"Severe drought creates problems for ethanol mandate", and other env. topics from Friends of the Earth monthly newsletter

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I recently received the following email from Friends of the Earth, containing the monthly newsletter, eco-beat . The headline story caught my eye, since the ethanol mandate has been talked about a lot recently because of the current drought affecting the US corn crop. During this time of drought when the corn harvest will be lower than most recent years, the requirement to use corn for ethanol production causes upward pressure not only on the price of animal feed, but also on many food products for human consumption, and on other industrial products derived from corn in addition to gasoline that contains ethanol.

There have been many suggestions on this message board and in the media about substitutes that can be economically used to produce the mandated ethanol content of gasoline; now is as good a time as any to consider those again. The best products to use are those that would not also be required for feeding animals or humans, and also would not take away supply of products that already are used for some other industrial purpose. Switchgrass has been mentioned as a substitute for corn in ethanol production, as well as hemp.

here is a link for the online version of the email :
http://action.foe.org/t/7221/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1252963

home page for Friends of the Earth :
http://www.foe.org/

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Welcome to Friends of the Earth's monthly newsletter, eco-beat, where you get news and updates on our campaigns and ways to take action for a healthy and just world.

Severe drought creates problems for ethanol mandate

As the drought wreaks havoc on corn crops and projected corn yields

, federal policies that force large amounts of corn out of the food supply and into ethanol production are coming under increasing scrutiny -- and for good reason. The Renewable Fuel Standard exacerbates food insecurity and hunger in times of severe drought and other extremes that deplete corn supplies. Meanwhile, corn ethanol production degrades the environment and fails to provide a stable or sustainable alternative to oil. At a time when more than half of the counties in the country have been labeled "disaster areas " by the Department of Agriculture due to unpredictable weather and heat waves, it’s neither sensible nor safe to build an energy sector based on water- and weather-dependent crops. Unfortunately, that's just what President Obama's administration and the ethanol lobby are doing by supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard .

Read Biofuels Policy Campaigner Michal Rosenoer’s blog post

.

Victory to reduce air pollution from ships

On August 1, landmark regulations to reduce air pollution from ships

traveling in the waters around North America went into effect. The North American Emission Control Area creates a lower pollution zone in which ocean-going ships will have to use cleaner fuels or employ other technologies to reduce toxic air emissions. According to EPA estimates , the rules will prevent up to 31,000 premature deaths annually by 2030.

Read Oceans and Vessels Project Director Marcie Keever’s blog post

. Pledge your support for the ECA .

BP's Olympic-sized carbon offsets ruse

Every four years around this time, TV commercials are full of attempts to bathe corporate logos in the warm flame of Olympic glory. The irony of some corporate sponsorships -- like BP's "Target Neutral" initiative to provide carbon offsets to Olympic athletes and spectators

-- isn’t lost on most people. Friends of the Earth believes that carbon offsets as a way of reducing greenhouse gas pollution in the atmosphere are a dangerous distraction .

Read Economic Policy Director Michelle Chan’s blog post

.

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Anniversary of Kalamazoo pipeline spill

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World Bank, coal, India and Einstein

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miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

Comments

Why add anything to gasoline? It dramatically reduces mileage, destroys engines, and consumes millions of gallons of water.

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

Saltwater burns at a fairly high temperature, with very little pollution. Perhaps we could use ocean water for electricity production instead of coal and natural gas. Since the polar ice caps are melting, creating more seawater, it might be a good idea to look into the change. We just have to make sure that the patent for this technology doesn't get bought up by BP or Shell and stuck away in a vault somewhere.

Also, switching from high-fructose corn syrup to hempseed oil will make virtually all of the food in our supermarkets less expensive and more nutritious.

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
Joined:
Mar. 19, 2012 2:04 pm

Maybe you should read this.....

July 20—As the Navy ran exercises with biofuel-powered planes and vessels near Hawaii on Wednesday and Thursday, top Obama administration officials hit back against earlier criticism that the endeavor was a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said the "Great Green Fleet" test exercises for the first time proved that aircraft carriers, FA-18 jets and other equipment can run on advanced biofuels without any modifications — a major milestone in his quest to find an alternative to fuels derived from foreign oil.

"It was worthwhile to show that biofuels can compete and can be used in every single thing that we do in the Navy," Mabus said in a conference call with reporters Thursday.

You can read the entire article at the link below.

http://www.rr.com/news/green/article/rr/42603754/72140924/Navy_draws_fire_as_it_touts_Green_Fleet

MrsBJLee's picture
MrsBJLee
Joined:
Feb. 17, 2012 9:45 am

Ethanol is added to gasoline to reduce emissions, and to lower the mount of oil that goes into the production of gasoline. That's nothing new.

What is needed is a change in how ethanol is made ... getting away from corn as the source. Also, more emphasis should be placed on using renewable fuels such as wind or solar or geothermal power or tidal power to provide the energy required to produce the ethanol. Powering an ethanol plant with energy from fossil fuels looses a few points on the green operations scale.

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

Iowa gov Bransted

when asked about the drought and it's effect on his farmers, and ethanol responded, " Obama is trying to cut the work requirement for welfare"

Todd: " That's not true, it is still there"

gov:" Well he signed it and Tommy Thompson and I don't want it repealed .

Todd: " The gov is the one that signs the waiver, not the president"

gov, " We don't think the welfare to work requirement should have ended it has been the most successful that me and tommy thompson ..

Todd: "I'll leave it there, I wanted to talk about the drought and the farm bill but thank you"

GHW Bush used to name drop Jim Baker all the time, but only when it was on the topic, and the subject in question. Food Stamps got put in the Ag budget, why? Maybe because the snap was cut in half, and they knew no one will deny Conagra, and Monsanto a bill even if it means killing poor children.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Proven that it takes more energy to manufacture than the positive gains it produces. It may produce less emissions but it also burns less efficiently. Is there a gain in destroying our aquifers and burning up food?

http://www.minnpost.com/environment/2009/04/university-report-warns-water-consumption-corn-ethanol-rise

http://www.swhydro.arizona.edu/archive/V6_N5/feature4.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol_fuel

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

hey Redwing :

Quote miksilvr:

Ethanol is added to gasoline to reduce emissions, and to lower the mount of oil that goes into the production of gasoline. That's nothing new.

What is needed is a change in how ethanol is made ... getting away from corn as the source. Also, more emphasis should be placed on using renewable fuels such as wind or solar or geothermal power or tidal power to provide the energy required to produce the ethanol. Powering an ethanol plant with energy from fossil fuels looses a few points on the green operations scale.

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

Tidal and geothermal may not be practical in the midwest. That leaves wind. I grant you a good alternative. Now convince me that it reduces total emissions and does no harm to engines.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ethanol-not-cut-emissions

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

Then there is that Giant Microwave in the Sky. You can do a lot with smart heat exchange design too. Think about building efficiencies in the Midwest where you have to deal with big climate shifts and you find there are a number of very cost effective alternatives to more fossil fuels.

I presume the "it" is ethanol, and nobody is doing more than saying that using other sources and making it more efficiently would make it a good part of the non-fossil alternatives. What we really want is to get the Petro subsidies and leverages out of the way. Were we looking for the best way to get to a sustainable energy future, it would not be slower instead of faster.

drc2
Joined:
Apr. 26, 2012 12:15 pm

If cornfields can't survive in this heat to produce our ethanol, there is something else that can.....

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Police say marijuana growing operations in southern Indiana are easy to spot from the air because of the drought.

An airplane pilot guided troopers on the ground through browning forests and corn fields Tuesday to uncover grow sites in Clark, Scott and Harrison counties. The troopers cut down more than 100 marijuana plants.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin tells The Courier-Journal the resilient green marijuana plants "stick out like a sore thumb."

Trooper Mike Bennett tells The News and Tribune that marijuana can flourish in harsh conditions, pointing out, "It's not called weed for nothing."

Bennett says the seized plants will be destroyed once a burn ban is lifted.

He says the owners of property where marijuana grows are rarely arrested, because most "have no idea that it's growing on their land."
http://news.yahoo.com/indiana-police-cite-drought-marijuana-finds-164935755.html

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
Joined:
Mar. 19, 2012 2:04 pm

The military has been using hydrogen power for years, stolen from investors like me in the 90's.

We need to take it back.

anonymous green
Joined:
Jan. 5, 2012 11:47 am

More on this topic :

this article first appeared in the Los Angeles Times on 8/24/12 :

Amid drought, a push to cut ethanol quota

http://www.heraldextra.com/business/agriculture/amid-drought-a-push-to-cut-ethanol-quota/article_1be4aa0d-a839-556e-99bf-566cad84af0c.html

...

from the Baltimore Sun :

Rethinking the food vs. fuel debate

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-food-versus-fuel-20120826,0,5692524.story

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

Record Arctic Snow Loss May Be Prolonging North American Drought

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/arctic-snow-melt/

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm
Quote Redwing:

Tidal and geothermal may not be practical in the midwest. That leaves wind. I grant you a good alternative. Now convince me that it reduces total emissions and does no harm to engines.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ethanol-not-cut-emissions

Do you have a iink proving the engine harm?

Corn will not reduce total emmissions, we need another source. Corn won't be the solution, because as the Midwest drought becomes the rgluar weather pattern, due to climate change, our national corn production will be permanently lowered by half or more, and we will farming cactus, dust and lizards in the Iowa.

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

What makes everyone so sure that the technology doesn't already exist to eliminate the need for petroleum or coal. If the technology does exist what makes everyone think that they would introduce it to the world while there are still mega profits to be made with what little natural resources we have left. Wouldn't that be the ace in the sleeve? After depleting the natural (free) resources then and only then would you want to "miraculously" come up with an alternative to energy needs.

Bush_Wacker's picture
Bush_Wacker
Joined:
Jun. 25, 2011 7:53 am

Probably we should just double the size of the planet so there is enough viable agricultural land to power our cars and fill our bellies.

That probably isn't very likely.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Popular Science had a projection that for China, India and the rest of the third world to have the same consumption as Appalachia we need 4 additional Earths. So, after we double the Earth, we need to do it three more times.

So, how is that going?

Phaedrus76's picture
Phaedrus76
Joined:
Sep. 14, 2010 8:21 pm

The replacement for corn in the ethenol plants could be grain sorghum. It may be possible to easily convert the plants to this grain which is now being used to produce alcohol.

The demand for non-GMO is corn rising with grain buyers unable this year to meet the demand and are paying $2/bu over the market price to fill what orders they can.

------ Hybrid varieties of corn are being developed that cannot be cross pollinated with GMO varieties. -----

If the drought lengthens and the demand for non-GMO's continues to grow we will see a big change in the midwest and the decline of the GMO market.

In addition, with the demise (prices dropping from $14+/bu to $1.65/bu) and domination of the soy bean market by the Chinese in 3 to 5 years, farmers in the midwest will be actively moving to other crops. The smart ones are making plans to do that now.

Let's hope that Prop 37 passes in California.

delete jan in iowa
Joined:
Feb. 6, 2011 12:16 pm

Or, yet again (and again and again like a broken freaking record because no one bothers to listen), we can simply legalize "Marijuana" again (keyword there is AGAIN, meaning we've done it before), use the stalks to produce fuel and use the seeds to produce food. Cannabis takes in more CO2 from the atmosphere and more harmful pollutants from the soil than any other crop that humans are using now. Do this on a global level and the problem will be solved. It doesn't take a rocket scientologist to figure out that the last few decades of Cannabis prohibition coincide with the last few decades of atmospheric changes. You've allowed your government (YOU are the government) to outlaw the world's most useful crop and now wonder why everything is going to shit?

Do any of you seriously want to fix the problem or not? If so, then start growing pot all over your state and use it for everything that it can be used for. If not, then just shut up about everything and continue to watch football until the planet dies. The choice has always been yours.

JTaylor's picture
JTaylor
Joined:
Mar. 19, 2012 2:04 pm
Quote Phaedrus76:

Do you have a iink proving the engine harm?

Just for starters, from Newsweek:

"Where's the Logic?

First, the primary job of the Environmental Protection Agency is, dare it be said, to protect our environment. Yet using ethanol actually creates more smog than using regular gas, and the EPA's own attorneys had to admit that fact in front of the justices presiding over the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 1995 (API v. EPA).

Second, truly independent studies on ethanol, such as those written by Tad Patzek of Berkeley and David Pimentel of Cornell, show that ethanol is a net energy loser. Other studies suggest there is a small net energy gain from it.

Third, all fuels laced with ethanol reduce the vehicle's fuel efficiency, and the E85 blend drops gas mileage between 30% and 40%, depending on whether you use the EPA's fuel mileage standards (fueleconomy.gov) or those of the Dept. of Energy.

Fourth, forget what biofuels have done to the price of foodstuffs worldwide over the past three years; the science seems to suggest that using ethanol increases global warming emissions over the use of straight gasoline. Just these issues should have kept ethanol from being brought back for its fourth run in American history."

http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/may2009/bw20090514_058678.htm

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1076240_e15-ethanol-fuel-can-damage-engines-new-automaker-study-says

Redwing's picture
Redwing
Joined:
Jun. 21, 2012 5:12 am

More fuel for the fire, as they say:

2012 drought: Pick your poison

As harvest season gets underway, farmers find drought-stressed crops are susceptible to toxins and contaminants, further reducing yields

http://wwwp.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2012/10/drought-toxins

miksilvr
Joined:
Jul. 7, 2011 12:13 pm

https://vimeo.com/49671213 imagine this being witnessed along with a guy that has a following or fan base. Religions have started with less.

douglaslee's picture
douglaslee
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

From an above post: Or, yet again (and again and again like a broken freaking record because no one bothers to listen), we can simply legalize "Marijuana" again (keyword there is AGAIN, meaning we've done it before), use the stalks to produce fuel and use the seeds to produce food.

poly replies: I've no problem with legalizing marijuana. However, varieties of hemp that have highly useful industrial/fuel applications have the same soil requirements that wheat does. All hemp is not equal.

In nations like China and Spain where useful hemp is grown, high inputs of synthetic fertilizers are also utilized. Most of those fertilizers come from oil. Adequate rainfall or irrigation remains a requirement.

You can get a greater amount of a recreational drug like pot from an acre of ground than you can in growing another agricultural product to be converted into another recreational drug....alcohol. It isn't, however, a panacea.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Stars and Stripes, October 9, 1981, page 6:

Energy-conscious citizens won't waste vodka

WEST BROOKFIELD, Mass. (AP) - Look closely this winter and you may see a hiccup pickup whiz by.

The Highway Department's truck and the town police cars could be running on 160-proof vodka this winter - ethyl alcohol distilled from the waste of a potato chip factory.

Peter Magnante, a physics professor at Clark University in Worcester, obtained a $50,000 grant in January from the federal Department of Energy for the alternative fuel experiment.

Magnante said he is producing 60 to 100 gallons weekly of what he prefers to call ethanol in a backyard still.

He expects the truck to be converted to burn the alcohol by early November.

Rodger97321's picture
Rodger97321
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

There seems to be only one way to stop drought, global warming, wars, prohibition, hungry kids, unemployed workers, and get returning vets proper care, kids literacy, Stopping racism, for profit prisons and unaffordable health care and terrorizing women. Factory Farm all of the republicans! Then feed them to the pigs. I hope no one took the eat the rich comment seriously. I'm sure with all of the years of junk food they have no real nutritional value for the poor. Or, they probably make the best fertilizer since they are so full of shit as it is. If we truly want a free society we have to remove the FO slave mentalities and conservatude selfishness and greed. It is they who cause the poor in the first place. Why continue this disfunction? They cause the wars and pollution so their masters can get richer. They cause the violence getting drunk and not properly securing their weapons of mass destruction so their kids can shoot eliminatory school children. They are proud of their treason and only purpose is to obstruct aid for the needs of the people, needs they create. Fuck em. Oh and Hemp is drought resistant and there are alternatives to the GOP billion and a half cows eating protein, drinking fresh water and shitting in the streams for people to drink. Then they export it for pure profit leaving us with the mess. Same as when they tear up the infrastructure then dodge tax responsibility.

severe-drought-creates-problems-ethanol-mandate

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP)

An airplane pilot guided troopers on the ground through browning forests and corn fields Tuesday to uncover grow sites in Clark, Scott and Harrison counties. The troopers cut down more than 100 marijuana plants.

Sgt. Jerry Goodin tells The Courier-Journal the resilient green marijuana plants "stick out like a sore thumb."

Trooper Mike Bennett tells The News and Tribune that marijuana can flourish in harsh conditions, pointing out, "It's not called weed for nothing."

Congressional Carnivores Rage Over ‘Meatless Monday’
By David Sirota —
America is suffering through the worst drought since 1950, so taking one day a week off from meat-eating seems like the absolute least we should be willing to do.

Imagination is more important than intelligence.❞
-- Albert Einstein

According to a respected ecologist at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, “Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein.” cornell.edu

So even considering only the grain crops, the animals were fed more than 3 times the human-edible grain than what their bodies produced in meat.

University sources generalize that chickens need to eat 2 pounds of plant foods, to produce 1 pound of muscle (meat)..a 2:1 ratio. Pork (pigs’ muscle) has a 3:1 ratio, and beef (cattle and cows’ muscle) has a 6:1 ratio

State Patrol on prowl for ditchweed harvesters
Although some law enforcement officers say fewer people seem to be harvesting the plant, most people seem to think the drought hasn't done the weed much harm. "The marijuana around here grows 12 feet tall," said a Nebraska State Patrol investigator in charge of eradicating ditchweed. "Along these creekbeds it will run down the creek for a mile."

Hemp facts and some fun hemp history
# Hemp is drought resistant
# Hemp fuels do not destroy the ozone layer or contribute to global warming.

HEMP
Clean Air, Sustainable Fuel
Suggested reading: Hemp, Lifeline to the Future,
by Chris Conrad and
Energy Farming in America by Lynn Osburn.

Farms -- a natural resource.

Farmers must be allowed to grow an energy crop that produces at least 10 tons per acre in 90-120 days, and grows in all climactic zones in America. Hemp is drought resistant, making it an ideal crop in the dry western regions of the country.

DdC's picture
DdC
Joined:
Mar. 22, 2012 1:39 am

Actually, hemp requires about the same moisture/nutrition requirements as corn though some varities can do with 3 inches less water per year. Some varities require more water than corn.

http://www.hemp-technologies.com/page83/page83.html

Putting your hopes on hemp when much of the nation is projected to turn into a dust bowl probably isn't very wise.

In the meantime, drought alternatiing with excess rain that kills corn, hemp and most crops can be expected until the planet settles down to just plain hot and very little percipitation over much of it...and floods in much of the remainder.

Probably using any land to grow "fuel" is a bad idea.

Just use tap water that comes from sources where fracking is being done. It burns. Since you can't drink it, bath in it or irrigate with it, you might as well put it in your gas tank after some engine modification. Buy the imported French stuff for your showers.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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