November 22, 2010

Fill It Up Please!

Will that be wheat, corn, or sugarcane?

The ETC Group, an international organization supporting sustainability and conservation, has just published its newest report, an 84-page document that presents a lengthy criticism of "the new bioeconomy." In it, principal author Jim Thomas argues that using biofuels for energy and resources isn't green -- in fact, he says, it's even more harmful to the environment than coal.

Update: And now for the rest of the story ...

Posted by Cjunk at November 22, 2010 12:46 PM

Can't be true because Republicans have been saying this.

Do you work at the TSA?

Posted by: Chesterfield at November 22, 2010 12:55 PM

ATHENS, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.
"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

Thanks, Al, thanks a lot.

"First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.
"It's hard once such a programme is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going."
He explained his own support for the original programme on his presidential ambitions.

"One of the reasons I made that mistake is that I paid particular attention to the farmers in my home state of Tennessee, and I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president."
Gore said a range of factors had contributed to that food price crisis, including drought in Australia, but said there was no doubt biofuels have an effect.

"The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices.

"The competition with food prices is real."

Posted by: sylvanguy at November 22, 2010 12:56 PM

I take offense at characterization of coal as harmful for the environment.

Posted by: Aaron at November 22, 2010 1:03 PM

Here's the link for sylvanguy's post re Gore
(via HotAir)

Posted by: G at November 22, 2010 1:04 PM

Cut off all corporate welfare, including those to ethanol manufacturers, windmills, solar panels, etc.

Simply unaffordable right now and totally inefficient in the future.

Posted by: set you free at November 22, 2010 1:05 PM

Whether fossil fuels or bio-fuels are burned, they are all part of the carbon cycle. The carbon in CO2 is converted to a form that has potential energy by photosynthesis and then it is converted back to CO2 as the energy is used. It just keeps going round and round. Perfect recycling if I may say so.

Posted by: Howie at November 22, 2010 1:08 PM

I can't resist saying "No shit Einsteins!"
I am thankful for a few professors who taught the long lost skill of using critical thinking to evaluate what you read.
Those with a reasonable understanding of the physical and logical world knew this was true as soon as biofuels were proposed.

Posted by: Pedro at November 22, 2010 1:16 PM

Well DUH. Fossil fuels represent the conversion of millions of years worth of sunlight into a concentrated energy source. Biofuel is from a single season's solar concentration, then processed. If can only contain so much energy.

Posted by: grok at November 22, 2010 1:23 PM

Pedro, you say it well.

Did the inventor of the internet have this conversion on the way to Damascus or Athens?

So is Al Gore still peddling his AGW socialist scam?

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at November 22, 2010 1:26 PM

Feed the starving third world while we turn food in fuel.Really bright Gorebull

Posted by: Justthinkin at November 22, 2010 1:27 PM

I don't want to put too fine of a point on this, but where does the energy come from that converts CO2 into fuel? The Sun! Fossil fuel use is a fully natural form of solar energy.

Posted by: Howie at November 22, 2010 1:36 PM

let me fix that headline for you:

"We're Winning"

Posted by: PhilM at November 22, 2010 1:46 PM

So Al Gore must have taken his money out of biofuels. Perhaps he will recoup his losses on the Chicago Carbon Exchange (karma is such a b***h).

Posted by: absinthe enhanced at November 22, 2010 1:47 PM

Bullsh*t is a "renewable" and "sustainable" resource, but universities full of liberal/green acolytes can't produce enough of it to power civilization.

Posted by: FredR at November 22, 2010 1:52 PM

but universities full of liberal/green acolytes can't produce enough of it to power civilization.

Even though it has often been theorized, it has yet to be demonstrated that B.S. can power a Mickey Mouse gocart around the inside of a Cheerio.

Posted by: Oz at November 22, 2010 1:57 PM

Sugar cane is the best source of ethanol? Can't wait to see Cuba become an economic powerhouse!

I invite all the good communists in Canada to rush down there and give 'em a hand cutting the 'cane.

Posted by: dmorris at November 22, 2010 2:42 PM

Sugar Cane? But that'll cut into the worldwide production of Rum.

Can't they do something productive like use the waste from forestry mills to produce biomass?

Posted by: Andrew at November 22, 2010 3:01 PM

Note that this study really attacks biofuels from a greentard perspective, "they don't really reduce CO2, and may, in fact increase it," and "they threaten biodiversity".

The real reason biofuels suck, the massive inefficiency and waste of human and financial energy, is skirted around.

But if the greenies read this, and take it to heart because it pushes the right buttons with them, it's OK by me.

Posted by: gordinkneehill at November 22, 2010 3:19 PM

The only real, viable bio-fuel is from hemp...period.
Along with the thousands of other uses it has.

An interesting nostalgic read from Popular Mechanics 1938.

Posted by: William in Ajax at November 22, 2010 3:27 PM

Having just scanned the source document, I find it of mixed blessing. The money quote used was one of its few highlights. The tone is Luddite in its aversion to and paranoia of bioengineering and their recommendations essentially call for the UN to oversee the globe's: energy, bio-energy, environment and social justice issues (pages 55 and 56). While accurately assessing energy budget flaws in bio-energy, their goals appear to be a form of deep green (biodiversity obsessed) centrally planned de-industrialization.

Leaving it all to the market makes the most sense as you eliminate all the massive distortions of leviathan and especially uber-leviathan (UN). If there is a place for bio-energy, the free market will allow it. Increasing nuclear power will solve most of the worlds energy problems.

Posted by: John Chittick at November 22, 2010 3:27 PM

The only way that world governments are going to be able to get a handle on energy use is through heavy handed totalitarian control via a NEW WORLD ORDER.

That is the plan and all the rest of this bio bastardry is just window dressing along the way to global slavery and dramatic population reduction.

Posted by: Abe Froman at November 22, 2010 4:09 PM

No matter where we get our energy from, the left will always say it is not green enough.

Posted by: Friend of USA at November 22, 2010 4:54 PM

Kate, do you manage to grab a coffee with Nettie occasionally?

Posted by: otterdriver at November 22, 2010 10:23 PM

Hmm.. according to the second link, one of the ETC group is a Michael Hansen, a world-wide authority (apparently) on mad cow disease, who once wrote a book "Milk: Threat or Menace?".

Posted by: KevinB at November 23, 2010 12:25 AM