Patterico's Pontifications

4/2/2008

Environmentalist Wackos Responsible For Much Of The Environmental Armegeddon Being Waged Upon The Earth

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:44 pm



Posted by WLS:

Patterico has me hard at work on another matter, but I stumbled across this wonderful little contrarian polemic.  Who knew that environmentalists were responsible for:

Increasing food prices, tortilla shortages in Mexico, flour shortages in Pakistan, declining feedstock populations, rising unemployment in the poultry industry, milk shortages, pressure on water supplies worldwide, South Amercian deforestation, destruction of wetlands and grasslands, species extinction, ocean pollution, razing of reforests, etc.

I wonder if Al Gore will cover any of this in his $300 million ad campaign?

43 Responses to “Environmentalist Wackos Responsible For Much Of The Environmental Armegeddon Being Waged Upon The Earth”

  1. Those unintended consequences are a bitch huh?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  2. “(An unholy alliance of environmentalists)”,

    You forgot to add the last 3 actors in this little play WLS.

    These guys are playing too.
    “agribusiness, biofuel corporations and politicians”

    A lot of enviros think biofuels are a really bad idea… but it keeps the corn and sugarcane lobby happy… and having met a few Louisiana sugarcane growers who are good, hardworking farmers with millions tied up in specialized cane-centric equipment, I can see how they also would welcome a way not to have to do some radical reshuffling of their lives.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  3. There is no more precious resource than topsoil. And it is “renewable” only in terms of thousands of years. Al Gore is a fat, flatulent, phony f***head.

    nk (34c5da)

  4. I don’t think most “Enviros/Sierra Clubbers” would no top-soil from night-soil. Their total knowledge of how to grow food for profit could fill a thimble with room left over.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  5. It’s been a long day…
    not “no” but “know”!

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  6. Obama promised today that Al Gore will be part of an Obama Administration as a consultant on climate change, and also said that he is already talking to Gore “on a regular basis.”

    DRJ (a431ca)

  7. DRJ #6 – How else are they supposed to earn their money?

    Apogee (366e8b)

  8. Not to mention the Millions of Africans dead because of the banning of DDT based on research now proven faulty if not fraudulent.

    MaaddMaaxx (5d8bb9)

  9. Russell was even bragging about Brazil’s destructive sugarcane ethanol industry in another thread.

    Clueless.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  10. nk #3,
    Yes indeed, but are you saying that biofuels will cause MORE land to be put under cultivation? Or will it just be a way for corn farmers to sell their excess crop? Either way it’s not as if there will be LESS land under cultivation and less topsoil lost under either scenario.

    You are still right though.

    EdWood (417421)

  11. EdWood — would those other 3 players have ever gotten involved if not for the environmentalists and the demand for biofuels?

    WLS (68fd1f)

  12. There has not been an issue in the last 40 years that comes to mind, that a group of alarmist leftists hasn’t made significantly worse by their officious intermeddling, sanctimonious bloviating, guerilla tactics in supporting and propaganda peddling in informing.

    Their knee jerk rush to cast yet another mark of Cain upon their blame trilogy (corporate America, upper middle class Americans, Republicans)they incessantly get it wrong, then devise a cure which is inevitably much worse than the problem.

    Of course, the “problem” is often one of invention or distortion…or a combination thereof. Since it serves first as a class warfare missile, the need for a “them vs. us” is the whole point. This way, they are permanently on the “correct” side of all these issues.

    If I struggled mightily…I might come up with an issue or two that began as an alarmist, leftist polemic and was fixed for the better. But, I suspect that they weren’t aimed at the blame trilogy or were already universally accepted and not really brought forward by the socialist as a class warfare issue.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  13. This particular legal mandate is a classic example of “rent seeking”. It wasn’t put into law because of environmentalists; it was put into law because Archer Daniels Midland wanted to increase the market for their corn products.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  14. I don’t know WLS. Maybe biofuels is supposed to be a bridge technology to keep us running until we can make the transition to hydrogen (if that happens) and has nothing really at all to do with enviros. Or maybe its just a new market that someone thought up that enviros thought was a good idea and then people with real money came and did the R&D coz they thought they could make a pile of money. Who underwrites biofuels research?

    EdWood (417421)

  15. Lets not forget the increased energy use to cool homes/cars or to store anything in a freezer/fridge…

    The replacement coolant they made us switch to is WAS less efficient…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  16. Maybe biofuels is supposed to be a bridge technology to keep us running until we can make the transition to hydrogen (if that happens) and has nothing really at all to do with enviros.

    Except biofuels (ethonal specificly) is about 23-26 percent less efficient. To put it another way, a 1.00 gallon of regular unleaded would have to cost $.74-$.77 to be EQUAL in terms of cost to go the same distance.

    If it’s a bridge, it’s a really crappy one that is likely to colapse out from under us…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  17. Man I read that article again and even tho I kind of agree with it, it seemed just a bit hysterical. Especially coz it makes it sound like so many people are speculating that there will be a huge market for biofuels that they are cutting down every forest in the world….as if they aren’t doing that ALREADY.

    So let’s play devils advocate. This sounds like a new and promising MARKET. All those cut down forests in third world countries translate into jobs right? AND increased GDP for all those countries and potentially ours as we plow up every inch of land and cut every forest to provide biofuels for cars for China’s new middle class or whatever. So are you really saying that we as a nation should quash a legitimate market? Say with.. regulation????? Just to save a bunch of prarie dogs and bunnies???

    EdWood (417421)

  18. Scott Jacobs. I really meant it as an additive to gas to stretch the gasoline supplies (well, to keep it cheaper) for the, what, 50 or 100 years it’s supposed to take to develop and switch over to hydrogen. I guess you have to believe in peak oil and that gas will get really expensibe etc. for that scenario to even be feasible.

    EdWood (417421)

  19. Don’t foget to add to the Progressive Zealots’ prestigious good-works ledger Catastrophic Forest Fires, such as last year’s S. Lake Tahoe fire, as well as the many such future conflagrations lying and building in wait for want of a mere match or lightening strike.

    J. Peden (6e3fef)

  20. Man there is a lot of money behind the whole biofuels idea. Here is a site from a quick google search….
    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2006/3328biofuel_lose.html
    that agrees with WLS sort of. Although I don’t know if Goldman Sachs, Archer Daniels Midland, and all the other investors count as “environmental wackos” Sounds like Steven Den Beste #13 knows what the deal is.

    EdWood (070874)

  21. I really meant it as an additive to gas to stretch the gasoline supplies (well, to keep it cheaper) for the, what, 50 or 100 years it’s supposed to take to develop and switch over to hydrogen.

    But that it doesn’t make it cheaper…

    Pablo (99243e)

  22. Pablo,
    Yes indeed. Also, apparently, from the article I read above, the numbers just don’t add up for biofuels to even feasibly stretch our fuel supply (they are leaving out algal fuel and development of new and efficient technologies though…I think). Of course in the article I linked the numbers applied to farmland in the US. Obviously the speculation in the developing world is to grow biofuels to sell to the good ol US of A (and China I bet) so WE wouldn’t necessarily lose food or fuel, we would buy it from other places. Places with fewer or no regulations on what can get cut, what happens to the waste etc. ie. the article WLS linked is probably right, albeit a little hystrionic.

    EdWood (3cc807)

  23. I really meant it as an additive to gas to stretch the gasoline supplies (well, to keep it cheaper) for the, what, 50 or 100 years it’s supposed to take to develop and switch over to hydrogen.

    But that it doesn’t make it cheaper…

    Exactly. Adding something less efficient doesn’t actually improve stuff. We could add water, if you liked… Don’t think it would do us much good…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  24. Alcohol has approximately 2/3 the BTU of gasoline, pound for pound. To make the same power in an internal-combustion engine (all other things being equal) requires the use of 50% MORE alcohol than gasoline for an equal volumn of air.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  25. Ok but if you are cutting your gasoline with ethanol, which is less efficient coz it burns not at well (we will assume that we are dealing with old technology, not a re-engineered engine)then how far would be price of pure gasoline have to go up, before the price of gasoline cut with ethanol become cheaper? That is what I was getting at before, which is why I said you have to believe in peak oil. It’s not that the gas would be BETTER, its that it theoretically could be cheaper at some point, although it apparently could never even come close to oil for supplying planetary energy needs.

    EdWood (a752e9)

  26. There are several analyses that suggest that the production of alcohol from the feedstocks available in the US actually require more fuel as inputs than is produced.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  27. Ok but if you are cutting your gasoline with ethanol, which is less efficient coz it burns not at well (we will assume that we are dealing with old technology, not a re-engineered engine)then how far would be price of pure gasoline have to go up, before the price of gasoline cut with ethanol become cheaper?

    “pure” gas (and that barely exists anymore anyways) would need to be some part of 23% more expensive for the ethonal-cut gas to be a better buy.

    It also burns worse in the engine, fouling it, causeing more engine wear.

    I’ll take a nice, clean burning desiel car, thanks…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  28. Russell was even bragging about Brazil’s destructive sugarcane ethanol industry in another thread.

    Clueless.

    Y’all are so nice 😉 Well, this article admits that the problem with sugarcane ethanol is deforestation, not ethanol intrinsically. I said that sugarcane is by far a better way to do it from a chemical standpoint, but if it turns out to cause deforestation that’s another problem. The real problem with ethanol in general is that the US insists on using corn, which is an incredibly dumb way to do it.

    However, the President of Brazil said the other day “The Portuguese discovered a long time ago that the Amazon isn’t a place to plant cane,” and claims that new sugarcane is not planted being planted in newly cut rainforest. Now, I don’t know much about growing sugarcane, so he might be wrong about that, and if he is I admit I was wrong about the ethanol.

    A little searching on Web of Science and I found this study from IEA Bioenergy, carried out by Universiteit Utrecht (in the Netherlands, I think). I haven’t finished reading it, but it seems like while there are some problems, it should be possible to create a sustainable ethanol industry in Brazil (not in the United States, though):

    While the current study contains many different types of uncertainties, no prohibitive reasons where identified why ethanol from São Paulo principally could not meet the Dutch sustainability standards set for 2007. In many impact categories, Brazilian ethanol from sugar cane scores average to (very) positive, see also Table I for a summary. For a number of other criteria, problems are identified, but it also appears that these may differ strongly between the individual plants. Furthermore, for most of these issues, measures can be identified to improve performance (when needed).

    Seems to me the real problem is the US tariff against Brazilian ethanol, since we can’t really grow it here worth a damn.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  29. Seems to me the real problem is the US tariff against Brazilian ethanol, since we can’t really grow it here worth a damn.

    You’re aware the the best source is a from a type of grass, that grows anywhere, right?

    Do you even check on these things, or are you just reading from a script?

    Besides… Ethanol takes MORE energy per unit to produce than gas, and it takes MORE ethonal to produce the same unit of energy as one gallon of gas.

    More energy to make, PLUS less energy output… Do you even START to see the problem?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  30. More energy to make, PLUS less energy output… Do you even START to see the problem?

    It is true that ethanol has 34% less energy per until volume than traditional gasoline. However, this is partially offset in terms of mileage by higher compression in internal combustion engines. I’m not sure what you’re talking about with “more energy to make.” Of course the energy balance (meaning the ratio of amount of energy you get out over the amount of energy you put in to make the fuel) is much better with gasoline, but gasoline is not renewable. That’s the whole point of ethanol–well, that and weaning yourself off of middle eastern oil supplies (Brazil is entirely energy self-sufficient).

    For future reference, the energy balance of corn ethanol is about 1.3, cellulosic ethanol 2.5, and sugarcane ethanol 8.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  31. Correction:

    *per UNIT volume*

    garrgh.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  32. You’re aware the the best source is a from a type of grass, that grows anywhere, right?

    You’re right the cellulosic ethanol shows much more promise, a possible energy balance of 36. However, the technology is unproven, while the Brazilians have an up an running system already.

    I can see maintaining the tariff to protect a switchgrass-based ethanol industry, but not to protect the corn-based system. That’s ludicrous.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  33. Oh, and before I go set up a reaction, I wanted to mention something else. In that other thread, the one where I raped the rainforest, we were talking about solar panels.

    I’ve been reading about solar-thermal power generation plants, which solve many of the problems associated with solar panels right out of the gate. The idea is that it’s much easier to store heat rather than electricity. A new start-up based in Palo Alto is selling the idea:

    “Fossil-fuel proponents often say that solar can’t do the job, that solar can’t run at night, solar can’t run the economy,” says David Mills, Ausra’s founder and chairman. “That’s true if you don’t have storage.” He says that solar-thermal plants are the solution because storing heat is much easier than storing electricity. Mills estimates that, thanks to that advantage, solar-thermal plants capable of storing 16 hours’ worth of heat could provide more than 90 percent of current U.S. power demand at prices competitive with coal and natural gas. “There’s almost no limit to how much you can put into the grid,” he says.

    […]

    What distinguishes Ausra’s design is its relative simplicity. In conventional solar-thermal plants such as Solel’s, a long trough of parabolic mirrors focuses sunlight on a tube filled with a heat-transfer fluid, often some sort of oil or brine. The fluid, in turn, produces steam to drive a turbine and produce electricity. Ausra’s solar collectors employ mass-produced and thus cheaper flat mirrors, and they focus light onto tubes filled with water, thus directly producing steam. Ausra’s collectors produce less power, but that power costs less to produce

    Anyway, something to tear apart while I’m weighing out my N-chlorosuccinimide :)

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  34. And how big are these panels?

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  35. And how big are these panels?

    Not that big, but there are a lot of them, and they take up a lot of space. The proposed 175 MW plant takes up about a square mile.

    Russell (5ecf4a)

  36. Seems to me the real problem is the US tariff against Brazilian ethanol, since we can’t really grow it here worth a damn.

    I’m not so sure about that. Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii and Puerto Rico could all grow sugarcane at levels sufficient to make a significant dent in the biofuel consumption market.

    The mixed prairie grass study has not found the conversion mechanism yet, but I have always been in favor of a multi-layered approach anyway.

    I think the use of corn and soybean crops is in need of reversal, but alternative fuel consumption from biowaste, old cooking oil, newspaper (it highest and best use these days)…along with sugarcane, sorghum and eventually mixed prairie grasses…could cut foreign oil dependency drastically AND sastisfy emission standards, perhaps even appease global warming buffs.

    The use of hemp as a biofuel deserves significantly more study as well. The geopolitical ramifications of becoming more self-sustaining in our fuel consumption, would be enormous. Job creation at home and the balance of trade impact are also potential plusses.

    Single source or dominant source favoritism isn’t doing us any favors. We can grow sugarcane or sorghum or hemp or eventually mixed prairie grasses…in different parts of the republic. I really don’t see a downside to the domestic, multi-layered approach.

    cfbleachers (4040c7)

  37. Unforeseen consequences: (emphases mine)

    In Brazil, for instance, only a tiny portion of the Amazon is being torn down to grow the sugarcane that fuels most Brazilian cars. More deforestation results from a chain reaction so vast it’s subtle: U.S. farmers are selling one-fifth of their corn to ethanol production, so U.S. soybean farmers are switching to corn, so Brazilian soybean farmers are expanding into cattle pastures, so Brazilian cattlemen are displaced to the Amazon. It’s the remorseless economics of commodities markets.

    These kind of ripple effects are driving up food prices for more than just corn.

    Check the article in Time, and then check out this blog commentary.

    LarryD (feb78b)

  38. OK, but again, being devils advocate, are you suggesting that the Government or anyone interfere in this new market?

    EdWood (c2268a)

  39. Regarding #8’s comment about the DDT ban and millions of African’s dying from malaria, note that the faulty science is known throughout the world but DDT is still banned. Just what does it take? Doesn’t bode well for what it will take to get off this stupid biofuel bandwagon.

    jwarner (0c2175)

  40. Comment by EdWood — 4/2/2008 @ 5:54 pm

    Ed; you seem like a nice enough fellow, and I love your films, but you obviously do not live in the Old Dominion or you would know better than to pay any attention to Lyndon LaRouche.

    The man is dangerously insane, and I would recommend checking your box for viruses if you’ve gone to his site. I’m pretty nutty, and I love nutty people, but this guy is an actual hazard.

    Uncle Pinky (5ba4c8)

  41. Uncle Pinky- haw haw haw! I KNEW I’d heard that name somewhere before. I tried to put up a caveat about the site… I had a sort of spider sense feeling about it. I guess that makes the piece a little suspect altho Larouche didn’t write it. What is really interesting about biofuels is how so many people from all over the political spectrum all agree that they HATE the idea.

    EdWood (c2268a)

  42. Paul Krugman points out the consequences of biofuels on food prices echoing some comments I’ve made.

    Which of course concerns me, as I’m usually more confident in my positions when Krugman is on the other side.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  43. It’s probably the stopped clock phenomenon, SPQR.

    DRJ (a431ca)


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