Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Focus on biofuels is foolish

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Environment/Energy Donate to DU
 
4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:37 AM
Original message
Focus on biofuels is foolish
Edited on Sat Jul-15-06 11:38 AM by 4dsc
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/277179_fuels12.ht...

The corn and soybeans that make ethanol and biodiesel require huge quantities of fossil fuel in the necessary farm machinery, pesticides and fertilizer. Much of the fossil fuel comes from foreign sources, including some that may not be dependable, such as Russia and the Mideast.

Corn and soybean production as practiced in the Midwest is ecologically unsustainable. Its effects include massive topsoil erosion; pollution of surface and ground water with pesticides; and fertilizer runoff that travels down the Mississippi to deplete oxygen from a New Jersey-sized portion of the Gulf of Mexico.

Improving fuel efficiency in cars by just 1 mile per gallon -- possible with proper tire inflation -- would cut fuel consumption equal to the total amount of ethanol federally mandated for production in 2012.

The focus on biofuels as a silver bullet to solve our energy and climate-change crises is at best misguided. At worst, it is a scheme that could have disastrous environmental consequences. And it will have little effect on our fossil-fuel dependence.

We must reduce energy use now if we hope to kick our oil addiction and slow climate change. Pushing biofuels at the expense of energy conservation today will only make our problems more severe, and their solutions more painful, tomorrow.

Julia Olmstead, an Iowa State University graduate student in plant breeding and sustainable agriculture and a graduate fellow at the Land Institute, in Salina, Kan., wrote this for the institute's Prairie Writers Circle. It was published by The Providence Journal.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
pooja Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
1. If they are going to use bio-fuels... they need to convert algae.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
HysteryDiagnosis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Farm the ocean.... no plows, no tractors, no pig crap. n/t
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
blueinchicago Donating Member (45 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. The article talks about proper tire inflation
and how it can replace the current call for ethanol.

And we could do a lot by eating way lower on the food chain. UofChicago study strongly suggests that vegan/vegetarian and poultry based diets would use less fossil fuels.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/0604140127...

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
iamjoy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:46 AM
Response to Original message
3. How Naive
if the politicians talk about ethanol, they win votes in Iowa. If they talk about increasing fuel efficiency standards, they lose votes in Michigan.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
4. i reject the premise here
i don't think anyone is seriously looking for a silver bullet in the first place. most people in their right minds know that the energy situation is complex, with room to improve everything from light bulbs to airplanes.
secondly, most serious proponents of biofuels DO NOT propose using using corn and soybeans. algae is being heavily promoted, and would be a great alternative of a lot of reasons.
this sounds like the usual biostitute bullshit.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
5. BS alert...False choice. Biofuels AND lower CAFE stds AND public transport
This is not, as this authors imply, an 'either-or' proposition: biofuels or lower mileage standards. They start out with this strawman argument then go down hill from there.

Plus, increasingly, farmers are using no-till and integrated pest management...developments which have apparently escaped the narrow perceptions of the authors.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
4dsc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 12:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. So tell us where??
You claimed "Increasingly, farmers are using no-till and integrated pest management...developments which have apparently escaped the narrow perceptions of the authors.

Can you offer us some kind of proof to back up this statement?? Just exactly where have farmers increaded their practice of no-till?? In Iowa??

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Western Ohio, Indiana & Illinois that I know of...
My family farms corn wheat and soybeans and I advise farmers throughout the Eastern corn belt.
There's been a huge change here in the last 15 years.

I tried Googling for percentages but couldn't find a site.

I would expect the changeover to be occurring in Iowa as well.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jpak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-16-06 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Currently, 36% of US cropland is under conservation tillage (2000)
109 million acres - up from 26% in 1990.

Of that, 52 million acres were no-till (~18% of total - a 3-fold increase from 1990).

www.ers.usda.gov/publications/ AgOutlook/Mar2001/AO279c.pdf

http://216.239.51.104/search?q=cache:UZ34-yh4n-gJ:www.e...

Does that answer your question????

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
mirounga Donating Member (31 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 12:05 PM
Response to Original message
6. 50 MPH
You know, while we're on the subject, why have I not heard one word from anyone about going back to the old 50 MPH regulation? I always thought it was a very bad idea when we changed it. It was a good idea in Carter's time and should be adopted asap by our congress. It alone would save a lot of gas, though I don't have the statistics off hand. Does anyone know why the democratic party or anyone for that matter are not even considering this? Come on guys, time for a little sacrifice for our country. I know the oil companies and repugs would have a fit, but aren't we addicted to oil after all???
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Ready4Change Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-15-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Because I like to drive fast?
I know. I'm a bad, bad man.

I've done some informal tests and proved to myself that my milage improves dramatically if I drive at the speed limit, rather than, er, where I usually drive.

:blush:
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
dcfirefighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-16-06 01:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
11. Why not 25 mph?
Or 15?

Or perhaps, we could set it at 30 mpg - I can do 70 on a motorcycle or 20 in a full-size SUV?

I think the best bet is to charge polluters for using our atmosphere as a place to dump their carbon-waste.

So 20 people on a bus might only spend a little more, while someone who drives a hummer 20,000 miles a year would pay a lot more (and hopefully change their behavior).

Such a scheme retains the flexibility to deal with the modern world.

I beleive that a 50 mph speed limit would ENCOURAGE people to buy and drive big SUV road-yachts. No point in getting a sedan if you're only going 50. No point in getting a light, agile, and EFFICIENT coupe if th speed limit is 50 mph.

I also think that roads should be funded out of real estate taxes (because roads benefit real estate prices), tolls, and annual milage x vehicle weight charges.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Mon Dec 22nd 2014, 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Topic Forums » Environment/Energy Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC