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Monday, July 7, 2008


We screwed up! Let's have a party!

Comments (15)

thanks for this one, Jack.

I and hundreds of others (including Jack) have been trying to explain what Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute calls "one of the great tragedies in history."

the multi-billion dollar push behind biofuels isn't coming from misinformed citizens--it's coming from corporations and governments. those small-scale "startups" in Oregon won't even power all of the state's lawnmowers, much less a meaningful fraction of autos. and even if it did, the impacts are disastrous.

I'm going--just to see the first "biodiesel plump."

Wasn't that Chris Smith?

Bring back Hemp...makes a fine hanging rope.

Two things:

1. In my car, B-10 increases my fuel consumption by ten percent. That's interesting math.

2. What are the odds we humans will do anything about climate change that doesn't actually make things worse?

In my car, B-10 increases my fuel consumption by ten percent. That's interesting math.

B-10... that's not math, that's Bingo!

...part, the second...

You drive a CAR????

Randy Leonard,
Any comments, or as usual, will you move onto the next great idea to save the world. How about building a chimney in front of City Hall, run a duct from the Council Chambers to it, and use the rising hot air to turn a wind turbine inside the chimney?

Let's count up the past months "Success Stories" from Portland City Hall.
A. MetroFi's installation of public wireless internet comes to a grinding halt. How much money spent here, Randy?
B. Moving of the Old Sauvie Island Bridge to downtown Portland eventually halted due to LOUD public pressure. What was that you said, Sam?
C. Conversion of town houses in South Macadam into apartments due to lack of buyers. Unfunded infrastructure estimated in hundreds of millions. Where is the money coming from, now Randy and Sam Adams?
D. Promote the building of a six lane bridge to replace a six lane bridge over the Columbia River. Costs are only in the Billions... no problem for Portland leadership. Why build the bridge bigger when all you need to do is stay home.

Let's just stop there for now...

Ethanol, for instance isn't even really all that effective of a fuel. It's still hydrocarbon-based, and because it's oxygenated (oxygen atoms in the molecules), it's less efficient than petroleum. Biodiesel is Ester-based, and thus, is also oxygenated, unlike regular petrodiesel, thus, making it less efficient as well.

Which means that whoever is selling biofuels will be making a ton of money. Since it's less efficient, they can sell more of it, charge similar if not higher prices ("sustainability" sells). All this while driving corn prices up to boot. Economically, it's just not feasible. The only upside is that this stuff can be produced domestically, but that's at a serious cost (ethanol especially).

Biofuel plump is right. Plump wallets. They're making beaucoup bucks and can "justify" it with "green" marketing buzzwords.

But wait! Randy and Erik read this book...

Government needs to be reined in at all levels because government solutions like this one have real dire consequences. I can't see supporting Obama when he talks of more government solutions. NOBAMA. Gridlock instead.

Don't forget the new ethanol plant being proposed for Nyssa -- plans to burn coal so it can convert sugar beets or corn into ethanol, while reaping generous Business Energy Tax Credits PLUS the Oregon biofuels credits PLUS the federal subsidies PLUS the essentially infinite subsidy of a mandated minimum blend (making price irrelevant).

While using diesel oil to power trains to haul the coal here to release the CO2. To produce a fuel that no one will buy without a gun to their head.

Good job Oregon environmentalists!

Leonard will never back down on this. He will never admit a mistake - however stupid it turns out to be. Enjoy the ride, Oregon - isn't sustainability wonderful?

"Leonard will never back down on this"

Of course not. He's already moved on to his next knee jerk, immediate expert ideas without any concern for his past ones being, ,,,,well,,,,, stupid and wrong.

And he's got his funny schtick to keep up.

All in all he's never grasped what an elected official's responsibilities actually are. And since it doesn't matter to his multiple paychecks what he actually does, Randy's fine with his little hobby as a commissioner.

Step 1: Put tariffs on edible sugar imports
Step 2: Convince everyone to use high-fructose corn syrup as a sweetener
Step 3: Subsidize making a less-energetic-per-volume fuel out of corn
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Profit!

This seems to be the US Government's current strategy. Never mind that the sugar that could be imported is far better for making methanol. Never mind that ethanol corrodes engines that are not designed to run on ethanol. Never mind that there are sugar cane farmers in Central and South America that are actually poisoning their edible sugar crops to get around these tariffs, for methanol production in the US, because they make more money off methanol then selling it as sugar. Never mind that per-acre, sorghum will make six times the ethanol that corn will, and requires much less cultivation than corn because it's basically a weed...

Ethanol (and methanol), as they currently stand, fail. FAIL. There needs to be more work done to make it feasible, like what this guy is doing.

Never mind that per-acre, sorghum will make six times the ethanol that corn will, and requires much less cultivation than corn because it's basically a weed...

oh, man. the answer is not "if only we find just the right plant to grow and make fuel out of it."

the problem is complex. one simple part? topsoil depletion. our topsoil's going away at breakneck speed and not coming back in the near future. it doesn't matter what plant you choose to grow.

in order to grow billions of tons, transnational corporations will control it (they already control ethanol and biodiesel.) there isn't enough land to do it, no matter which crop. topsoil's disappearing. you can't do it with algae. and so on, and so on.

in other words-- it's not going to be "better living through slightly different purchasing decisions." it's going to be more like "better living through consuming a small fraction of what we do today, forever."

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