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 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.”"
Obama and Obama-white are the candidates of big government, big spending, big taxation and economic micro-management. Neither belongs in the Oval office.
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. 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."
Additional corn ethanol postings.
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.
h/t: Tom Nelson
- 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. 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 more harmful 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. Recently, we had a posting on renewable energy (ethanol) and one that mentioned the great promise of thorium-based energy. A new C3 reader saw those postings and informed us of his own writings on both subjects. We can't vouch for all the very interesting content on Christopher Calder's site but to our eyes it represents a great primer for laying out the problems with renewables and the hope for newer clean, reliable and abundant energy solutions.
From the Obama's and left-liberal's energy strategy, the "Let them eat cake" strategy:
- "According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, global food prices rose an incredible 40% in 2007. The World Bank states that the cost of staple foods rose by 83% during the 3 year period from 2005 to 2008. The International Food Policy Research Institute states that biofuels are responsible for rapid grain price inflation, and a detailed analysis by Don Mitchell, an internationally respected economist at the World Bank, stated that biofuels have forced global staple food prices up by 75%.....The United Nations states that its charity programs can no longer afford to feed the starving peoples of the world because of the high cost of staple foods. Mr. Jean Ziegler, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, repeatedly denounced biofuels as "a crime against humanity." The new UN food envoy, Mr. Olivier De Schuster, has called for United States and European Union biofuel targets to be abandoned, and said the world food crisis is "a silent tsunami affecting 100 million people." Oil price increases have not shrunk the human food supply, but biofuel production has. The more biofuels we produce, the less food we have to eat, because we grow biofuel crops using the same land, water, fertilizer, farm equipment, and labor we use to grow food."
On the promising energy solution that Obama, Al Gore, George Soros, Goldman Sachs and most leftist/liberals/progressives hate:
- "The Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) solves all of the major problems associated with nuclear power.....LFTRs only requires input of uranium or plutonium to kick-start the initial nuclear reaction, and as the fissionable material can come from either spent fuel rods or old nuclear warheads, LFTRs will inevitably be used as janitors to clean up old nuclear waste.....The cost savings of using a liquid fuel is like the difference between making soup vs. baking a wedding cake. Soup is cheap, and you can change ingredients very easily. The reactor works like a Crock-Pot; you keep the fuel cooking in the pot until it is over 99% burned, so LFTRs produce less than 1% of the long-lived radioactive waste of light water reactors, making Yucca Mountain waste storage unnecessary....."Liquid fluoride thorium reactors operate at high temperature for 50% thermal/electrical conversion efficiency, thus they need only half of the cooling required by today's coal or nuclear plant cooling towers." LFTRs will be manufactured on an assembly line, dramatically lowering costs and enabling electricity generation at a projected rate of about 3 cents per kilowatt hour, which is cheaper than burning coal for power."
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.
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. 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 written about this subject before as it is causing all sorts of serious problems that would be best solved by ceasing all subsidization of biofuel production, immediately.
Recently, the socialist UK newspaper,.....
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, 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. As previous experts have found, promoting increased production of biofuels has many negatives, including:
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.
Read here, here, here and here. Congress was told by anti-fossil fuel scientists and corporate lobbyists that ethanol would reduce CO2 emissions. Sooo, they voted for more ethanol subsidies and increased production of ethanol. They were wrong (like usual). Time to ban Congress from making any other idiotic CO2 decisions?
Synopsis: The incredibly stupid decision by politicians and bureaucrats to promote ethanol production, based on climate 'alarmist' scientists' recommendations, has had harmful effects on the economy and environment.
Synopsis: Using biofuels to replace fossil fuels actually increases CO2 emissions, just opposite of what politicians were told and believed.
Source here. "Biofuels for transportation (chiefly ethanol, biodiesel, and methanol) are being used in growing quantities in the belief that they provide environmental benefits. In fact, those benefits are very dubious. By some measures, “the net effect of biofuels production ... is to increase CO2 emissions for decades or centuries relative to the emissions caused by fossil fuel use.”"