combining these estimates with estimates of the increase in poverty owing to growth in biofuels production over 2004 levels leads to the conclusion that additional biofuel production may have resulted in at least 192,000 excess deaths [editor: during 2010]...Based on current technologies, higher biofuel production necessarily means greater diversion of crops and/or cropland to the production of fuel rather than food. The iron law of supply and demand dictates that this would almost unavoidably increase global food prices over what they would otherwise be. Indeed, this is confirmed by studies of the impact of biofuel production on global food prices,..."[Indur M. Goklany 2011: Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons]
With the U.S. representing some 70% of world corn production, and with ethanol now consuming 40% of that U.S. production, there is less corn to feed both people and animals, which ultimately drives prices higher on a wide variety of food products. The higher prices mean many eat less or nothing at all, which is increasing the incidence of starvation and death.
Thank you, Newt and Iowa parasites. (And yes, subsidies for all energy sources/parasites should be killed, not just those for ethanol.)
Read here. Chalk up even more inconvenient environmental disasters from politicians and those wealthy investors (Soros, Gore, Brin, Page and etc.) pursuing greater profits cloaked in the mantle of green. Because Cuisinart wind farms have a voracious appetite for flying creatures, some North American bat species face potential extinction due to an idiotic green power policy and dollars.
New research by Boyles et al. in the Science journal paints a bleak picture for the flying mammal and agriculture:
"At the same time, bats of several migratory tree-dwelling species are being killed in unprecedented numbers at wind turbines across the continent......Because of these combined threats, sudden and simultaneous population declines are being witnessed in assemblages of temperate-zone insectivorous bats on a scale rivaled by few recorded events affecting mammals.....“Populations of at least one species (little brown bat, Myotis lucifugus) have declined so precipitously that regional extirpation and extinction are expected,".....The authors calculated new estimates to the entire United States to gauge how much the disappearance of bats could cost the agricultural industry. “We estimate the value of bats to the agricultural industry is roughly $22.9 billion/year,” they state, with high end estimates as large as $53 billion/year."....“Bats are among the most overlooked, yet economically important, nondomesticated animals in North America, and their conservation is important for the integrity of ecosystems and in the best interest of both national and international economies,”" [Justin G. Boyles, Paul M. Cryan,Gary F. McCracken and Thomas H. Kunz 2011: Science]
Read here. Biofuels produced from palm oil trees, rapeseed and soybeans produce more greenhouse emissions than petroleum diesel fuel. Why? When all the cradle-to-grave factors are assessed for fuel types, including indirect and direct land use, crop/plantation agriculture production, material processing and manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal and/or recycling, the total greenhouse emissions (not just CO2) for these type of biofuels exceed equivalent crude oil derivatives.
Unfortunately, politicians and policymakers worldwide foolishly provided incentives to wealthy investors (Soros, Gore and etc.) for a quick, large increase of biofuel production without waiting for the necessary scientific due diligence the public would naturally expect. As a result, global greenhouse emissions have not only increased needlessly because of this stupidity by elites, but invaluable, irreplaceable, pristine tropical forests were destroyed to make room for growing the gas emitting biofuel crops.
"The University of Amsterdam researcher reports that with respect to obtaining palm oil from trees planted on recently deforested soil in Southeast Asia, soybean oil from crops planted on recently deforested soil in Brazil, and rapeseed oil from crops planted on existing arable soil in Europe, it has been found that "the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the life cycle of the oils considered are larger than the corresponding emissions associated with conventional fossil fuel-based diesel."...And he further reminds us that when there is a rapid expansion of oil crop production on existing arable soils, much of the shortfall in food and feed production "has to be met by expansion of agricultural land elsewhere,".....also notes that in the case of palm oil, the time required to pay back the subsequent "carbon debt" is probably on the order of 60-100 years "when oil palms are cultivated on mineral soils after recent deforestation and on the order of more than one century to over nine centuries, when the oil palms are cultivated on peat." And when soybeans are cultivated for oil on recently deforested land, he says that "the carbon payback time is in excess of 300 years."" [Lucas Reijnders 2011: Renewable Energy]
Read here. Food prices jump to record levels in February despite February wheat and rice prices being essentially flat. Yet, February corn prices are up significantly even with 2010 being the 3rd largest U.S. corn crop ever. Why? Because of the Obama and Democrats' policies to buy off favored, political contribution fat-cats, our cars now have a mandated, growing and voracious appetite for corn ethanol - wheat and rice, not so much.
"The increase in February mostly reflected further gains in international maize prices, driven by strong demand amid tightening supplies, while prices rose marginally in the case of wheat and fell slightly in the case of rice."
"In other words, this is mainly about corn. And who’s the biggest corn exporter in the world? The United States...And where is 40% of US corn production going this year? Ethanol, for use in US car engines."
The Obama administration policy of purposefully enriching the Big Corn-agribusiness interests with huge ethanol subsidies and a favored regulatory environment, at the expense and harm to global food consumers and U.S. taxpayers, is business as usual for the favored crony capitalism of the "messiah."
Read here. As has been written before, using crops to feed cars instead of mouths is an unmitigated disaster for multiple reasons. The only explanation that the biofuels industry survives is the Obama Democrats need to enrich its billionaire supporters and its big business friends in the agriculture sector.
Study after study has documented the complete waste that the biofuels effort represents, with the latest by Bryan et al., again providing the proof that only taxpayer funded subsidies keep this unconscionable renewable energy effort afloat.
"...as they [researchers] describe it, "assessed the potential benefits, costs, and trade-offs associated with biofuels agriculture to inform bioenergy policy.".....The three Australian researchers report finding that "biofuels agriculture was more profitable over an extensive area of the most productive arable land," producing "large quantities of biofuels" that "substantially increased economic profit." But they add that the end result was "only a modest net GHG [greenhouse gas] abatement" that had "a negligible effect on net energy production." In addition, they indicate that the economic profit was largely due to "farm subsidies for GHG mitigation," and that whatever benefits were accrued came "at the cost of substantially reduced food and fiber production."....."if biofuels are to be embraced," as Bryan et al. comment in concluding their assessment of the issue, "additional policy design features and institutions are required to support farm subsidies."" [Brett A. Bryan, Darran King, Enli Wang 2010: Global Change Biology Bioenergy]
Read here. Despite Gore's recent admission that supporting corn ethanol was a mistake, Obama's EPA decided to up the blended gasoline from 10% to 15% ethanol. Then Obama and Congressional Democrats made sure the tax compromise kept the 45 cents/gallon ethanol subsidy as an additional bonus to Big Agri-business financial supporters. This was accomplished knowing full well that increased corn production for ethanol is grievously polluting waters, creating coastal area dead zones.
And not only is the ethanol policy polluting waters, its impacting local environments and wildlife habitats by pulling land out of conservation and putting it back in active crop production.
The corn ethanol problem continues to rape the American taxpayer due to gigantic subsidies, combined with a terrible impact on the environment - a genuine lose-lose proposition.
"This observation is reflected in the Crop Acreage Report released at the end of June by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Nationwide, corn is being grown on 93 million acres this year, a 19 percent increase over last year and the greatest total number of acres in corn since 1944.....Farmers are growing more corn because strong demand—driven largely by the rush to produce ethanol for fuel—has pushed corn prices far above the long-term average. While the boom in corn provides economic benefits to agriculture, it also entails a number of environmental costs......One potential long-term impact of the current corn boom is pressure to move land out of the federal Conservation Reserve Program, or CRP.....Taking such land out of CRP can, by eliminating the filtering action of streamside buffer strips, have a negative environmental impact far beyond the small additional crop income.....A more immediate potential impact of planting more corn is increased nutrient pollution in waterways, a problem that stretches from the upper Midwest all the way to the oxygen-starved, “dead zone” that forms in the Gulf of Mexico each summer. At some 7,900 square miles, this year’s dead zone is the third largest since monitoring began in 1985.....Their study projected that going from half corn and half beans to two-thirds corn would lead to a 29 percent increase in nitrogen runoff. The beans, while they actually produce nitrogen, also act as a sponge to soak up excess nitrogen and store it in the soil more stably for later use by corn. Eliminating the beans disrupts the cycle, causing greater nitrogen runoff."
Read here. We've written before about the huge Chinese risk that Democrats and climate alarmists were creating for the U.S economy. Pushing renewable energy solutions for electricity and transportation that rely on China as a major provider of rare element materials is pure Democrat/liberal/leftist/progressive stupidity. Energy innovation and new technology are great ideals, unless it creates an unhealthy dependency (addiction?) that is even more unstable than the foreign oil dependency the U.S. presently relies on.
Read here. The brilliance of big government politicians is always soooo stunning. Big corn business interests tell politicians that ethanol will cut oil imports substantially. Politicians believe the corporate types and the sleazy renewable energy investors (i.e., Gore, Soros, etc.), and thus give $7 billion per year in subsidies to these corn-geeks. Now after 10 years of this idiocy, corn ethanol production has increased dramatically but oil imports has increased even more - that's right, U.S. oil imports increased, despite the claims of the ethanol rip-off lobby.
And now the politicians and big government EPA bureaucrats want to subsidize the big corn investors even more by mandating the all U.S. gas have at least 15% ethanol, which will automatically decrease a vehicle's miles per gallon efficiency. Simply amazing.
It's time to escort the existing ruling class in Washington out the door this November.
"In the next few weeks, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to rule on a proposal to increase from 10 percent to 15 percent the amount of ethanol that may be blended into gasoline.....Since the 1970s, Congress has justified subsidies to the corn ethanol industry with the oft-repeated claim that boosting domestic production of ethanol will increase America's energy security by reducing U.S. oil imports.....Between 1999 and 2009, U.S. ethanol production increased seven-fold, to more than 700,000 barrels per day (bbl/d). During that period, however, oil imports increased by more than 800,000 bbl/d.
Tax subsidies provided to corn ethanol producers have been larger than those given to producers of any other form of renewable energy.
Corn ethanol subsidies are now costing U.S. taxpayers about $7 billion per year, the Congressional Budget Office reported in July. The CBO found that producing enough corn ethanol to match the energy contained in a single gallon of conventional gasoline costs taxpayers $1.78.
Corn ethanol is a financially inefficient method of cutting carbon dioxide emissions, costing taxpayers $754 per metric ton of CO2 avoided, the Congressional Budget Office also reported."
Read here. The Mafia, or lawyers - hey....what's the difference? Because of their burning desire to save world's environment, everyone loves renewable energy's potential.
"Tennessee attorney gets 26-month sentence for defrauding biofuels subsidy program.....was indicted on ten counts of filing false statements to weasel $2.88 million out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Information contained within the falsified statements is not available to the public, but we assume that the charges somehow tie in with the company obtaining money from the government's subsidy program even though it did not qualify to receive it."
Read here. Just about everything associated with green energy initiatives turns into a scam, attracting both organized crime and the Gore/Soros leftist wealth. Unfortunately, the wind power "renewable" market is also incredibly vulnerable to these types of scam artists, as evidenced by the happenings in Sicily.
"Attracted by the prospect of generous grants designed to boost the use of alternative energies, the so-called "eco Mafia" has begun fraudulently creaming off millions of euros from both the Italian government and the European Union....."Nothing earns more than a wind farm," said Edoardo Zanchini, an environmental campaigner who has investigated Mafia infiltration of the industry. "Anything that creates wealth interests the Mafia."...It is not just Italian criminals, however, who have spotted the potential for corruption. Recent research by Kroll, the international corporate security firm, has discovered examples all over Europe of so-called "clean energy" schemes being used to to line criminals' pockets rather than save the planet. Some involve windmills that stand derelict or are simply never built, while others are used to launder profits from other crime enterprises."
Read here. It's fairly obvious that the only reason Obama supports the ethanol program, which burns food to make fuel, is due to wealthy supporters. These individuals and businesses that are heavily invested in the profit-making potential of bio-fuels, require government subsides and mandates (e.g. 15% of gas supply has to be ethanol based) to enrich themselves. And they give a lot of money to Obama and Democrats in order to procure those subsidies and mandates. Now, even the major media supporters of Obama are speaking out on the ethanol scam for the rich.
There is no other rational reason to support any ethanol production, as its many environmental and economic/consumer shortcomings have been well documented. Add these shortcomings to the fact that by making major reductions in the world's food supply in order to feed cars, thus causing more malnourishment and starvation, is just simply immoral.
"...That said, note that since 2004, the amount of grain the US has diverted to the ethanol sector has tripled. And during that same time period, the number of people globally who are undernourished has increased by about 150 million.....While the mortality rates in the US are worth noting, the report from the Earth Policy Institute underscores the immorality of the entire corn ethanol scam. I seldom talk about morals and immorality as those issues are fraught with value judgments. But the immorality of the ethanol scam is obvious: the US is burning food to make motor fuel. And it is doing so at a time when there is growing global demand for inexpensive food and no shortage of motor fuel.....There are lots of stupid federal programs. There are lots of wasteful federal programs. The corn ethanol mandates are immoral. "
Read here. Map source here. Major developed countries are diverting huge amounts of their agricultural crops in order to produce ethanol-types of fuels. The supposed purpose of doing so is to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, thus causing "less" harm to the environment and the climate. Unfortunately, it is well known within scientific circles that fuel production from biomass is actually moreharmful for the environment.
Another very ugly result of diverting billions of tons of agriculture to fuel production is the consequence of food shortages and skyrocketing food prices, especially when other sources of food are interrupted due to natural weather events. As the populace of Mozambique knows, food shortages and high prices determine life and death in their environment.
"MAPUTO, Mozambique, Sept. 3, 2010 (UPI) -- A 30 percent rise in bread prices triggered riots in Maputo, Mozambique, that killed at least seven people and injured 228, government officials said. The riots Wednesday and Thursday in the country's capital prompted fears that food protests could spread across poorer African countries relying on agricultural imports, similar to the riots of 2007-08, the Financial Times reported..."
Read here. If one desires any proof that the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress could care less about the environment, the legislation to expand the use of ethanol as fuel is all one needs. Almost all proposed climate/energy legislation is blatant big corporate welfare or an attempt to enrich wealthy liberal/left donors who invest in get-rich-quick-on-taxpayer-subsidies green schemes.
The ethanol expansion is a classic case of a gigantic corporate welfare scheme, which a lot of people and groups (both left and right) are now plenty sick and tired of, as the above linked article documents.
And, as we've mentioned before, the ethanol (and other biofuels) solution is just plain stupid for a lot of important reasons.
Ethanol produces little or no additional energy versus energy needed to produce it.
Can damage vehicle engines not designed to run on ethanol.
Result in greater CO2 emissions than fossil fuel.
Causes rising food prices either directly or by competing with food crops.
Food riots and hunger have been direct result of higher ethanol production.
Encourages clearing of climate-stabilizing forest lands.
Increases use of fertilizer leading to greater runoff and NOx emissions.
Huge amounts of scarce fresh water wasted to produce single gallon of ethanol.
Produce less energy than simply burning the biomass to produce electricity.
Are only commercially viable with government subsidies and forced use mandates.
Read here. Obama and Democrats continue to propose and maintain energy regulations/legislation that suck big money out of taxpayers' wallet to enrich the Dem-Left's renewable energy, big corporate supporters and lobbyists.
$1.78 per gallon corporate subsidy by taxpayers: Corn ethanol
$2.55 per gallon corporate subsidy by taxpayers: Celluosic ethanol
$3.00 per gallon corporate subsidy by taxpayers: Biodiesel
So far, renewable energy schemes (scams?) from large corporations are mostly environmental disasters, funded by the gigantic annual expense to individual taxpayers.
Read here. The best U.S scientists made predictions for solar power during the first energy "crisis." How good were their predictions? Terrible, which is the the usual outcome with expert predictions, including 99.99% of all climate change predictions that the gullible-MSM faithfully repeats from the scientist press releases.
In comparison to the simple solar power market, it is often said that Earth's climate is the most complex system known because it incorporates these characteristics: non-linear, chaotic, and coupled. These three attributes should invoke immense climate scientist humility, but they don't seem to. In addition, for these numerous fundamental reasons (besides the déjà vu of experts always being wrong) the public and policymakers should outright reject any notion that climate predictions from scientists and climate models have any real-world validity.
Read here. As we have written about before, ethanol and other biofuels are not only economic disasters, they are also very harmful to the environment. As the actual science of biofuels is slipping out, these fuels actually can cause more CO2 emissions than the fossil fuels they are supposed to replace.
Politicians decided to close their eyes to the real environmental science because of the dollars that biofuel lobbyists were throwing around. The same lucre-spreading is happening in regards to cap and trade CO2 legislation.
"Biofuels such as biodiesel from soy beans can create up to four times more climate-warming emissions than standard diesel or petrol, according to an EU document released under freedom of information laws...Chief among those fears is that biofuel production soaks up grain from global commodity markets, forcing up food prices and encouraging farmers to clear tropical forests in the quest for new land...Burning forests releases vast quantities of carbon dioxide and often cancels out many of the climate benefits sought from biofuels...Biodiesel from North American soybeans has an indirect carbon footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule -- four times higher than standard diesel ..."
Read here. Using food crops to power transportation has to be one of the most brain-dead energy policies ever conceived. We have writtenaboutthis subject before as it is causing all sorts of serious problems that would be best solved by ceasing all subsidization of biofuel production, immediately.
Read here. One has to be significantly brain-impaired to actually believe what's being shoveled out by the Obama administration and the special interests (big $$ lobbyists) on jobs, energy and climate. As the article points out, the politician's "green jobs" are not necessarily real jobs, as a typical taxpayer might presume.
"While the phrase "green jobs" evokes organic farmers and wind turbine repairmen, there is no clear, common definition of what a "green" job is. Without one, special-interest lobbying will transform even well-intentioned programmes. Consider corn-based ethanol, a technology with no redeeming features. Corn-based ethanol is bad for the environment, placing unsustainable demands on water supplies and increasing harmful farming practices. It is bad for people, raising corn prices for some of the world's poorest people. It provides little, if any, environmental benefit, with a net energy gain often close to or even below zero (the exact amount depends on the weather during the growing season, among other things). Yet corn-based ethanol has received billions in taxpayer support and continues to be favoured in so-called "green" energy legislation...."
Have a few minutes to learn more? Watch this video on politicians' favored "green energy," which supposedly produces "green jobs":
Read here and here. It is very obvious to objective observers that wind power is an expensive and non-robust solution to real-time energy needs. Other countries have discovered this, yet the Obama administration attempts to keep this type of information from the public.
"There is no evidence that industrial wind power is likely to have a significant impact on carbon emissions… Denmark, the world’s most wind-intensive nation, with more than 6,000 turbines generating 19% of its electricity, has yet to close a single fossil-fuel plant. It requires 50% more coal-generated electricity to cover wind power’s unpredictability, and pollution and carbon dioxide emissions have risen (by 36% in 2006 alone)."
"They also show it was coordinated with the lobbyists for “Big Wind” and the left-wing Center for American Progress (CAP)....But it is clear that senior staff in Ms. Zoi’s office, and another under her authority, were told by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) of its concern over the foreign economic analysis because of the media and policymaker attention it was receiving....The questions raised about green jobs also threatened the vast increase in Department of Energy spending to pursue green jobs. The Obama administration has poured cash into renewable-energy efficiency and renewable energy with abandon....What is clear is that the Department of Energy then worked with Center for American Progress and the industry lobby AWEA to produce an attack that would serve all their interests."
Read here. The U.S. and other countries passed legislation that provides incentives for the increased production of biofuels (e.g. ethanol, etc.). Per usual, the politicians went off half-cocked based on "consensus" science that when scrutinized, fails to pass the bogosity smell test. Based on imagined fears and "persuasive" lobbying, the political hacks chose the worst course for nature and the climate.
"Marshes, swamps and bogs emit about 1.3 billion tonnes of CO a year as a result of human activity that drains them. If those dried out former swamps catch fire that amount can double and large amounts of aerosols can be emitted as well. With governments offering subsidies for growing biofuel crops the question is, how do we stop people from draining the world's remaining wetlands?"
"...fires are deliberately started to free up land for agriculture. The sustained burning of biomass not only releases the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane but also large quantities of carbon monoxide and particulate matter....during major fire years the air quality in Indonesia is many times worse than that in the worlds' most polluted cities. Given the new found importance of aerosols on atmospheric warming the problem has become even more pressing."
"Now, a series of recent studies is underscoring another risk: A widespread shift toward biofuels could pinch water supplies and worsen water pollution. In short, an increased reliance on biofuel trades an oil problem for a water problem....Now it seems that other requirements of biofuel manufacture can place an even greater strain on limited water supplies. Agriculture already consumes 70% of all global freshwater withdrawn worldwide, depleting soil nutrients, draining underground aquifers and promoting desertification."
This is a classic example of politicians providing idiotic incentives for creating the worst kind of land-use anthropogenic climate impacts.
Read here. Much like the corn ethanol initiative, wind power is promoted and subsidized by the U.S. government. This turnabout from a 90's "has-been" is primarily due to the shenanigans of the former corporate powerhouse Enron, and now GE, which acquired the Enron wind business.
Despite a lot of powerful friends, wind power is becoming reviled within the green movement and local environmentalist community. It's easy to understand why since wind power farms are not exactly appealing to local residents and it's really not a very reliable source of energy. Add to the boiling pot a government(s) jamming wind farms into areas over the protests of community residents, it becomes a recipe that may cause 'Tea Party' supporters and green activists to work in concert - viva la revolution!
Per this article or this one, it doesn't sound as if the wind power proponents and government agencies quite understand the populace undercurrents. Clueless?
Read here, here and here. There are a multitude of good reasons why subsidizing ethanol production and mandating its use is plain craziness. The most important reason though, is the fact that a gallon of ethanol spews more CO2 than a gallon of gas (we should replace all ethanol with oil-based gas that comes from U.S. resources - "drill baby, drill" policies). If the politicians and the EPA really felt CO2 was a harmful pollutant, and would endanger not only humans but the climate also, they would be morally be obligated to immediately kill the subsidies and mandates. Obviously, it's all about money and control, not reducing CO2 emissions.
"Replacing the US gasoline consumption of 138 billion gallons annually with ethanol biofuel — just as the government energy policy wants to do — would add about 138 billion pounds of carbon dioxide annually from renewable ethanol biofuel. This is an additional 69 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air annually. The government energy policy would increase rather than decrease carbon dioxide into the air, just the opposite of what the government climate policy wants to do."
Read here. The idiotic claim by Democrats and Obama that the U.S. will enjoy a green job revolution has been pretty well proven to be....well....idiotic, based on othercountry's experiences. Also, the very flaky green job growth machine premise is additionally undercut by the Democrats' own love affair of using NIMBY or the EPA to stop any actual green job opportunities from becoming a reality. Finally, U.S. green job growth depends on having access to needed, scarce rare metals but China wants to keep the metals and green jobs for themselves.
It's time to be putting U.S. labor to work utilizing our own natural resources (oil and coal) and technology capabilities (nukes). Unfortunately, Obama and Democrats are only interested in increasing their socialist, green utopia - no real jobs, just more Washington D.C. welfare controlled by SEIU members.
Read here. Climate alarmists bemoan the fate of polar bears due to global warming (wrongly concluded and hyped), yet are curiously silent about the incredible slaughter of birds due to a favored renewable energy solution - wind turbines. The avian massacre is potentially 300,000 per year - the hypocrisy of major environmental groups and activists is astounding.
Read here. As previous experts have found, promoting increased production of biofuels has many negatives, including:
Produce little or no additional energy.
Can damage vehicle engines not designed to run on ethanol.
Result in greater CO2 emissions than fossil fuel.
Causes rising food prices either directly or by competing with food crops.
Encourage clearing of forest lands.
Increase use of fertilizer leading to greater runoff and NOx emissions.
Produce less energy than simply burning the biomass to produce electricity
Are only commercially viable with government subsidies and forced use mandates.
Now add 20,000 gallons of fresh water needed for a single gallon of biofuel as another large negative that scientists have documented. This incredibly stupid idea for biofuel energy has been legislated by Congress, renowned globally for its corruption by lobbyists, and, of course, its amazing scientific idiocy. Letting these same people make any decisions on CO2 emissions, global warming and/or climate change legislation and regulation is another disaster that can be avoided - starting in 2010, all politicians supporting 'cap & trade' policies need to be voted out of office.