Burning Food in Cars – an ‘anti-human ethos’

Letter to the Editor
Watts Up With That?
23rd July 2012

Nothing illustrates the anti-human ethos of the Greens better than their support for “biofuels”.

That trendy name cannot hide the fact that encouraging and mandating the burning of food for motor fuel creates nothing but negatives for the environment and for human welfare, but will have no effect on climate.

The biofuel scheme relies on taxpayer subsidies and legislated market-sharing. It wastes land, fuel, fertiliser, water and financial resources to produce ethanol from sterile monocultures of corn, soya beans, palm oil and sugar cane. Most of the land used was cultivation that once produced food. Some is stolen from peasant landowners or obtained by ploughing natural grasslands or clearing virgin forests. The distilling process produces good alcohol but an inferior motor spirit that can damage some engines and has only 70% of the energy of petrol and diesel.

The biofuel schemes have already inflated world food prices. Shortages and famines will increase. This food-burning policy is taking us back to the hungry years before tractors, harvesters, trucks and diesel fuel when teams of draft horses, working bullocks, stock horses and farm labourers consumed 80% of farm output. Some may like to return to those bucolic days, but then most city populations would not find food on their supermarket shelves. In trendy green jargon, big cities would be “unsustainable”.

Here is a new slogan which is kind to humans AND the environment:
“Don’t Burn Food for Fuel”.

Viv Forbes,

Rosewood Qld Australia

forbes@carbon-sense.com

I am happy for my email address to be published.

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191 Responses to Burning Food in Cars – an ‘anti-human ethos’

  1. Doug Huffman says:

    Well said.

    As I have been saying, “Burning food for fuel is foolish.”

  2. Joe Guerk says:

    The post sounds like a gross exaggeration: The US has food coming out of its ears; it can afford to set aside a percentage of the farmland for ethanol.

    No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever the latest tear-jerking famine story is.

  3. Peter Hartley says:

    I have said on many occasions: “Burning your enemy’s crops used to be a weapon of war — now western governments are forcing taxpayers to subsidize crop burning by their own populace.”

  4. Urederra says:

    Nothing illustrates the anti-human ethos of the Greens better than their support for “biofuels”.

    Not true.

    Their support for DDT ban have sentenced half a million people to death every year.

    But biofuels come close, though.

  5. Ian W says:

    The slogan should be a little stronger than that – follow FOIA – and say:

    A child dies every 5 seconds from hunger – and YOU are using food for fuel!”

  6. Ed Fix says:

    Very well said! For us in the industrialized world, who pay around 5-10% of our budget on food, doubling food prices is an inconvenience, but not crippling. For the poorest in the world, who might spend 50% of their income on food, it’s a really BFD.

    And it’s starting already. The so-called Arab Spring was sparked in part by rising food prices.

  7. the irony of the internet: a popup ad on my screen below your article is of an Astoria, IL cattle farmer who supplies McDonald’s with quality beef, working land formerly part of a coal mine, which was considered by some to be “worthless.”

    Excellent and concise point, Viv. It is all too clear that the “bio” in bio-fuels is anything but sustainable (economically or environmentally); nevertheless, it continues to receive government subsidies. A similar point could be made about blanketing arable soil with solar collectors. Not a wise decision.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  8. betapug says:

    “Up to 10% ethanol” is such a wonderfully ambiguous phrase. Imagine pouring “may contain some milk fat” fluid onto your breakfast cereal.

    After a protracted email exchange with Shell Canada, they admitted there is no way I can know what exactly I am buying at the pump as the ethanol dilution of gasoline is a federally mandated amount of their total national sales volume.

    What you actually pump at any given time and location is “mystery mix” with an unknown energy (and thus mileage value) content of lower value ethanol.

    Makes you wonder why they bother with the weights and measures inspectors calibrating the pumps for accurate volume delivery over a range of temperatures.

  9. betapug says:

    PS. I am informed by Shell that Shell V-Power gasoline in Canada is 100% gasoline, but not in the US.

    I wonder if ethanol producers sell “could be mostly ethanol” to their customers?

  10. Ian H says:

    The US farmer lobby paid for this legislation to go through and it wants its money’s worth. To get it repealed you need to find somebody with deep enough pockets to outbid them, which would be difficult. That is what you get when your government is for sale. You guys might want to look at fixing your democracy sometime. In case you haven’t noticed, it is broken. At the moment you’ve got the best government … money can buy.

  11. Most of the land used was cultivation that once produced food.

    That’s not the case with palm oil, most of which is grown on land that was previously tropical forest. The cutting down of that forest, 40% of all remaining forest in SE Asia, is IMO the worst ecological disaster of my lifetime.

  12. Ed Fix says:

    Joe Guerk says:
    July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    “The post sounds like a gross exaggeration: The US has food coming out of its ears; it can afford to set aside a percentage of the farmland for ethanol.”

    Yes, we (US) have corn coming out our ears. Which we used to sell in poor regions of the earth at bargain prices. Now we burn it, and they pay higher prices or starve.

    ” No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever…”

    Exactly the point. Thank you.

  13. Government Energy Warning: May contain traces of energy.

    The WWF supports bio-ethanol production, and says it’s “safe for vehicles” – they would know, wouldn’t they? I suggest they be renamed WWWF – World-Wide Waste of Food.

  14. rgbatduke says:

    I have to say that I think this is a bit excessive. Lots of states in the United States (at least) do not have an enormous amount of cropland growing food. In fact, in North Carolina we have rather a lot of cropland growing tobacco, that is to say, growing something even more useless and bad for mankind than biodiesel crops or corn from which ethanol can be made. There’s little profit in people trying to grow food on the land — first of all, the US has an enormous surplus of food grown on the farm and has for years to the extent that it has been subsidizing farmers for many decades not to grow food; second some of the land is too dry, too depleted by a couple of centuries of growing tobacco, too acid, to support growing more food that merely drops the price of food to where the farmer can’t make a living at it any more. In NC a lot of farmers grow tobacco because it is a high return crop. Corn isn’t.

    Maybe pot would be, but of course hemp has a huge number of uses (not just smokability) — it can be made into paper, clothing, rope, and yes, alcohol or biodiesel. It grows fast and could easily be a major cash crop to replace tobacco on all accounts. Too bad it is restricted at best, illegal at worst, to grow.

    People grow all sorts of things besides food. They grow trees to make into furniture or paper or houses. They grow grains like barley for the sole purpose of making them (at a ruinous loss relative to their food value) into beer, which is hardly a necessary nutrient. Well, maybe it is, but not as far as nutritionists are concerned. They grow hops just to put into the barley-wasting beer.

    Asserting that there are people starving now because there are other people growing corn not to feed hogs but to turn into ethanol is an egregious claim, at least in the US. First of all, there are hardly any people in the US that are starving. Second, you’d have to show that somebody would farm food on the land being used to grow ethanol precursors, that the food thus grown wouldn’t cause farmers to go out of business by dropping food prices to where the market corrected itself right back to the current level of competitiveness. Third, you’d have to show that the food thus grown, openly sold on the free market, would prevent somebody else from starving because see first, hardly anybody in the US is starving and there are already programs galore that would feed them from our incredible surplus of food as it is.

    Anything but free market prevention of starvation puts you right back into the government intervention seat. Should the government subsidize farmers not to grow anything to keep small farmers in business at a reasonable profit? Should they subsidize them to grow a big surplus so that the surplus doesn’t drive prices down to where they go out of business, or rather, so that they don’t go out of business as the price inevitably goes down? Should they subsidize some other crop that at least makes the farmer earn a living while keeping too many of them from growing food in a country where efficient farming means that one has to grow a huge, corporate amount of food to be profitable (on a good year)? Should they subsidize nothing, in which case it is very unlikely that one single person will be saved from starvation (or vice versa) in the free market, where if anything the free market is likely to drive people out of farming altogether and then drive prices up with even less food being grown?

    The point is that markets are complex. Government policy and intervention have been involved in the manipulation of markets to accomplish goals held to be in the public interest from the very beginning of this country, with the very first tariffs and protections, with the very first taxes. You are perfectly within your rights to argue for or against the public policy decision that encourages farmers to grow crops that can be turned into fuel, but if you are going to claim that people are starving because of it, you’ll have to show me the people, and if you claim that world food prices are increasing, you’ll also have to show that the would be being propped up at this “increased” level without the benefit of fuel production otherwise.

    Personally, I might even agree that mandated ethanol in gasoline is a questionable practice, and yes, it is bad to run in my boat even with enzymatic protections (although that is largely due to the way the motor is designed and built, not anything intrinsic or unfixable). I have moderate doubts that with current crop hybrids one can ever — or at least easily — establish a steady state biofuel basis for even the 1/3 or so of energy consumption that runs cars.

    However, that’s now, this year. Next year somebody may genetically engineer a seed crop with 3x the oil production and the resulting biodiesel may be cheaper than the regular kind without subsidy. Or Iran could succeed in building a nuclear device, use it on Israel, which retaliates by nuking the entire middle east into a radioactive wasteland for the next 100 years, and the resulting rise in prices might make biodiesel and ethanol and gasoline made from coal enormously profitable, whereupon our existing limited capacity to keep things going with it might be all that saves civilization while it adjusts. And finally, while I know it is never welcome on this of all sites, it is the simple truth that the warmists could be right and evidence finally accumulates that convinces even me, even you, even Anthony. Honesty requires acknowledging at least the possibility, even if you think it unlikely.

    Then the question is one of hedging one’s bets. By maintaining a moderately profitable biofuel industry, the government paves the way for scaling things up or down as future evidence dictates. If temperatures start dropping radically with no change in aerosols, perhaps because of the solar minimum, perhaps because of nonlinear negative feedbacks kicking in we know not of, a lot of supporters of the CAGW hypothesis will change their minds, including many climate scientists. Scaling down is easy. If temperatures start going up radically over the next decade, with over a 0.2 C bump consistent with the supposed 2.8 C climate sensitivity on doubling CO_2 to 600, scaling up is easy too. The current level of production is arguable, but as a hedged bet it isn’t insane.

    Now if they’d just legalize hemp and openly encourage its investigation as a possible biofuel source, no matter how it turns out it wouldn’t be a total loss…;-)

    rgb

    rgb

  15. pat says:

    Sugar cane ethanol biofuel produces 10 times the pollution of gasoline and diesel
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/07/sugar-cane-ethanol-biofuel-produces-10-times-the-pollution-of-gasoline-and-diesel/
    Abstract of Tsao et al 2012:

    “Accelerating biofuel production has been promoted as an opportunity to enhance energy security, offset greenhouse gas
    emissions and support rural economies. However, large uncertainties remain in the impacts of biofuels on air quality
    and climate1,2. Sugar-cane ethanol is one of the most widely used biofuels, and Brazil is its largest producer3. Here we
    use a life-cycle approach to produce spatially and temporally explicit estimates of air-pollutant emissions over the whole life
    cycle of sugar-cane ethanol in Brazil. We show that even in regions where pre-harvest field burning has been eliminated
    on half the croplands, regional emissions of air pollutants continue to increase owing to the expansion of sugar-cane
    growing areas, and burning continues to be the dominant life-cycle stage for emissions. Comparison of our estimates of
    burning-phase emissions with satellite estimates of burning in São Paulo state suggests that sugar-cane field burning is
    not fully accounted for in satellite-based inventories, owing to the small spatial scale of individual fires. Accounting for
    this effect leads to revised regional estimates of burned area that are four times greater than some previous estimates. Our revised emissions maps thus suggest that biofuels may have larger impacts on regional climate forcing and human health than previously thought.”

  16. Ric Werme says:

    betapug says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    After a protracted email exchange with Shell Canada, they admitted there is no way I can know what exactly I am buying at the pump as the ethanol dilution of gasoline is a federally mandated amount of their total national sales volume.

    The problem is that there’s not enough biomass ethanol ethanol to blend. A year or two ago I got all excited because my gas mileage suddenly jumped 5% or so. My guess was that Gulf didn’t have the ethanol to blend, so I was getting good stuff without the bad stuff. The boost lasted quite a while, I still buy Gulf in hopes the good stuff comes back. I wonder if it’s legal for a gas station to advertise their current gas is low ethanol, and boost their price a bit to pay for the federal penalty.

    I haven’t checked the web, but there really ought to be some simple ways of checking or removing ethanol. The local outdoor equipment folks would love to have non-ethanol fuel, and if you can get the ethanol pure enough to drink that would open a whole new underground market. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. Win-win-lose if you include the Feds.

  17. betapug says:

    Skimming Obama’s recently released US Bioeconomy Blueprint http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2012/04/27/the-us-bioeconomy-blueprint-the-10-minute-guide/ ,
    I am impressed by how many sacred Green principles- opposition to Genetic Modification, the Precautionary Principle, more stringent government regulations, curbing of anti-competitive business practices, academic independence, etc.-are thrown under the (presumeably biofuel powered) bus.

  18. Ian W says:

    Joe Guerk says:
    July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    The post sounds like a gross exaggeration: The US has food coming out of its ears; it can afford to set aside a percentage of the farmland for ethanol.

    No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever the latest tear-jerking famine story is.

    We have had this discussion on a previous thread.
    There is every chance that next year the US will be importing wheat from South America as long as their harvests don’t fail. It is already importing corn.

    “Grain prices set records as U.S. drought, food worries spread
    CHICAGO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Grain prices pushed to record highs on Thursday as scattered rains in U.S. Midwest did little to douse fears that the worst drought in half a century will not end soon or relieve worries around the world about higher food prices.

    Government forecasters did not rule out that the drought in the U.S. heartland could last past October, continuing what has been the hottest half-year on record.

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-07-20/news/sns-rt-us-usa-droughtbre86f1d4-20120716_1_grain-prices-moderate-drought-national-drought-mitigation-center

    and

    Soybean prices set an all-time high; wheat, corn rise as crops crumple in blistering heat wave
    The price of soybeans hit an all-time high Wednesday as a devastating heat wave continued to pound crops in fields.

    Soybeans for August delivery rose 44.5 cents, or 2.7 percent, to finish at $16.835 per bushel. Wheat prices ended at the highest level since the spring of 2008 and corn prices are pushing toward their all-time high set in June 2011.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/markets/soybean-prices-set-an-all-time-high-wheat-corn-rise-as-crops-crumple-in-blistering-heat-wave/2012/07/18/gJQAvqtDuW_story.html

    and

    World grain price surge triggering defaults

    (Reuters) – Grains suppliers are starting to default on previously agreed sales to major importers, including top wheat buyer Egypt, rather than deliver on contracts that are now losing money because of the huge rally in prices sparked by the U.S. drought.

    The worst drought in more than 50 years is wilting crops in the U.S. Midwest and sending prices into overdrive, with corn alone surging by around 50 percent in the last month. Soybeans have also hit record highs, with wheat not far behind.

    Crop downgrades in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan as drought followed a bitterly cold winter have added to global price rises, stoking fears of unrest especially in Middle Eastern countries, where high food prices can trigger political protest.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/19/us-grain-market-defaults-idUSBRE86I0EZ20120719

    Its rapidly becoming not Biafra you need worry about but the USA. Supermarkets only hold 3 days of food the reserves ‘grain mountain’ has largely gone. see:

    Spotlight G-20: Grain Reserves and the Food Price Crisis
    With the U.S. government announcement last week that this year’s corn crop is expected to be much smaller due to an extended drought, agricultural commodity markets are yet again headed for high and unstable prices this summer. Is the world better prepared for the shortfall then it was in 2007? Certainly, the United States is not. To cite agricultural journalist Alan Guebert:

    Indeed, according to CCC (Commodity Credit Corporation), there is not one teaspoon of sugar, one pound of peanuts, one slice of butter, one wheel of cheese, one bushel of wheat or even one chickpea in USDA’s pantry. CCC has nothing—nada, zip, goose egg—to release into the marketplace to slow or moderate what’s certain to be fast-climbing food prices in the coming months.

    Other headlines

    Russia grain harvest downgraded due to Black Sea weather – Reuters
    Drought to cut Serbia grain harvest, drive up prices
    Brazil ships corn to drought-stricken US
    Argentina sees grains windfall from US drought

    and on and on…..

    And people pump grain based ethanol into their vehicles to run less efficiently.

    I know _you_ don’t care but in the time you took to read this about a dozen children died of hunger.

  19. Viv Forbes says:

    I don’t care who makes ethanol from what, as long as it does not rely on legislated markets, subsidies, price controls, tax breaks or deceptive or coercive marketing. Get government out of the equation and then we will see what works.

    Viv Forbes

  20. Sam says:

    People complain about how the process for making biofuels is inefficient, but trust me- you don’t want to see an effecient version. If that happens you could get the price of fuel and food to equalize (with the gap equal to the cost of the refining process. That would be bad. The only version of biofuels that is intelligent is one that converts residual plant waste. Even converting non-food crops is bad because you are increasing the demand for land to grow crops.

    Joe Geurk
    “The post sounds like a gross exaggeration: The US has food coming out of its ears; it can afford to set aside a percentage of the farmland for ethanol.”

    The problem is that for the last 70 years the US government has subsidized agriculture to the point that we now determine world food prices. Demand is increasing (from population growth) and the US is reducing supply. The result is a price shock even though the drop in quantity is small, because demand for food is highly inelastic.

    Now, in a market economy with a baseline set up this would automatically correct itself, but we don’t have that. Poor countries have diminished capacity to ramp up food production, poor people don’t have enough buying power to change food habits (if food becomes more expensive for first worlds we can simply eat less meat) and they have become dependent on US food because are subsidies allow us to dump agricultural products.

    Essentially this is a food version of the 2001 California energy crisis, where shutting down a few plants caused electricity prices to spike and capped prices for the plant owners keep them from expanding.

    I think the larger green organizations have come around and realize this is a bad idea, but it is unlikely to be fixed anytime soon. It is sort of funny- unlike almost all other political controversies in the US, this has an obvious answer… but one that won’t be embraced because a small group massively benefits (American farmers) and the rest of the population (despite statements of spreading democracy, the faith, complaints about collateral damage or anything else) doesn’t seem to care about foreigners. It isn’t an American problem- agricultural subsidies exist in the Eurozone and Japan. I’m not sure if they also embrace this specific stupidity, but if they don’t it is probably due to a lack of convertable crops.

  21. Gail Combs says:

    Ian H says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    The US farmer lobby paid for this legislation to go through and it wants its money’s worth…..
    _______________________________________
    WRONG! That is typical propaganda spin pointing fingers at the innocent.

    62 percent of farms in United States did not collect subsidy payments – according to USDA.
    Ten percent collected 75 percent of all subsidies.
    Amounting to $172.2 billion over 17 years.
    Top 10%: $31,400 average per year between 1995 and 2011.
    Bottom 80%: $594 average per year between 1995 and 2011.
    http://farm.ewg.org/region.php

    In general US farmers LOSE $15,000 a year putting food in your mouth. (USDA Census) Another link shows 84% of all U.S. farms generated gross sales of less than $100,000 per year with net incomes generally run about 15% to 20% of gross sales. Over 65% of these farms show no profit at all.

    If you bothered to research the topic you find who the real winners are.
    1. Perhaps America’s champion all-time campaign contributor is Dwayne Orville Andreas. Although virtually unknown to most Americans, since the 1970s, leading politicians of both parties have been well acquainted with Andreas, his company, and his money…

    2. Agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM), the single largest beneficiary of a controversial federal ethanol tax subsidy, contributed more than $3 million in unregulated “soft money” to Republican and Democratic national party committees during the past 10 years

    3. ADM have the power to make your life more expensive – much more expensive. And they have been aggressively exercising that power for over 30 years.

    4. ADM is the largest primary food processor in the country – it turns corn and soybeans (among other products) into a host of consumer products: corn flakes, cornstarch, corn syrup, corn meal, popcorn, and hundreds of other items. One of those other items is ethanol…. More accurately, though, ethanol is the latest incarnation of snake oil.

    5. ADM profits soar 550 percent as ethanol margins improve

    That was just ADM
    April 2009 – Corporations are still making a killing from hunger: For grain traders like Cargill and ADM, seed and pesticide companies like Syngenta and Monsanto and fertiliser companies like Potash Corp and Yara, there was never a better time for their bottom lines….

    Cargill VP, Dan Amstuz, wrote the World Trade Agreement on Agriculture (1995) and the farm bill (1996) later called “Freedom to Fail” that bankrupted US farmers and wiped out the US grain reserves by 2008. Amstutz established Cargill Investor Services and then went on to work for Goldman Sachs. If we continue to follow the money trail we find How Goldman Sachs Created the [2008] Food Crisis.

    More on the politics
    Also read this three part series:
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11853
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11878
    http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/11910
    Update: http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/21703

  22. James says:

    Studied this at horticultural college. The fossil fuels required to plant, maintain and harvest the biofuel crop used much the same energy that the crop produced. Good earner though when the subsidies are taken into account.

    Next thing will be to subsidise Photovoltaic panel schemes on productive farmland as photoynthesis is considered bad for the planet.

  23. u.k.(us) says:

    Innovation is stifled when government policy gaurantees a profit.
    Look no further than the gamblers that made the mistake of betting on Facebook’s stock, and now want their money back.
    Risk tends to focus/ hone the mind, a government gaurantee does the opposite.

    But, this has all been thrashed out by historians, so I’ll stop.

  24. A. Scott says:

    http://archvillain.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/not-this-again.jpg

    The U.S. meets ALL domestic needs plus fulfilled ALL corn export demand and still adds to the surplus.

    Almost every claim in the orig post is either wildly inaccurate or an outright lie. This is nothing more than a completely unsubstantiated and undocumented “drive by”

    IMO this type simplistic activist comment simply does not deserve a response here. Little more than an advocacy “commercial” with no exhibited desire for discussion.

  25. Robert of Ottawa says:

    The so-called “Arab Spring”, which is letting the Muslim Brotherhood into governments, was precipitated by rising food prices.

  26. CodeTech says:

    I kinda miss my old car… I had it tuned perfectly for Mohawk 94 octane ethanol blend, and it ran 12 seconds. Not bad for a 1987 street car at 3500 feet. In fact, my new car, a 2008 SRT4, is also happiest with lots of ethanol and higher octane, but that’s because it’s a turbo and can efficiently use that kind of fuel. I don’t notice much variation in mileage at all from fuel, but that’s mostly because this little pig of a car is about as aerodynamic as a brick with spoilers.

    On the subject of rants, my 1987 Daytona Shelby Z was a piece of cake to modify. I completely rewrote the engine controller with more accurate fuel calculations than the factory was able to do, and had it to the point where highway mileage was in the 40-45 MPG range. The 2008 computer is security locked thanks to the EPA and it’s virtually impossible for me to increase its efficiency, thus reducing emissions. Thanks, EPA. I despise your draconian meddling with my car. I have never once achieved 30MPG on this car, and usually even highway is in the 25MPG range.

    21 years of Progress, as defined by the EPA, is using almost twice the fuel with the associated emissions increases for a similar weight and performance car.

  27. LOL in Oregon says:

    Hey,
    how else can they reduce the surplus population?

    I propose that anyone who supports burning food for transportation be required to use the food they would have consumed, you know:
        they walk their talk!
    (and this should especially apply to anyone who mandates it!)

    Naaah, can’t have that, after all, they know what is good for you and
    they’ll work real hard to make sure you toe the line for their religion!

    LOL in Oregon

  28. Gail Combs says:

    rgbatduke says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    I have to say that I think this is a bit excessive. Lots of states in the United States (at least) do not have an enormous amount of cropland growing food. In fact, in North Carolina we have rather a lot of cropland growing tobacco, that is to say, growing something even more useless…
    _________________________________
    I am afraid you are a bit behind the times by a few years. The USDA/FDA put in new regulations on curing of tobacco and most of the farmers I know got out of tobacco.

    Jul. 16, 2009
    Congress made history with a vote on tobacco in June. But it wasn’t the kind of history that growers wanted to be part of. By big margins, both the House and the Senate voted to give the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory authority over the tobacco industry, a power no federal agency had ever had…. “Growers expect a continuing escalation of add-on regulations from FDA, especially since the FDA will be funded by the user fee,” Bunn says. “Since current FDA programs are under-funded, the tobacco user fee will provide a windfall of resources to expand the bureaucracy of FDA.”
    http://southeastfarmpress.com/management/tobacco-growers-wary-fda-ruling

    The guy across the street had just put in new (federally mandated) curing barns only to find out a few years later they were now obsolete and he had to invest in entirely new buildings. He gave up and now grows corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat. Tobbaco is just not worth it.

    … says Blake Brown, North Carolina Extension agricultural economist.

    There are three reasons:

    • Increased regulation, and increased cigarette prices caused by that regulation, will lead to lower U.S. cigarette consumption.

    • Harm reduction technologies will likely reduce the amount of tobacco in each cigarette.

    • The emphasis on harm reduction typically shifts demand toward smokeless tobacco products, and they historically have used little burley or flue-cured tobacco.

    But all this is very difficult to express in reliable numbers. “We don’t know how to quantify the effects of regulation,” says Brown. “Much depends on how stringent the regulations are written and how quickly they are put into force.”

  29. Mark Wagner says:

    The US has food coming out of its ears

    No, we do not. If you check the USDA data, the US used to carry approx a 9 month supply of cereal grains in inventory. Now we carry less than 3 months, and in the winter our stocks drop to mere weeks.

    With corn crops failing due to drought, it remains to be seen where we will be come March 2013.

  30. A. Scott says:

    Gail … I absolutely agree that small farmers get the shaft. The middleman and manufacturers make majority of profit with a fraction of the risks. The consumer however does not want to pay for farmers to make a decent year to year living.

    In the end though the big companies like ADM can overall help all farmers. Their goal is to receive maximum price at minimum costs. Every farmer benefits from better prices. Every farmer benefits from improved crop yields, better seed, better farming methods and the like. And they are extremely efficient at farming – which does offset to some extent their incessant drive for higher prices.

    Were I a smaller farmer I would be a proponent of the ADM’s – a rising tide raises all ships. They certainly have many negatives but at end of the day higher prices and improved yields and efficiency are good for the farmers aren’t they?

  31. Another massive “feel good” screwup, that is considered to being that bad that even Al Gore actually developed a late conscience about it and admitted it to being just that case, a major cockup. It’s killing people, it’s causing starvation and it makes the “Greens” look like they are in the ‘Ethnic Cleansing” business. Only this time it’s killing thousands every week including entire families and they claim to having a care. They lie, the proof is right there and they basically do not give a damn about human life as they have already already demonstrated when banning DDT, that action alone is killing millions every year as well. Not one single regret from any of them.

  32. JustSaying says:

    Second, you’d have to show that somebody would farm food on the land being used to grow ethanol precursors, that the food thus grown wouldn’t cause farmers to go out of business by dropping food prices to where the market corrected itself right back to the current level of competitiveness.

    As you say, markets are complex, and in the long term anything can happen, but the argument is that at least in the short term, supply curves are upward-sloping. An increase in price is needed to expand production of a given crop, because more marginal land needs to be brought under cultivation and there needs to be a price incentive to switch from other uses. A corollary of that is that a reduction in production of a given crop (for example due to the abolition of a biofuel mandate) will generally produce a fall in price, because only the most fertile land stays under cultivation.

    Third, you’d have to show that the food thus grown, openly sold on the free market, would prevent somebody else from starving.

    The mechanism for that, given that grains are internationally traded, is that the fall in price described above would allow people on very low incomes to buy more food at market prices; it would also allow relief agencies’ food budgets to go further.

  33. Gail Combs says:

    rgbatduke says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    ….Maybe pot would be, but of course hemp has a huge number of uses (not just smokability) — it can be made into paper, clothing, rope, and yes, alcohol or biodiesel. It grows fast and could easily be a major cash crop to replace tobacco on all accounts. Too bad it is restricted at best, illegal at worst, to grow….
    _________________________
    Again I am afraid you are incorrect. Pot is not hemp. They are two different plants. You are correct about hemp being a VERY useful plant that should be legalized.

    Hemp Is Not Pot:

    ….With 25,000 known applications from paper, clothing and food products — which, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this January, is the fastest growing new food category in North America — to construction and automotive materials, hemp could be just the crop to jump-start America’s green economy.

    But growing hemp remains illegal in the U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration has lumped the low-THC plant together with its psychoactive cousin, marijuana, making America the planet’s only industrialized nation to ban hemp production. We can import it from Canada, which legalized it in 1997. But we can’t grow it….

    The Wall Street Gerbil has this to say

    …..In the U.S., hemp is often associated with marijuana or rope. The plant’s distant relation to Cannabis has raised concerns over its THC levels, the psychoactive substance found in the illegal drug.

    But findings published in the July/August 2008 Journal of Analytical Toxicology indicate that hemp foods in the marketplace do not contain detectable levels of THC.

    Now, food companies are trying to overcome the challenges of shedding the mysteries of hemp by introducing it as milk, protein powder and nuts (shelled hemp seeds) with some success.

    According to a study by natural products market research firm SPINS, these are the top three growth-driving categories for the industry. The report found that from 2007 to 2008, sales of hemp milk grew about 162%, protein powder increased 21% and nuts rose 44%.

    Living Harvest, the first company to commercially produce hemp milk in the U.S., hopes to cash in on that growth in April, when their hemp milk ice creams debut. The company will offer vanilla bean, chocolate fudge, toasted coconut and lime, coffee biscotti and mint chip. It will also introduce a cooking oil the same month.

    Hemp milk benefits: Hemp milk contains no common allergens and is easily digestible….
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123069062782044697.html

  34. Carl Brannen says:

    (1) If all subsidies for ethanol and gasoline went away farmers would still sell corn to distillers because turning corn into ethanol is profitable under current corn and ethanol prices (and has been for many years). If we made it illegal to do this in the US, either the price of corn would drop and our farmers would quit making it, or our corn would be exported to other countries that would then convert it into ethanol which they would then use to replace gasoline or possibly sell back to us.

    (2) The reason for starvation is that people cannot afford to pay farmers for food. The fact that 1/3 or 1/4 (or whatever) of our corn is now being turned into fuel is a good thing. This means we produce that much more corn than we need to eat. So if we have a year where crops fail, the corn that we would normally turn into ethanol will be instead eaten as food. This could save millions of lives. If we outlawed the burning of food in vehicles this safety margin would disappear.

    (3) The production of ethanol produces distiller’s grains as a byproduct. This byproduct is a food and (like the field corn used in ethanol) is almost entirely fed to animals but can be consumed by humans. People who make calculations showing that making ethanol uses more gasoline than ethanol produced fail to take into account this sort of thing.

    (4) In general, what farmers and distillers do with their time is not the business of the US government or the people reading this thread. This is a free country and we are, individually, free to pursue our own goals. The expectation is that the free enterprise system will intelligently distribute efforts in such a way as to satisfy the needs of individuals. This is what is happening, leave it alone it will do fine without your ignorant “help”. This is not a Communist country where the government decides how many light bulbs and what wattages are to be produced. Production depends on prices and the price of ethanol is high enough that swapping corn for ethanol plus distillers grains is a attractive.

    (5) If we suddenly stopped making ethanol the fuel companies would have to import it from overseas. That’s right. If ethanol were not present in your modern gasoline your modern gasoline would not work in your modern car. Your engine would knock to pieces because the reason modern gasoline mixtures have octane levels that are high enough to burn in your modern car is because of the ethanol.

    (6) If the refiners adapted to the absence of ethanol by tuning their blends for higher octane fuels you would see the price of fuel zoom. Fuel that could not be burned in the 1990s is now burned by adding ethanol to it. This is in addition to the price rise you would get when the absence of ethanol suddenly meant that your car ran out of fuel. They have to get it somewhere and the more you want the higher the price goes up.

  35. Gunga Din says:

    Joe Guerk says:
    July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm
    The post sounds like a gross exaggeration: The US has food coming out of its ears; it can afford to set aside a percentage of the farmland for ethanol.

    No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever the latest tear-jerking famine story is.
    ======================================================================
    But………..but………..I thought this Man-Made (fill in the blank) was causing an extreme drought. So whatever farmland is set aside for ethonol will be less farmland for food and therefore increase the price of food and therefore put more of a strain on the pocket books of the poor in this country. Whatever ears you’re talking about, it isn’t corn.

  36. R. Shearer says:

    The problem of starvation is not because of lack of food (at least at the moment globally) but one rather of wealth and distribution. So, it doesn’t matter much that we are burning food for fuel from that aspect. The real problem is that the economics, or alternatively, the net return of energy on energy invested for corn to ethanol is marginal. Clear cutting tropical forrests to plant palm for biodiesel is much more repugnant.

    If we are going to continue this practice, however, I would rather see us build a store of 3 years or more of corn and use that store to make fuel and also to augment world food supply, as a sort of strategic corn reserve. If there is another La Nina year and this drought persists another year or two, gasohol production will decline.

  37. Gail Combs says:

    Ric Werme says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    ……I wonder if it’s legal for a gas station to advertise their current gas is low ethanol, and boost their price a bit to pay for the federal penalty.

    I haven’t checked the web, but there really ought to be some simple ways of checking or removing ethanol. The local outdoor equipment folks would love to have non-ethanol fuel….
    ______________________________
    I live near a boating area and we have two gas stations in the county that sell regular non-biofuel gas. (premium) at an increased cost. I use it on all my gas powered equipment.

  38. eyesonu says:

    betapug says:
    July 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Skimming Obama’s recently released US Bioeconomy Blueprint http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2012/04/27/the-us-bioeconomy-blueprint-the-10-minute-guide/ ,
    I am impressed by how many sacred Green principles- opposition to Genetic Modification, the Precautionary Principle, more stringent government regulations, curbing of anti-competitive business practices, academic independence, etc.-are thrown under the (presumeably biofuel powered) bus.

    ==================

    You left out a few:

    No objection to building lots of new powerlines, massive tower structures (wind farms) blotting the landscape and associated noise pollution, selective suspension of regulations protecting endangered species such as eagles and bats, increased CO2 levels associated with the production of ethanol and its use, higher food prices, higher transportation costs, higher electricity costs maybe leading to higher pot costs, new road construction to access and service wind farms, acceptance of big green corporate entities, frequent air travel for big green conferences, etc.

    Time to play the nuclear card now. It’s the only thing that can save us from ourselves. It’s truly the only green option left. It will create jobs, reduce CO2, reduce coal consumption, reduce mercury, reduce coal ash, reduce reliance on overseas oil, lessen need for big military and save lives, reduce increase in wind farm blotted landscape, save the condors, eagles, bats, and the polar bears by proxy, etc.

    Just paint it green and it’s OK.

  39. Gary Pearse says:

    rgbatduke says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    “And finally, while I know it is never welcome on this of all sites, it is the simple truth that the warmists could be right and evidence finally accumulates that convinces even me, even you, even Anthony. Honesty requires acknowledging at least the possibility, even if you think it unlikely.”

    rg, this is the only thing I found in your excellent long comment I take issue with and it is a matter of nuance. All sensible, thinking sceptics agree that the temperature has risen, probably over the past couple of hundred years by a degree C or so. The main issue scientifically literate sceptics have isn’t with the “could be”. It is with what is really causing this, so far, unalarming warming that remains within natural variability. Sure it “could be”, but until we do know, we certainly won’t accept disengenuous, activist-ideologue scientist’s findings and their prescriptions for solving a problem that hasn’t manifested itself. Despite the lengths that the CAGW proponents have gone to to manipulate the data and commandeer the media and flood the once scientific journals with cooked studies, it hasn’t been possible to get rid of the warmer 1930s, the MWP (Viking farmsteads are emerging from under the ice of Greenland).. With the problem not yet demonstrated, we have already spent, or will have spent trillions in the coming decades on crazy energy schemes, billions on dishonest scientific studies and a plan to recreate the Dark Ages. We could feed a lot of people, or they could feed themselves on this kind of bread.

    Listen rg, I think you got the rest of this right on, I’m a sceptic who came to know that it had warmed in the past century+ through reading here at WUWT. I couldn’t trust the consensus sites for information because they blocked reasoned dissent. I’m a geologist who learned a long time ago that the globe had varied a lot in its temp ranges from ice ages to a lot warmer than it is today. I learned a long time ago that deltas and coral islands rise with sea level rise and have commented on these themes frequently. Until today, I was dead against using corn for fuel but I accept your excellent argument (although I have the reservations about it that you do – it is not a carbon neutral fuel by any stretch- I think the CAGW folks are the ones that should be against this). I’m sure you subscribe to the idea that yields have grown with the CO2 rise and maybe castor beans or something like them would be a great way to recycle CO2 back into fuel. .

  40. _Jim says:

    Ian H says July 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    The US farmer lobby paid for this legislation to go through and it wants its money’s worth…..
    _______________________________________

    Gail Combs says July 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm

    WRONG! That is typical propaganda spin pointing fingers at the innocent.

    62 percent of farms in United States did not collect subsidy payments – according to USDA. …

    The Corn Ethanol Juggernaut

    The corn sector has long enjoyed staunch backing from Congress. According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, between 1995 and 2006, federal corn subsidies, which are provided through a myriad of programs, totaled $56.1 billion.

    Farm Lobby Beats Back Assault On Subsidies

    [The Farm Bill] It has since evolved into a thicket of hard-to-cut programs, providing payments and special loans to farmers to counteract swings in commodity prices and ensure market stability, as well as income. Subsidies flow to growers of corn, wheat and cotton, among other commodities. The legislation has also become a vehicle for funding food stamps, land conservation and school lunches, to name a few things, attracting supporters whose constituents have little or nothing to do with farms.

    Biofuels Boost World Food Prices

    Although U.S. and European Union (EU) farm subsidies have long been criticized for their effect on global farm prices, many analysts say the biggest culprits today are the biofuel policies of the two economic powers. Laws that require a certain percentage of transportation fuel to be biofuel — made from corn, sugarcane or other plants — are having perhaps a greater impact on world crop prices than other types of subsidies.

    Corn-based ethanol, the main biofuel used in the United States, will consume 40 percent of the U.S. corn crop this year [2011], up from 6 percent in 2001. “The markets are considerably distorted by U.S. biofuels policy”

    .

  41. Gary Hladik says:

    Joe Guerk says (July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm): “No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever the latest tear-jerking famine story is.”

    Fair enough. Do you care about your wallet?

  42. Jay Davis says:

    Another reason I say the CAGW hoaxsters are committing crimes against humanity. Al Gore, M. Mann and all the others have a lot to answer for.

  43. Smokey says:

    Carl Brannen,

    Your arguments seem dubious to me. They excuse rent-seeking behavior and government intervention in the markets. Do you have some sort of vested interest in ethanol?

  44. Ray says:

    Viv Forbes says:
    July 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    I don’t care who makes ethanol from what, as long as it does not rely on legislated markets, subsidies, price controls, tax breaks or deceptive or coercive marketing. Get government out of the equation and then we will see what works.

    Viv Forbes
    —————————–
    This is exactly what they also do for the petroleum industry. If they also did what you wish for around the petroleum market you would see the prices at pumps sky-rocket.

    I see lots of people here that don’t quite understand the whole industry and even less on what is going on biofuel R&D… there is more than ethanol. Some of us don’t even need subsidies to make profitable biofuel.

  45. _Jim says:

    CodeTech says July 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    On the subject of rants, my 1987 Daytona Shelby Z was a piece of cake to modify. I completely rewrote the engine controller with more accurate fuel calculations than the factory was able to do, and had it to the point where highway mileage was in the 40-45 MPG range.

    Simple ‘mileage’ is not the only goal of the engine controller (and let’s not forget the catalytic converter if so factory-equipped), but rather the goal is to meet the requirements of reducing emissions across the board including (but not limited to) CO, NOx etc … reducing one component may result in an increase in another (such as peak combustion temperatures contribute to NOx emissions but result in better incremental mileage performance).

    Unless you observed tailpipe emissions for ALL products, you could have been doing more harm than good overall taking into consideration tailpipe emissions …

    .

  46. TomH says:

    Carl says:
    “If ethanol were not present in your modern gasoline your modern gasoline would not work in your modern car.”

    Sorry….that’s as wrong as you can possibly be.

  47. PaulH says:

    Ethanol = “Food for clunkers”

  48. A. Scott says:

    I would also add to the above – the US Corn crop fulfilled ALL U.S. animal feed demand as well. Including providing Distillers Dried Grain Solids which replace more than 1/3 of the corn used for ethanol with a higher quality animal feed.

    The corn used for ethanol is generally not corn used for food but rather corn used for feed – a good share as noted above which is returned as high quality DDGS animal feed. Regardless, increases in the cost of corn have a nominal effect of prices of food – a few cents on a box of Corn Flakes for example.

    Corn used for ethanol has a net positive energy balance – returning, at the low end, appx 1.6 units of energy for every 1 unit expended to produce.

    Ethanol currently replaces appx 10% of the US domestic fuel needs – extending the supply of fossil fuels and reducing import demands.

    The ethanol subsidy was ended now some time ago.

    The “growers” subsidies, to the extent they even still exist, are paid to grow CORN – regardless of its use. These subsidies would be the same if the corn was being used for food.

    Ethanol has clearly been proven overall to reduce emissions and greenhouse gases,

    Corn used for ethanol does not require any more land, fuel, water, fertilizers etc than corn grown for food or feed.

    If there was a demand for more corn, more corn would be planted. And if there was a true worldwide food shortage then certainly, to the extent it would provide any benefit, corn would be diverted from ethanol production.

    The original poster is simply and completely clueless about the real facts regarding ethanol. The “Letter to the Editor” was nothing more than a thinly veiled activist attack based on a clear lack of knowledge on the subject. It was no better than the global warming proponents similarly ill informed and inaccurate screeds.

  49. eyesonu says:

    Carl Brannen says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    (4) In general, what farmers and distillers do with their time is not the business of the US government or the people reading this thread. This is a free country and we are, individually, free to pursue our own goals. The expectation is that the free enterprise system will intelligently distribute efforts in such a way as to satisfy the needs of individuals. This is what is happening, leave it alone it will do fine without your ignorant “help”. This is not a Communist country where the government decides how many light bulbs and what wattages are to be produced. Production depends on prices and the price of ethanol is high enough that swapping corn for ethanol plus distillers grains is a attractive.

    ====================

    Then being a supporter of a “free country” you would certainly support the elimination of the ethanol mandate, yes? The government does tell us what kind of light bulbs to and wattage to use as well as mandate for ethanol in gas. Communist?

    Reading your post/comment again I have to ask, Did you forget “sarc” at the end?

  50. _Jim says:

    Ric Werme says July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I haven’t checked the web, but there really ought to be some simple ways of checking or removing ethanol. The local outdoor equipment folks would love to have non-ethanol fuel,

    You can bet your bippy that numerous fire departments (and others who must rely on their small engines!) have started to fuel their small 2-cycle engines with alcohol-free gasoline products as offered by these folks: http://www.seffuels.com/

    and as reviewed by: J and J Small Engine Blog

    Outdoor power-equipment owners who maintain their gear aren’t happy about ethanol. When ethanol is added to gas, as it is almost everywhere, it can result in the stiffening of rubber and plastic parts and the crusting up of carburetor parts that are supposed to move freely.

    Fortunately, there are a number of ethanol free products on the market that address this issue.

    .

  51. Martin457 says:

    Being here in dried up Nebraska, I’m feeling a coin toss is needed when it comes to so-called Bio-fuels. Much of the waste ends up feeding livestock that also feeds us. If we can get the good stuff out of that grain and such first, ok. Not like the prime stuff gets used for making ethanol and pre-cooking it would seem to me, better for the livestock.

    Not understanding the wheat thing. Most of it gets harvested before it gets hot outside anyway. (June)

    Seed oil being converted to bio-diesel should actually be a good way to keep it from ending up in a landfill. Cottonseed oil doesn’t take food out of peoples mouths and yes, hemp will grow anywhere. Hempoil burns super hot.

    Ethanol sucks in 2 cycle motors. They just won’t warm up. Seems to shorten the life of these motors also.
    I don’t mind people trying things if they work. Some may need some assistance to make it work right and should give up when it doesn’t but, there is a baby in that water. Don’t throw it all out.

    (And for a giggle) When I meet a vegetarian I say “my food poops on your food”.

  52. _Jim says:

    Gail Combs says July 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    You are correct about hemp being a VERY useful plant that should be legalized.

    Overblown; an extensive review of the literature a few years ago on the hemp plant/hemp material substitutes showed no such validity to miracle claims (e.g. hardiness, good growth in less than ideal circumstances etc.) … rather, this would seem to be a myth that just will not ‘go away’ (meanwhile, crops, plants, materials et al with MUCH more suitable to purpose have been discovered, cultivated and developed over the years) …

    .

  53. Jarrett Jones says:

    Al Gore on ethanol:

    “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.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703572404575634753486416076.html

  54. _Jim says:

    R. Shearer says July 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    The problem of starvation is not because of lack of food (at least at the moment globally) but one rather of wealth and distribution. …

    Ouch!

    Did you really say that, and do you mean it?

    Wouldn’t you rather address this from the long-term perspective of property rights/property ownership and ‘freedom’ or democracy in the lands where ‘starvation’ is the problem rather than what was first proposed in your post?

    (You do realize that most of the ‘wealth’ an individual may have aside from house and car may well be in the form of stocks and bonds .. and further up the scale that ‘wealth’ represents the brick and mortar of a company which employs people for the purpose of some activity that supplies a demand and for which a profit allows continued existence of that enterprise? Start ‘redistributing’ that brick and mortar ‘wealth’ and you will no longer have a business from which ‘wealth’ may be obtained on a continuing basis … )

    .

  55. Marian says:

    “Nothing illustrates the anti-human ethos of the Greens better than their support for “biofuels”.

    Greens supporting biofuels to save the World from ‘evil’ fossil fuel and CO2 emissions. Is the same as campaigning for ‘Green” Mercury CFLs. While protesting about mercury contamination.

    There’s been reports including an EU one which finds biofuels produce about the same or infact produce more CO2 emissions than fossil fuel. Soyabean oil was 4x higher with CO2 emissions.

    So greens fail with their Gaia saving fantasyworld again.

  56. Dude, but like, did you like know that a single pound of all natural hemp can feed a family of four for 1000 years, and produce enough organic hemp oil to power their 1968 VW type 2 for over a million miles? It’s true, I read it on an internet!

  57. Guy says:

    *Sigh* I wish the anti-biofuel brigade would educate themselves…

    FACT: The largest crop grown in the United States is… wait for it… TURF! That’s right, lawn. Pristine grass fields designed in the shape of dog legs for your golf courses, rectangles for your football fields, squares for your kids’ schools and patches for your backyard kingdom. Turf is the most managed, most watered, most polluted, most energy intensive and not to mention, most useless “crop” in the universe.

    FACT: Existing corn ethanol processes maintain <70% of the protein content from the corn feedstock which is carried through as wet or dry distillage. The food value of the crop is not lost. As such, the whole, ‘food vs. fuel paradigm’ was a complete hoax – propagated by vested interests.

    FACT: American GMO yellow dent corn does not feed people. American GMO yellow dent corn destined for export –also- does not feed people. This so-called ‘corn’, is purchased by global conglomerates for factory farms and the production of other products e.g. HFCS. Obviously we need more processed food, more pink slime, more Coca-Cola, more diabetes, obesity and heart disease on planet right?

    FACT: US crops like corn, sugar, cotton et cetera, are grossly subsidised at the expense of the rest of the developing world. Go read up on how and why Cuba’s sugar industry was destroyed. Or why Mexican farmers have had to give up their livelihood – a livelihood that persisted for generations in the birthplace of corn.

    FACT: People on this planet aren’t starving because there isn’t enough food. They’re starving because the distribution system is corrupt and because capitalism only works when somebody, somewhere, is being exploited. Do yourself a favor and watch Darwin’s Nightmare. I promise, henceforth, you will never look at a starving child in the same light again.

    Club of Rome indeed.

  58. Smokey says:

    Guy shows that even lunatics are welcome to post here.

  59. philincalifornia says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm
    Carl Brannen,

    Your arguments seem dubious to me.
    —————————-

    He’s pretty well spot on Smokey. Unfortunately, I’m too busy to collate a bunch of links for you (I know you like that). I would suggest that you get a free subscription to Biofuels Digest and you will see the flip side of the coin – over time. You will be able to cut through the partisan sh!t and get to the truth.

    There is no MTBE in the US anymore, so as CB points out, ethanol is indispensable.

    I’m in a business that will compete with the ethanol industry for feedstocks so, as a competitor, I have to know the space, but I don’t have a vested interest in saying this.

    Also, there are some really major developments in biofuels and specialty chemicals going on right now in the US. Sure, there are freeloaders, but there will be winners too.

    Maybe the people whining about not getting food from the US because of this should get off their ar$e$ and vote for people who are competent enough to organize food production programs in their own countries.

    Also, interestingly, the more green and holier than thou Green Democratic Fake Socialist Republic of Europe is actually too useless to make its own ethanol, and now has ETBE (the ethyl version of MTBE) in most of its gasoline/petrol. So they whinge and whine about the environment and CO2 while simultaneously shoving metric tons of this major pollutant into the environment.

  60. ntesdorf says:

    An excellent posting focusing on a large and urgent humanitarian problem. It has sparked off some very good responses and quite a few lunatic responses from the usual suspects.

  61. A. Scott says:

    Despite the recent headlines about the corn shortage, when one actually reads the USDA Corn crop report – you find out the truth is something less dire.

    The truth is the early spring, adequate moisture – very favorable conditions, along with the 95.9 million acres planted (vs 91.9 and 88.2 for 2011 and 2010) – had led them to increase the projected yield from the 152.8 and 147.9 bushels/ac of 2010 and 2011, to 166 bu/ac in their Jun 2012 projection.

    The lack of moisture in some parts of country thru July caused them to reduce that optimistic yield forecast to a more realistic 146 bushels/ac in their July report. The same report however noted that planted acres were actually larger yet – 96.4 million acres.

    This week has seen rain across the Upper Midwest, and there is an expected break in the stationary high allowing cooler Canadian air in to the area. Moisture primarily, and more seasonal temps, will likely see the recent USDA downgrade overly strong.

    Even with the current USDA estimate the corn crop is projected to be 12,720 million bushels, almost exactly the same as 2011 and 2010’s 12,358 and 12,447 respectively.

    Corn used for ethanol was 5,021 mill/bu in 2010, 5,050 in 2011, and was originally projected at 5,450 for 2012. Current projection is 4,900 million bushels – 150 million bushels less than last year.

    Simply put, as of today, even with the significant downgrade by the USDA – the US Corn crop will be larger than 2011 by nearly 400 million bushels.

    How about that terrible old price increase? The USDA crop report shows avg Farm Price of $5.10 per bushel in 2010 and $6.10 to $6.30 per bushel for 2011. They projected a price of $4.20 to $5.00 for 2012, but with the downgrade expected the price to be $5.40 to $6.40.

    In other words – even with the reduced production the price spike being touted in the press – is simply a reversion to the avg prices from LAST YEAR.

    And the reality is with this weeks rain and cooler temps projected across much of the upper Midwest corn belt, those yields and acres harvested will very likely increase – increasing the yield and overall production.

    These facts haven’t deterred the fear mongers – there are press reports like this one – about food shortages, and massive price increases, and calls for ending the ethanol mandate.

    These practices are EXACTLY like the AGW alarmists using recent heat, drought, tornado’s and the like to whip up their scare-mongering. And the claims made by each are equally unsupported by the real facts.

  62. pat says:

    Notice how a lawn mower that used to last 15 years now lasts 2? Ethanol. And EPA mandated nonadjustable carburetors. Plus they suck fuel at up to 3 times the rate of old.

  63. Smokey says:

    Guy says:

    “FACT: The largest crop grown in the United States is… wait for it… TURF! That’s right, lawn. Pristine grass fields designed in the shape of dog legs for your golf courses, rectangles for your football fields, squares for your kids’ schools and patches for your backyard kingdom. Turf is the most managed, most watered, most polluted, most energy intensive and not to mention, most useless “crop” in the universe”

    Got the U.S. farm acreage planted in turf, vs corn, or wheat, for example?

  64. G. Karst says:

    Nothing illustrates the anti-human ethos of the Greens better than their support for “biofuels”.

    I was recently challenged on my similarily worded statement. Some now claim the bio-fuel wasn’t a “green” program but initiated capitalistic pigs and greedy farmers. While I disagreed, I realized that I didn’t have the means to prove otherwise.

    Has anyone else encountered this…? and where is a good rebuttal? GK

  65. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    ==================

    You should be getting pretty good at trying to defend the ethanol lobby. In the past thread on ethanol at WUWT you were refuted quite decisively. While you obviously have a vested interest in ethanol in some manner and are well versed with launching a defense for it, the masses are getting wise just as happened with the CAGW lobby. You should call in the rest of the ethanol team now to stem the discussion. It’s much worse than you thought.

  66. A. Scott says:

    @_Jim …

    I see you’re back at it with the same unsubstantiated claims. A read of your “Biofuels Boost Food Prices” link show exactly …. ZERO … evidence to support this claim. Rather it’s statements regarding this are:

    “Experts differ on how much biofuels use is raising crop and food prices, although even the ethanol industry acknowledges it is having at least some impact. Gawain Kripke, director of policy and research for Oxfam America, a nongovernmental anti-poverty organization, says some of the farm products now going into biofuels would otherwise be sold in the food chain.

    But the price-distorting effect of biofuels goes beyond using a traditional food crop for fuel, he contends. “Agricultural land is fungible. If you’re not using the land to produce one thing, you can use it to produce another thing,” says Kripke. “We’re pretty sure that biofuels production is having a significant impact on food prices.”

    Your “proof” consists of “experts differ” and “We’re pretty sure” … not a single shred of fact provided. And a “Suzanne Goldberg” Guardian story listed in footnotes as a sore.

    Sorry … simply laughable.

  67. _Jim says:

    Ray says July 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    This is exactly what they also do for the petroleum industry.

    Attempt at moral equivalency by simple assertion (as if we have never SEEN this ploy before) AND this has been debunked …

    As Viv says:
    “I don’t care who makes ethanol from what, as long as it does not rely on
    (1) legislated markets,
    (2) subsidies,
    (3) price controls,
    (4) tax breaks or
    (5) deceptive or coercive marketing. ”

    But Ray says ALL this apply to the petroleum industry as well, and it does not …

    What do you need Ray, cites of every P.L. (Public Law) and ‘statute’ passed by the US congress in order to ‘believe’ differently that ethanol IS mandated for use, IS subsidized and the producers ARE given specific tax breaks in their business of ethanol production?

    .

  68. A. Scott says:

    Smokey – wasn’t too hard – type turf grass crop in Google – the first link I get is a US News and World Report story that says exactly that – Turfgrass is America’s biggest crop.

    http://www.usnews.com/usnews/culture/articles/050516/16lawn.htm

    The study cited notes over 40 million acres, and the US Turgrass people say appx 46.5 million – both appear to be 2004/2005 numbers. The 2005 corn crop was over 81 million acres so it clearly is not the largest crop – but it is one of the largest.

    I think the characterization regarding the turf crop is likely highly accurate. While agriculture is still by far the top of the list in urban areas the effects of watering, fertilizing and maintaining all those lawns are one of if not the biggest issue for wetlands, ponds, lakes, rivers and the like.

  69. _Jim says:

    pat says July 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Notice how a lawn mower that used to last 15 years now lasts 2? …

    I went electric back a few years now, pat; I don’t miss the hard-starting messing with gasoline one bit, even though the cord is a PIA but one learns techniques to deal with that (think: ‘rope tricks’ et al) …

    .

  70. James Sexton says:

    Geewhiz is this argument going on, still? Ethanol from corn is a despicably stupid idea. Don’t play with your food! There must be 100 different ways from Sunday to make ethanol. We don’t have to use our food, and feed. We had this conversation some time ago. If anyone cares to look I posted some links. The facts are ethanol shot the price of corn through the roof. Yes, there are now processes which allow much of the protein to be utilized, but only in a limited manner. It depends on the digestive processes of the animal. The energy used to get the energy gained is silly stupid, but I don’t have the number handy.

    It isn’t so much the corn alone, it is the ripple effects it has had. With the price up, farmers don’t plant other crops….. such as wheat. The cost of cattle feed goes up, along with just about any other farm animal’s feed. So, the cost didn’t rise on just one crop, it did just about across the board.

    Entire new infrastructures had to be built….. all of that money, time and material….. to do what, exactly? Oh, well there was the added “benefit” of having to retool our engines. God knows the American people needed that! And timely it was! Is there anything else the ethanol people want to drive the cost up on? Or are you going to wait for the double dip? Or maybe just help cause another one? Jack wagons.

    In the end, this is an industry that simply saps capital out of the pockets of the populous. It produces no extra value to anything. It has failed to decouple our fuel prices from oil. And only decreases the world’s food supply.

  71. johnmcguire says:

    Smokey at 4:34 , Smartly done! :)

  72. A. Scott says:

    @pat: “Notice how a lawn mower that used to last 15 years now lasts 2? Ethanol.”

    Complete rubbish. Small engines built recently generally work fine on ethanol. OLDER products have SOME issues.

    And the reason your lawnmower today last 2 years not 15 is because you buy absolute crap. We simply refuse to pay for quality any longer – which means even buying a higher end brand means getting a cheap quality product compared to 15 years ago.

    I have a 15 year old Toro with a Briggs & Stratton motor.. I have not run anything BUT E10 in it for YEARS and have NEVER had a single problem.

  73. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    ================

    Would like to tell us what the price of corn was prior to the government ethanol mandate? IIRC last years price was a record by about 600% above the avg prior to government mandates for ethanol.

    Would you like to tell us how much of a reduction in planted acres of soybeans, oats, and other grains were reduced as a result of the government ethanol mandate?

    Would you like to tell us how much the price of the grains increased with the land being converted to corn production?

    Would you be more truthful with your figures on this thread than the last?

    Would you tell us why you have such a dedicated interest in defending the corn lobby?

  74. _Jim says:

    A. Scott says July 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I would also add to the above – the US Corn crop …

    The corn used for ethanol is generally not corn used for food but …

    Corn used for ethanol has a net positive energy balance …

    Were I a supporter advocating for the continued use of crop-land and corm for fuel purposes I could not have said it better … as it is, your prose is not so much agit-prop as it is the converse, “apathy-prop” … as in: “all is well, move along now, nothing to see here” … “corn used for ethanol is generally not corn used for food” … and so on.

    But, much of what you assert stands in direct contradiction to published studies and white-papers looking at the overall energy budget, never the mind the other ‘costs’ e.g. to the land or the distortion of the markets overall due to mandates, paid-out subsidies sourced directly from the public till and the like …

    “Follow the Money” … see where it leads, where and by whom was it appropriated and who it benefits; Solyndra wasn’t the first “Crony Capitalism” green-based project that was paid for off the backs of the taxpayer …

    .

  75. A. Scott says:

    pat says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:55 pm
    Notice how a lawn mower that used to last 15 years now lasts 2? Ethanol. And EPA mandated nonadjustable carburetors. Plus they suck fuel at up to 3 times the rate of old.

    Even as far back as 1996 ‘Downstream Alternatives’ compiled a list of small engine manufacturers position on ethanol use:

    http://www.sentex.net/~crfa/smallengines.html

    20 of 27 power equipment manufactures said YES – the remaining 7 did not reference in their manuals.

    20 of 20 motorcycle, recreational and boat manufacturers said YES.

    Clearly the do NOT use “3 times” the fuel – the energy content of E10 is only a small amount less than straight gas.

  76. A. Scott says:

    _Jim says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    A. Scott says July 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm: I would also add to the above – the US Corn crop … The corn used for ethanol is generally not corn used for food but … Corn used for ethanol has a net positive energy balance …

    Were I a supporter advocating for the continued use of crop-land and corm for fuel purposes I could not have said it better … as it is, your prose is not so much agit-prop as it is the converse, “apathy-prop” … as in: “all is well, move along now, nothing to see here” … “corn used for ethanol is generally not corn used for food” … and so on.

    But, much of what you assert stands in direct contradiction to published studies and white-papers looking at the overall energy budget, never the mind the other ‘costs’ e.g. to the land or the distortion of the markets overall due to mandates, paid-out subsidies sourced directly from the public till and the like …,

    I quoted facts – which I have extensively documented here many times. They are easily found and confirmed even the simplest effort. You and those similar rarely provide a single shred of factual support – offering partisan puffery which when read, as I noted above, rarely say what they or you claim they do.

    You made a number of claims. That there are “published studies” and “white papers” that contradict my claims re: energy budget, “other costs to the land”, distortion of markets due to mandates, subsidies sourced from public, and “the like.”

    Please post these published reports and white papers you claim refute the claim. Please prove YOUR claims.

  77. philincalifornia says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm
    Got the U.S. farm acreage planted in turf, vs corn, or wheat, for example?
    ————————-
    I can help partially here. Go to slide 7.

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Ceres-ABM.pdf

    The question remaining is what is the ratio of acreage of US lawns, sportsfields, etc. to golf courses ??

    This presentation, by the way, is an excellent introduction to the concept of US sugar reserves versus oil reserves in the Middle East.

  78. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm
    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    ================

    Would like to tell us what the price of corn was prior to the government ethanol mandate? IIRC last years price was a record by about 600% above the avg prior to government mandates for ethanol.

    Would you like to tell us how much of a reduction in planted acres of soybeans, oats, and other grains were reduced as a result of the government ethanol mandate?

    Would you like to tell us how much the price of the grains increased with the land being converted to corn production?

    Would you be more truthful with your figures on this thread than the last?

    Would you tell us why you have such a dedicated interest in defending the corn lobby?

    Answered each of these questions before – and you didn’t come out very well in the discussion. Keep in mind the advise I tried to offer you the last time – on reading and understanding crop reports and the like.

    This time its YOUR turn. You just made a raft of claims. Prove them.

    If you can.

  79. John Morgensen says:

    Ric Werme says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    I haven’t checked the web, but there really ought to be some simple ways of checking or removing ethanol. The local outdoor equipment folks would love to have non-ethanol fuel…

    There is a simple test for alcohol in gasoline that is based on water absorption:

    http://www.generalaviationnews.com/2011/04/19/testing-for-ethanol/

    There is a local convenience store that sells alcohol/ethanol free gas that I use in an airplane. My understanding is that the ethanol is mixed at the distribution center so it is possible to get a truck load of real gas. As someone posted earlier, marinas and airports are good places to look for real gas and businesses that listen to customer demand.

  80. Gunga Din says:

    Stark Dickflüssig says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:25 pm
    Dude, but like, did you like know that a single pound of all natural hemp can feed a family of four for 1000 years, and produce enough organic hemp oil to power their 1968 VW type 2 for over a million miles? It’s true, I read it on an internet!
    ================================================================
    And if the fan belt brakes they can use a rubber band!
    (Credit to Bill Cosby.)

  81. philincalifornia says:

    I couldn’t resist.

    Total turf in the USA 46 million acres vs. 35 million acres for corn ethanol.

    http://www.thelawninstitute.org/faqs/?c=183313

    You fricking golfers, soccer players and lawn lovers. Cut it out immediately would ya. Don’t you know you’re killing children in third world countries with your vile habits ??

  82. Gail Combs says:

    A. Scott says: @ July 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm
    .

    ….Almost every claim in the orig post is either wildly inaccurate or an outright lie. This is nothing more than a completely unsubstantiated and undocumented “drive by”….
    ___________________________
    I disagree. This is the type of statement that needs to be examined by the “Crowd Sourcing” here at WUWT.

    Unfortunately so far all I have seen is a bunch of people who really do not have an in-depth knowledge of this complicated subject.

    After WWII corporations in the form of the Committee for Economic Development decided there was a “Farm Problem” They wanted a larger labor force for their factories. The larger the work force the more competition and the cheaper the wage.

    … CED recommended that farming “resources” — that is, farmers — be reduced. In its 1945 report “Agriculture in an Expanding Economy,” CED complained that “the excess of human resources engaged in agriculture is probably the most important single factor in the “farm problem'” and describes how agricultural production can be better organized to fit to business needs…. “The essential fact to be faced, argues CED, is that with present high levels farm productivity, more labor is involved in agriculture production that the market demands — in short, there are too may farmers. To solve that problem, CED offers a program with three main prongs.”

    Some of the report’s authors would go on to work in government to implement CED’s policy recommendations. Over the next five years, the political and economic establishment ensured the reduction of “excess human resources engaged in agriculture” by two million, or by 1/3 of their previous number….

    Their plan was so effective and so faithfully executed by its operatives in the US government that by 1974 the CED couldn’t help but congratulate itself in another agricultural report called “A New US Farm Policy for Changing World Food Needs” for the efficiency of the tactics they employed to drive farmers from their land….
    http://www.opednews.com/articles/2/History-HACCP-and-the-Foo-by-Nicole-Johnson-090906-229.html

    (I highly recommend reading the whole article)

    In 1995 the “plan” was officially exported to other countries via the World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture and the 1996 farm bill both written by VP of Cargill Dan Amstutz. American farmers were encouraged to plant as much acreage as they could to “compete” on the world market. This subsidized grain was bought at well below cost by the grain cartel and exported to third world countries. This bankrupting of native farmers was intentional.

    The Largest Wave of Suicides in History: The number of farmers who have committed suicide in India between 1997 and 2007 now stands at a staggering 182,936…

    President Clinton knew darn well the out come of the WTO when he encouraged Congress to ratify it.

    “We Made a Devil’s Bargain”: Fmr. President Clinton Apologizes for Trade Policies that Destroyed Haitian Rice Farming
    ….Last month he publicly apologized for forcing Haiti to drop tariffs on imported subsidized US rice during his time in office. The policy wiped out Haitian rice farming and seriously damaged Haiti’s ability to be self-sufficient. Well, Clinton apologized at a hearing last month before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    BILL CLINTON: Since 1981, the United States has followed a policy, until the last year or so when we started rethinking it, that we rich countries that produce a lot of food should sell it to poor countries and relieve them of the burden of producing their own food, so, thank goodness, they can leap directly into the industrial era. It has not worked. It may have been good for some of my farmers in Arkansas, but it has not worked. It was a mistake. It was a mistake that I was a party to. I am not pointing the finger at anybody. I did that. I have to live every day with the consequences of the lost capacity to produce a rice crop in Haiti to feed those people, because of what I did. Nobody else.

    Note this is the same thinking as the CED had about “freeing up” US labor after WWII.

    However it is not US farmers who reaped the benefits from the US policies but the international Ag Cartel who wrote the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the 1996 Farm Bill. The North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), even came up with the Dan Amstutz Award.

    Throughout his very successful career Dan Amstutz represented and championed ideas and goals of NAEGA membership. As we reflect on the life of our friend and associate this tribute is intended to provide an opportunity to express thoughts in a memorial to Dan’s contribution to our industry… http://www.naega.org/amstutz/index.shtml

    In the mean time the American farmer called Amstuz’ farm bill “Freedom to Fail.”… The new Farm Bill was not designed to meet the needs of farmers, but instead, to meet the needs of the Agricultural Establishment.

    Clinton’s NAFTA was just as devastating as WTO. According to a study by Jose Romero and Alicia Puyana carried out for the federal government of Mexico, between 1992 and 2002, the number of agricultural households fell an astounding 75% – from 2.3 million to 575, 000

    On December 8, 1993, a triumphant President Bill Clinton signed the North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA) bill into law. Reflecting popular sentiment, he praised this monumental economic treaty by stating, “I believe we have made a decision now that will permit us to create an economic order in the world that will promote more growth, more equality, better preservation of the environment, and a greater possibility of world peace.” …

    Regrettably, the majority of these promises never materialized. The limited benefits that have resulted from NAFTA have been overshadowed by its numerous failures, which have both negatively affected the United States and greatly harmed Mexico, especially in the agricultural sector….

    Perhaps the most devastating blow dealt by NAFTA to the Mexican economy was the near destruction of Mexico’s agricultural sector, in which 2 million farm workers lost their jobs and 8 million small-scale farmers were forced to sell their land at disastrously low prices, or desert it, due to sharply declining food prices.(13) Importantly, the U.S. government subsidizes many domestically produced agricultural products, allowing the products to be sold to Mexico at prices 30 percent below the cost of production….
    http://www.coha.org/the-failures-of-nafta/

    The newest installment on this decades long tale is the snapping up of good farm land world wide. As investorplace.com noted 3 Ways Investors Can Profit From High-Flying Farmland Prices. George Soros and Jim Rogers are buying farmland. Get the hint?

    Land barons holds 2.2 million U.S. acres
    Malone became the largest private landowner in the U.S., wresting the top spot on The Land Report 100 from his friend and longtime business partner, Ted Turner….

    US universities in Africa ‘land grab': Institutions including Harvard and Vanderbilt reportedly use hedge funds to buy land in deals that may force farmers out…

    Consolidation of farming into industrial farms is the next “bubble” for investors, may God help us all because they could care less if babies starve to death.

    “In summary, we have record low grain inventories globally as we move into a new crop year. We have demand growing strongly. Which means that going forward even small crop failures are going to drive grain prices to record levels. As an investor, we continue to find these long term trends…very attractive.” Food shortfalls predicted: 2008 http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/dancy/2008/0104.html

    July 22, 2008 letter to President Bush

    “Recently there have been increased calls for the development of a U.S. or international grain reserve to provide priority access to food supplies for Humanitarian needs. The National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) strongly advise against this concept..Stock reserves have a documented depressing effect on prices… and resulted in less aggressive market bidding for the grains.”…..
    http://www.naega.org/images/pdf/grain_reserves_for_food_aid.pdf

    These are not the people I want in control of my food supply.

  83. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Even as far back as 1996 ‘Downstream Alternatives’ compiled a list of small engine manufacturers position on ethanol use:

    http://www.sentex.net/~crfa/smallengines.html

    20 of 27 power equipment manufactures said YES – the remaining 7 did not reference in their manuals.

    20 of 20 motorcycle, recreational and boat manufacturers said YES.

    Clearly the do NOT use “3 times” the fuel – the energy content of E10 is only a small amount less than straight gas.

    ====================

    Imagine trying to sell a product in the US where the government has mandated that gas contain ethanol without accepting it. Offer warranty and hope it lasts until the consumer is responsible.

    Arm twisting will get the required answer.

  84. u.k.(us) says:

    John Morgensen says:

    July 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    There is a local convenience store that sells alcohol/ethanol free gas that I use in an airplane. My understanding is that the ethanol is mixed at the distribution center so it is possible to get a truck load of real gas. As someone posted earlier, marinas and airports are good places to look for real gas and businesses that listen to customer demand.
    =================
    The fuel sold at airports, is what it says it is by federal law, not to mention the pilots that can feel the octane contained and would surely shut down a watered down supply.

  85. Smokey says:

    philincalifornia says:
    July 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    “Total turf in the USA 46 million acres vs. 35 million acres for corn ethanol.”

    And…

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    “Turfgrass is America’s biggest crop.”

    Then, A. Scott says in the same comment:

    “The 2005 corn crop was over 81 million acres so it clearly is not the largest crop…”

    And Guy said turf was the “largest” crop”: “FACT: The largest crop grown in the United States is… wait for it… TURF! That’s right, lawn.”

    Turf is either the largest U.S. crop, or it isn’t. There seems to be a lot of dispute over what should be a simple fact.

  86. _Jim says:

    A. Scott says July 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    I quoted facts – which I have extensively documented here many times.

    Sure you have; and I have (and have seen) facts which place your ‘facts’ into the category of ‘in dispute’ if not outright falsified.

    When you cite studies which do not include critical factors, studies which minimize other factors and completely ignore additional factors it’s easy to prove any darn thing which you have set as a predetermined goal, or subscribe-to like an agenda (eco-greenie or ‘Peak Oiler’) whether you are ‘paid’ disinformationalist (or not) or simply appearing on websites as a ‘debate subject specialist’ (doubtful).

    SO SORRY, we will have to agree to disagree and let the readers draw their own conclusions … I still recommend “Follow the Money”, and for me this is indicating ‘crony capitalism’ (scam) as it relates to ethanol and food use as a fuel; too many hangers-on that stand to make money given the billions of dollars ‘in play’ to take simply take anybody’s ‘word’ for it (like yours for instance) on this subject.

    .

  87. Alan Watt, CD (Certified Denialist), Level 7 says:

    I remember years ago I heard an NPR program on ethanol, and how Brazil was more advanced than the US because they produced some vehicles which burned 100% ethanol. The program went on to mention each 100% ethanol-fuled car consumed the same amount of grain as it would take to feed 50 people. I have no idea how accurate that ratio is but it caused me to do a quick back of the envelope caluclation. At the time US population was about 280 million and I just “guessed” that we had 100 million cars on the road. If all those cars burn just 10% ethanol, that’s the same as 10 million cars burning 100%, which is the equivalant of feeding 500 million people on grain. In other words, the effect would be like almost tripling our population.

    It turns out I was way off on the number of vehicles in the US; according to US Bureau of Transportation statistics in 2009 there were 254,212,610 register passenger vehicles. Even assuming a significant percentage of them are recreational vehicles not used every day, we’re still looking at probably 200 million daily use cars, each one burning enough corn at 10% ethanol to feed 5 people.

    The real problem with ethanol and other biofuel programs is while the crop used to make the fuel is “renewable”, the land it requires to grow it is a fixed resource. Land used to feed cars is not available to feed people and animals, or set aside as parks or other greenspace. If the Congress passed an immediate 100% ethanol fuel mandate, it would require bringing millions of acres of new farmland into use, such as all that land which used to be farms and has been allowed to go back to forests, or turned into malls and housing developments.

    The cost (capital and environmental) of developing all that extra farmland is never considered by the biofuel advocates.

  88. William Astley says:

    40% of the American corn crop is now converted to ethanol. If one includes all of the energy inputs to grow and harvest the corn, transport the corn, triple distill the ethanol, and so there is a net loss of energy and increase in CO2 to convert corn to ethanol. The calculation is made positive by including the energy content of the stock which is fed to animals however that is irrelevant as the question is does producing corn and converting it to ethanol reduce carbon dioxide emissions. It does not.

    As there is limited agricultural land on the planet and the US and other Western countries (EU) have mandated 20% of transportation fuel from biofuel, virgin forests are being cut down to grow food to convert to biofuel. There has been an increase in malnutrition as a result in the loss of food for human consumption.

    http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/slyutse/as_i_discussed_here_last.html
    EPA’s RFS accounting shows corn ethanol today is worse than gasoline
    http://plevin.berkeley.edu/docs/Plevin-Comments-on-final-RFS2-v7.pdf

    http://www.senseandsustainability.net/2012/01/26/scrapping-corn-ethanol-subsidies-for-a-smarter-biofuels-policy/

    “From its first appearance in 1978 to this past December 31st, the policy provided over $20 billion in subsidies to American ethanol producers, costing the U.S. taxpayer almost $6 billion in 2011 alone. Enacted in the spirit of “energy independence,” ethanol subsidies became a redoubt for the agricultural lobby and a lighting rod for criticism from environmentalists and sustainability advocates”

    “To add to the environmental cost of U.S. corn ethanol is the potential of its expanded production to raise global food prices, potentially increasing the likelihood of social unrest and instability worldwide. Some 40 percent of the American corn crop is now distilled into fuel, and The Economist has estimated that if that amount of corn were used as food instead, global food supplies of corn would grow by 14 percent. Both the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization have noted the positive link between U.S. corn ethanol production and rising corn prices. Because of America’s position as the leading corn producer and the status of Chicago-traded corn prices as a benchmark for global ones, the U.S. can have an outsize impact on worldwide food prices. Indeed, corn prices have more than tripled in the last ten years, in no small part due to the ethanol boom.”

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725975,00.html

    “The Clean Energy Scam
    The U.S. quintupled its production of ethanol–ethyl alcohol, a fuel distilled from plant matter–in the past decade, and Washington has just mandated another fivefold increase in renewable fuels over the next decade. Europe has similarly aggressive biofuel mandates and subsidies, and Brazil’s filling stations no longer even offer plain gasoline. Worldwide investment in biofuels rose from $5 billion in 1995 to $38 billion in 2005 and is expected to top $100 billion by 2010, thanks to investors like Richard Branson and George Soros, GE and BP, Ford and Shell, Cargill and the Carlyle Group.”

    “But several new studies show the biofuel boom is doing exactly the opposite of what its proponents intended: it’s dramatically accelerating global warming, imperiling the planet in the name of saving it. Corn ethanol, always environmentally suspect, turns out to be environmentally disastrous. Even cellulosic ethanol made from switchgrass, which has been promoted by eco-activists and eco-investors as well as by President Bush as the fuel of the f
    Meanwhile, by diverting grain and oilseed crops from dinner plates to fuel tanks, biofuels are jacking up world food prices and endangering the hungry. The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. The U.N.’s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies, calling the rising costs for food nothing less than a global emergency. Soaring corn prices have sparked tortilla riots in Mexico City, and skyrocketing flour prices have destabilized Pakistan, which wasn’t exactly tranquil when flour was affordable.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2008-04-14/biofuel-production-a-crime-against-humanity/2403402

  89. Gail Combs says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Gail … I absolutely agree that small farmers get the shaft. The middleman and manufacturers make majority of profit with a fraction of the risks….

    Were I a smaller farmer I would be a proponent of the ADM’s – a rising tide raises all ships. They certainly have many negatives but at end of the day higher prices and improved yields and efficiency are good for the farmers aren’t they?
    ________________________
    No, farmers are not better off when you are dealing with monospony, a situation where several producers compete for the business of only one buyer.

    ADM has already been busted for price fixing. Purdue University: ADM was at the center of at least three international price-fixing conspiracies…

    July 1999 More price fixing scandals to come, expert says

    WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating 30 price-fixing cases, and many of these involve food additives, feed supplements and vitamins, says a Purdue University professor.

    John Connor, professor of agricultural economics and an expert on price-fixing cartels, says news about agribusiness price-fixing scandals will become more common in coming months. “We’ve entered an era when transportation and communication appear to facilitate global price fixing,”

  90. _Jim says:

    philincalifornia says July 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Total turf in the USA 46 million acres vs. 35 million acres for corn ethanol.

    http://www.thelawninstitute.org/faqs/?c=183313

    You fricking golfers, soccer players and lawn lovers …

    Apparently you are unaware of two important things (due possibly to the inexperience of youth, perhaps mental faculty deterioration with age, or at the very least no familiarity as it relates to living among a population in civil society or perhaps for some other unknown reason) for which ‘lawns’ provide a solution :

    (A) A soil-erosion mitigation technique
    (B) Code requirements (‘Code’ as in building codes and requirements for exterior ‘ground cover’)

    For (A) above, there are other solutions but none so ubiquitous or universal or which serves the purpose of providing an all-purpose ground covering with the additional purpose of proving a human-being ‘friendly’ interface surface which serves not only for picnics but for safe ‘play’ with a one year old as well …

    For (B) above, ground cover as mandated by ‘code’ must adhere to certain requirements, such as mowed height (this helps with rodent and pest control; as well as reducing potential fire threats in dry weather). Texture and type cover, of course, are in individual choice, as long as allowed by code.

    .

  91. dalyplanet says:

    81 million acres of corn is accurate. This is a scientific analysis of corn ethanol mandated demand on price and reserves. Mandating corn ethanol standards benefits agribusiness at the expense of everyone else.

    “U.S. energy policy now mandates that about 15 percent of global corn production be converted into ethanol for fuel use. We use a structural VAR to estimate the dynamic effect on corn prices of the quadrupling of corn‐based ethanol production since 2005. Our model allows for ethanol production to affect corn prices not only by increasing current corn demand, but also by raising the demand for inventories. We estimate that corn prices were about 30 percent greater, on average, between 2006 and 2010 than they would have been if ethanol production had remained at 2005 levels.”

    “In 2011, 38 percent of U.S. corn was used to make ethanol for blending with gasoline, up from 14 percent in 2005. The federal government mandated this rapid growth through the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires a minimum quantity of ethanol content in gasoline. The RFS was introduced in the 2005 U.S. Energy Policy Act. In 2007, under the provisions of the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act, this standard almost doubled. Under the expanded RFS, corn ethanol now comprises 10 percent of finished motor gasoline in the U.S., up from 3 percent in 2005. In this article, we estimate that the 2007 expansion in the RFS caused a persistent 30 percent increase in the price of corn.”
    http://agecon.ucdavis.edu/people/faculty/aaron-smith/docs/Carter_Rausser_Smith_Ethanol_Paper_submit.pdf

    “Corn prices are naturally surging in response; current corn prices are 21% higher than they were a year ago. Because so much of the corn crop is devoted to meeting ethanol mandates, there is a potential supply conflict being set up between food producers and ethanol producers.

    This was always the risk in my mind; that a major drought could reduce the corn crop and result in surging fuel and food prices at the same time. This creates a situation that politicians who are not friendly to the ethanol industry will likely exploit. It won’t likely lead to an end to the mandates, but support for a 15% ethanol mandate (E15) — something the industry desperately wants — will likely erode in the face of the weak corn crop ”
    http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2012/07/13/poor-corn-crop-will-have-major-impact-on-ethanol-market/

    “In fact, using 33 percent of all US corn for ethanol production has increased the price of meat, milk, and eggs by 80 percent for the US consumer. As many farmers switched from raising wheat and other grains to raising corn, the price of bread increased by 100 to 200 percent. The most serious concerns, however, have been the grain shortages in other nations, especially developing nations. As grain becomes scare, the rates of starvation and malnutrition soar.”

  92. Smokey says:

    Jim,

    I’ll add to your critiques:

    A. Scott’s link says:

    All told, according to a report to be published later this year in the journal Environmental Management, some 40 million acres of America are covered in lawns, making turf grass our largest irrigated crop.

    See the conflation? “All told” does not mean that turf is our biggest crop. That total specifically includes all U.S. lawns, golf courses, parkland, etc. Those are not crops.

    And philincalifornia’s link states:

    Total acres of turf in the U.S. is estimated to be 46.5 million acres.

    Again, that is not the total U.S. “crop”. That refers to the total acres of all turf grass in the U.S., including home lawns, parks and golf courses [of which the U.S. has 1,000,000.]

    A. Scott stated: “Turfgrass is America’s biggest crop.” That is incorrect. It appears that the actual turf grass “crop” is fairly small compared with staple grain crops. Turf grass is far from being the largest crop. That is the only thing my original comment questioned.

  93. dalyplanet says:

    BTW the residual protein, oil, and fiber is included in other categories of corn use and is fully accounted for in official USDA figures.

  94. philincalifornia says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm
    —————————
    No, the total corn crop is just under 100 million acres. Corn ethanol accounts for around 40% of that, which is where my 35 million number came from. You can bet that Mr. Richard Hamilton, the CEO of Ceres has his numbers right. He’s been through some major league diligence recently.

    I think that Guy was being sarcastic when he called turf a crop. OK, he should not have called it a “crop”.

    Rather than getting bogged down in this drivel, why don’t you doubters read and understand the Hamilton presentation that I linked to, and see how it relates to the economy of the United States vis-a-vis who we pay the money to for the liquids we pump into our gas tanks.

    http://www.ascension-publishing.com/BIZ/Ceres-ABM.pdf

  95. dalyplanet says:

    5 to 7% ethanol as a fuel oxygenation additive is sustainable but the soon to be required 15% mandate will not be sustainable and will double from today the cost of meat dairy and eggs.

  96. dp says:

    Jo Nova is flogging this topic, too. http://joannenova.com.au/2012/07/sugar-cane-ethanol-biofuel-produces-10-times-the-pollution-of-gasoline-and-diesel/

    That is quite a statement she has quoted Indur Goklany as having said. I wouldn’t doubt the numbers. I know it is more than zero and that is too high.

    So my rapier wit and contribution to that thread was to introduce DeathTankers!! We had Death Trains, now we have DeathTankers hauling Ethanol from the plates of children to the SUV-driving Soccer Moms of Beverly Hills (sorry – a drama queen moment).

    This is quite a match up. On the left we have Hansen’s coal laden Death Trains. Farther to the left we have Ethanol filled Death Tankers out on the highways. First round goes to the Death Trains but the new comer on the block is closing fast. These killers are lean, adaptable, and can penetrate any city, town, or village.

    Oh! Food crops are failing! Too many acres of inedibles have been producing fuel rather than food. No contest, ladies and gents – the Ethanol Death Tankers are crushing the competition! Death Tankers take the title!

    Death Tankers – Coming to a fueling depot near you.

  97. Sam says:

    For people that argue ethanol has no impact on food prices, how do you explain the fact food prices increased. Obviously it isn’t a supply only problem (70 million Chinese a year moving out of poverty means they switch from rice to meat), but if the market works as efficiently as people assert, it would be able to deal with this fine.

    Guy
    “FACT: US crops like corn, sugar, cotton et cetera, are grossly subsidised at the expense of the rest of the developing world. Go read up on how and why Cuba’s sugar industry was destroyed. Or why Mexican farmers have had to give up their livelihood – a livelihood that persisted for generations in the birthplace of corn.”

    That isn’t, in itself, a bad thing. The US has .7% of its population involved in food production while Mexico and Cuba have 13.7 and 20% while the respective GDP contribution is 3.8 and 4%. Having people leave agriculture and move into more productive sectors.
    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html

    The problem is that while in a functioning market economy the economy would be able to absorb these individuals and find them more profitable employment, not all countries have the a functioning market economy or the resources (human capital, capital, etc) to adjust. However, I believe this is mostly a problem for Africa- most of Latin America is developed and wealthy enough to adjust.

    Guy
    “FACT: People on this planet aren’t starving because there isn’t enough food. They’re starving because the distribution system is corrupt and because capitalism only works when somebody, somewhere, is being exploited. Do yourself a favor and watch Darwin’s Nightmare. I promise, henceforth, you will never look at a starving child in the same light again. ”

    That is both right and wrong. People haven’t been in danger of starving to death due to lack of food world wide since the end of world war 2. However, the distribution system isn’t corrupt- it works like every other commodity. The problem is that the distribution system can break down, usually to political crazyness or war.

    Capitalism works fine without exploitation. Capitalism is private ownership of assets. You are thinking of the free market (they aren’t they same- you can have capitalism with price controls for example). However the free market doesn’t require exploitation- that only occurs when one agent has monopoly power or political sway. It is hard to exploit people purely through market mechanisms (it can be done- see company towns.).

    Looked at the summary for Darwin’s Nightmare. Essentially rich people are willing to pay more for food than poor people and get first dibs. Most of the resulting horror in the film seems to be the result of having people who are dirt poor. Given that 80% of Tanzania’s labor force is in agriculture and that is where 85% of their exports come from I think it is wrong to blame the fishing industry for any famine.

    Looking through this which provided many of the reviews and gave insight into its supporters mindset
    http://www.darwinsnightmare.com/reviews.htm

    well, it suggests many of the people who liked the film have no idea what they are talking about. For example-
    “If, say, the World Bank dictated that 50% of the fish had to remain in Tanzania at a price the locals could afford, that would be fairly simple to monitor. If food security for Africa were a priority, that is.”

    See the problem yet? The locals would immediately take the fish and resell it on the world market- after all, the fish are more expensive than most foods so now they can get food and cash. So either the sale price would be bid up until profit was minimal or the government would keep prices low and give the fish to connected individuals.

  98. philincalifornia says:

    _Jim says:
    July 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm
    —————————
    Actually Jim, I’m not a huge fan of lawns (I prefer vineyards), but I was being a bit sarcastic there. Please tell me you were too, and I bit the hook … !!

  99. Gail Combs says:

    Ian H says July 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    The US farmer lobby paid for this legislation to go through and it wants its money’s worth…..
    _______________________________________
    Jim says: @ July 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm
    ….Farm Lobby Beats Back Assault On Subsidies….
    _________________________________
    Smoke and mirrors _Jim. I can call myself anything I want but it does not mean that is who I really am. A bunch of us farmers scrapped together money so a couple of us could join and go to the 2008 NIAA Annual Meeting. Here is the report back link I am including it to give you a feel for the difference between real farmers and the Astro-turf farmers.

    Now look at what YOUR LINK from the Wall Street Journal is actually saying

    Farm Lobby Beats Back Assault On Subsidies
    The agribusiness industry plowed more than $80 million into lobbying last year, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks spending on lobbying.

    …Today, farmers make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, and agriculture production is dominated by large, industrial farms that have annual sales of $1 million or more. In 2006, average farm household income was $77,654, or about 17% more than average U.S. household income, according to the Department of Agriculture. Average farm household income is expected to be about $90,000 this year….

    ….The goal was to target more benefits at farmers who work the land and need financial assistance, while weaning benefits away from the well-to-do. Recent recipients include 92-year-old David Rockefeller Sr., heir to oil-baron John D. Rockefeller. He received $554,000 in subsidies from 1995 to 2005 for farm operations and land conservation in New York, according to a spokesman for Mr. Rockefeller and government data compiled by the Environmental Working Group, which is lobbying for an overhaul of farm programs…..

    The farm lobby already was fighting back. Led by the American Farm Bureau Federation…

    So who exactly is the American Farm Bureau? A quick internet check finds this (Something I was already well aware of)

    …The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) bills itself as the voice of American agriculture–and often succeeds in getting the media to identify it as such…

    The myth that AFBF represents the interests of farmers is longstanding, though it has long been debunked. In Samuel “Sandy” Berger’s 1971 book, Dollar Harvest: The Story of the Farm Bureau, he argued that the AFBF is “quietly and systematically amassing one of the largest business networks in America, while turning its back on the deepening crisis of the farmers whom it supposedly represents.”

    The underlying pattern has not changed in the ensuing generation….

    The Farm Bureau was founded in the early 1900s by the New York Chamber of Commerce and funded with money from Rockefellers and Vanderbilts via the Chicago Board of Trade (A.V. Krebbs, Corporate Reaper). It was designed to counter the nonpartisan, populist farm movement that was emerging at the time.

    In a sophisticated manner, Farm Bureau leadership is still, as one observer put it, “trying to keep Bubba down on the farm from realizing who his real enemy is.”
    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1507

    Then there is the other BIG LIE

    ….farmers make up less than 1% of the U.S. population, and agriculture production is dominated by large, industrial farms that have annual sales of $1 million or more. In 2006, average farm household income was $77,654,

    So what does the actual data tell us because these are the facts the MSM never bothers to tell the public.
    Agriculture contributes more than $950 billion — 16 percent — to the GNP each year. link

    The following is from the 2007 Ag census
    http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/index.asp
    http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/Publications/2007/Full_Report/Volume_1,_Chapter_1_US/st99_1_063_063.pdf

    There are 2.2 million farms in the USA. According to the 2007 census over half the farms, 1,167,751, reported losses, with an average loss $15,596.

    Only 396,054 farms have gains of over $25,000 a year, that means 1.8 million are near or BELOW the poverty threshold.

    1,070,668 farms have less than 25% of their income from farming.

    Only 4,048 are full time farmers deriving 100% of the income from farming.

    There are 34,726 Corporate farms of those only 5,105 are non Family farms.

    The average age is 55.4 years with many farmers beyond or approaching retirement age

    According to the USDA, almost 90 percent of the total income of rancher or farmer households now comes from outside earnings. More than 60 percent of US farms are resource, residential or retirement farms.There is a widening gap between retail price and farm value. a USDA market basket of food has increased 2.8 percent while the farm value of that food has fallen by 35.7 percent!

    Now tell me how the heck are American farmers, already working two jobs so YOU can get cheap food, going to afford the time or money to deal with the politicians in DC. No wonder the buyers can pass themselves off as the “Farm Lobby” . The more than $80 million into lobbying last year certainly did not come from the 1.8 million are near or BELOW the poverty threshold. or the 34,726 Corporate farms.

  100. _Jim says:

    philincalifornia says July 22, 2012 at 8:05 pm
    Actually Jim, I’m not a huge fan of lawns …

    After last year’s summer (here in Tejas) I’m considering rocks (think: “Zero-scape”) … sorry about the other part, it’s just the prosecutor/lawyer part of me seeping out …

    .

  101. Smokey says:

    philincalifornia,

    You keep posting that link, but it does nothing to address my comment. I had simply questioned the assertion that turf grass was the largest U.S. crop, as Guy specifically stated. That claim seemed preposterous to me, and I have since shown that turf grass is not even close to being the largest U.S. crop.

    For comparison, I asked for the corn crop, or the wheat crop. Instead, I am given the corn ethanol crop numbers.

    Face it, there is no good argument for converting a large part of the U.S. food crop into fuel, particularly when the energy needed to do so roughly equals the bio-energy produced. The only profit comes from subsidies and now the mandate. That is the kind of nonsense that results when the government interferes with the agricultural markets. Free markets should determine what is needed, not government bureaucrats.

  102. The food to fuel economy is a result of legislation to incorporate “bio” into fuels for general transport.

    The legislation creates the demand which drives up the price that buyers will pay to get stock for filling the legislated requirements. The market price for the commodity rises and all processors of the food stock compete in the same market for stock produced by farmers trying to earn as much as they can from what they produce.

    As cars become “eaters”, the “population” of food consumers rises sharply, making for a much larger market; where the voracious “eaters” have to pay whatever it takes to get the raw food; financed out of the pockets of the “wealthy” car-owning populations which form a minority of the world’s human population. Food prices increase for all in the free, global market of commodity foods. Poor farmers justifiably change to monocultures the most-profitable crops, making them more vulnerable to crop failures and unable to provide necessarily diverse nutrition.

    The legislated requirement for “bio” in the fuels we use for transport therefore increases the inequity in the market, making food less affordable for many people. It encourages monocultures of cropping and puts pressure on larger areas to be subjected to agriculture; not for food, but for fuel crops.

    If the legislated requirement disappears, then it’s now plausible that that would cause enormous economic and societal damage in the agricultural regions of production that depend on a high price. They can’t stop producing overnight, so the commodity price is likely to “collapse” under a surplus of stock.

    Fuel producers may well take advantage of that falling price as they already have the facilities to utilise the raw material. The lower price could carry forward into the price on the fuel bowser, supporting the blending of fuel from the cheapest-available stock; be it mineral or vegetable. It is quite likely that the market will react to dampen the “collapse” in prices over several years throughout which operators can exploit the potential of their existing industrial investment; following an initial “shock”.

    The core “evil” of legislation has to be undone. Quickly.

  103. gallopingcamel says:

    @rgbatduke,
    As usual a great read! One thing you got wrong was this:
    “Anything but free market prevention of starvation puts you right back into the government intervention seat. ”

    The ethanol in our gasoline is an example of a government that already is in the “Intervention Seat”, interfering with free markets. If ethanol free gasoline were on sale side by side with gasohol the market could operate properly. My expectation is that the majority would reject gasohol absent the government subsidies but the market should be given the opportunity to sort winners from losers. That is not going to happen as long as ADM (Archer, Daniels, Midland) and other large agri-businesses pour money into the political machine.

  104. Gail Combs says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    I would also add to the above – the US Corn crop fulfilled ALL U.S. animal feed demand as well. Including providing Distillers Dried Grain Solids which replace more than 1/3 of the corn used for ethanol with a higher quality animal feed….
    __________________________________
    I for one am well aware of that. (I feed pelleted feed with Distillers) However the cost of all feed has sky rocketed since 2008. Since 1990 my costs have quadrupled and since 2008 they doubled almost overnight. Unfortunately I think they are about to skyrocket again this winter.

    The increase in the US corn crop has another problem and that is corn is very hard on the land. It really sucks it dry of nutrients. Today I noticed something else. The corn on my road is planted much much closer together that it was traditionally. This photo shows old vs new link

    Another complication is China has just within the past couple of years become a big buyer of US corn too. link

  105. philincalifornia says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 8:26 pm
    philincalifornia,

    You keep posting that link, but it does nothing to address my comment. I had simply questioned the assertion that turf grass was the largest U.S. crop, as Guy specifically stated.
    ——————–

    Our posts crossed.

    As I said, I think that Guy was guilty of perhaps calling turf a crop and not calling it a “crop”. My own sarcasm on this re. lawns was also misinterpreted ….. but I’ll let Guy answer for himself if he comes back.

    The link was just to the numbers on Slide 7, but I’m sure you can also see the significance of the concept of sugar reserves, which Richard Hamilton came up with. I think this is an economically sound concept, and the independent capitalist community is funding such projects, and some better ones coming down the pike.

    If all was break even (let’s bury the sunk costs, because either way, that’s how it is today), wouldn’t you rather the money stay in Iowa and Nebraska et al. than go where it currently goes …… ?

  106. Gail Combs says:

    _Jim says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm
    …But Ray says ALL this apply to the petroleum industry as well, and it does not …

    What do you need Ray, cites of every P.L. (Public Law) and ‘statute’ passed by the US congress in order to ‘believe’ differently that ethanol IS mandated for use, IS subsidized and the producers ARE given specific tax breaks in their business of ethanol production?
    _______________________
    I will help you with that one _jim

    Here is a link to tickle the funny bone if you have a really warped sense of humor. EPA fines oil refiners for failing to use nonexistent biofuel

    Do you fill your car’s tank with gasoline that is part cellulosic ethanol, an environment-friendly distillate of wood chips, corn cobs, and switch grass? Let me answer for you: No, you don’t. You couldn’t if you wanted to. Petroleum products blended with cellulosic ethanol aren’t commercially available, because the technology for mass-producing cellulosic ethanol hasn’t been perfected. None of which has stopped the Environmental Protection Agency from imposing hefty yearly fines on oil refiners….

    This has got to be the ultimate example of government bureaucracy gone mad. How did it happen? Blame can be divided over the last two administrations. In his 2006 State of the Union Address, George W. Bush promised to “fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn, but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass.” The following year, Bush signed into law the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA), which mandates that oil refiners begin blending cellulosic ethanol into their gasoline and diesel products.

    The “advanced biofuel contribution” under the law was to begin in 2009 at 0.6 billion gallons of cellulosic biomass and rise incrementally, first to 1.35 billion gallons in 2011, then to 2 billion gallons in 2012, and so on. By 2022, 21 billion gallons of fuel pumped into the nation’s cars and trucks was to be cellulosic ethanol….

    The only problem with this arrangement was that the grant recipients responsible for coming up with Bush’s “cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol … from wood chips and stalks or switch grass” instead came up empty….

    And of course we the consumers end up footing the entire bill as usual.

  107. Smokey says:

    philincalifornia,

    Yes, of course I would prefer that the money stays in the country. We’re on the same page there.

  108. Gail Combs says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Jim,

    I’ll add to your critiques:

    A. Scott’s link says:…..

    And philincalifornia’s link states:

    Total acres of turf in the U.S. is estimated to be 46.5 million acres.

    Again, that is not the total U.S. “crop”. That refers to the total acres of all turf grass in the U.S…..
    _______________________________
    And all that nice grass is acting as a filter strip cleaning our water supply, building up our top soil, as well as gulping down CO2 and producing O2. This post indicates it helps clean the air of pollutants in cities.

  109. James Sexton says:

    Smokey, because everyone here’s an expert but, actually not answering your questions, I’ll try.
    planted acres for 2011/2012 in millions of acres…..Corn–91.9, Soybeans–75, Wheat–54.4. Nothing else comes anywhere close. No word from the USDA about the sophist argument re. turf.
    Start here for fun with U.S. crops….. http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/crops.aspx

    Well, there’s much more to say, but it’s all been said already. The reality rejection of the higher prices, the total failure to address our energy needs or decoupling from oil is something I don’t usually see here. Uncle Sugar sure knows how to manipulate just about anyone. Welfare, it’s for everyone today!

  110. Smokey says:

    James Sexton,

    You made it look so easy!☺ What’s your secret?

    Hey, I know your secret: you answered the actual question, not some other strawman question.

    Thanks.

  111. James Sexton says:

    It should also be pointed out that about 2002/2003 that Corn, Wheat, and Soybean were much more closer in terms of acreage planted…… Wheat was in the mid 60s, while corn and soybean were in the 70s of millions of acres planted. So, as we can see, wheat and the other crops weren’t planted and was replaced by corn to pour down our gas tanks.

  112. dalyplanet says:

    philincalifornia,

    The document you link overestimate by an order of magnitude the barrels of petroleum that an acre of corn can produce over a 21 year contract. Corn is very depleting of the soil so it must be grown in an annual rotation to be an ongoing operation, so at most you will see 10.5 years of corn on a given acre and realistically less due to rotation. Presently about 2.8 gallons of ethanol is produced from a bushel of corn. Optimistically 175 bushels per acre is an average expectation going forward so an acre can produce 490 gallons of ethanol divided by 42 gallons per barrel equals 11.67 barrels times 10.5 corn plantings over a 21 year contract equals 122.5 barrels of fuel per acre from a 21 year contract, far less than the 1000 barrels stated in your link. Then when you subtract the fuel used for planting, harvesting and soil preparation there is some reduction in efficiency, After harvest the corn usually need to be dried for storage using large quantities of petroleum gas,and processing uses another large quantity of petroleum fuel for the distillation process. Plus there is a few percent of loss in storage.

    The point is the numbers in your link are wildly optimistic as presented.

  113. James Sexton says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    James Sexton,

    You made it look so easy!☺ What’s your secret?
    ==========================================
    Lol, yeh, it’s a neat trick I learned some while back. :)

  114. Khwarizmi says:

    Gail Coombs
    Pot is not hemp. They are two different plants.
    …The plant’s distant relation to Cannabis

    Pot is hemp. Cannabis is hemp. There are not different.
    Kannabis –> Hannapum –> Hanneap –> Hemp
    Hemp: Origin: before 1000; Middle English; Old English henep, hænep; cognate with German Hanf, Greek kánnabis
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hemp
    Canvas is also a mutant form of the word cannabis:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/canvas
    The word “assassin” is also a hemp derivative…!

    _Jim says:
    ======
    July 22, 2012 at 4:05 pm
    Gail Combs says July 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm
    … You are correct about hemp being a VERY useful plant that should be legalized.
    ======
    Overblown; an extensive review of the literature a few years ago on the hemp plant/hemp material substitutes showed no such validity to miracle claims (e.g. hardiness, good growth in less than ideal circumstances etc.) … rather, this would seem to be a myth that just will not ‘go away’ (meanwhile, crops, plants, materials et al with MUCH more suitable to purpose have been discovered, cultivated and developed over the years

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture disagrees:

    So does the U.S Department of Health and Human Services:
    http://www.google.com/search?sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&site=&source=hp&q=us+patent+6630507
    Strongest natural fiber on Earth, one of the fastest growing plants on Earth, the fabric of human life for millenia – used for food, clothing and medicine — outlawed only to protect corporate interests. What a shame.

  115. A. Scott says:

    _Jim says:
    July 22, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    A. Scott says July 22, 2012 at 5:55 pm … I quoted facts – which I have extensively documented here many times.

    Sure you have; and I have (and have seen) facts which place your ‘facts’ into the category of ‘in dispute’ if not outright falsified.

    When you cite studies which do not include critical factors, studies which minimize other factors and completely ignore additional factors it’s easy to prove any darn thing which you have set as a predetermined goal, or subscribe-to like an agenda (eco-greenie or ‘Peak Oiler’) whether you are ‘paid’ disinformationalist (or not) or simply appearing on websites as a ‘debate subject specialist’ (doubtful).

    I have cited multiple studies and reports – most peer reviewed – from individual scientists to governmental agencies. I provided direct links to the data to support my comments.

    You and several other simply reply with adhominem attack asserting your positions – yet strangely when pressed you never seem to want to support them.

    Please prove your claims. We expect the AGW proponents to provide the information and data for their claims – we should expect the same from people here. Please present the studies, and data, in whatever form, that you allege supports your claims.

  116. Streetcred says:

    philincalifornia says | July 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Total turf in the USA 46 million acres vs. 35 million acres for corn ethanol. [ ... ]

    You fricking golfers, soccer players and lawn lovers. Cut it out immediately would ya. Don’t you know you’re killing children in third world countries with your vile habits ??
    —————

    To the contrary Phil, that turf plays a very important part in cleaning hydro-carbons out of run-off water before it gets into the waterways. In fact, sustainable design for new housing estates recommends grass filled drainage swales at the roadside over the conventional underground piping of stormwater.

    Let me add the benefits of compost made from grass cuttings … also reunites ‘carbon’ with vegetation and therefore must be good for the environment. :)

  117. A. Scott says:

    Smokey says:
    July 22, 2012 at 9:27 pm
    James Sexton,

    You made it look so easy!☺ What’s your secret?

    Hey, I know your secret: you answered the actual question, not some other strawman question.

    Thanks.

    I answered your question long ago. I gave you the accurate data. You simply refused to acknowledge it. Turf is NOT the largest crop – as I pointed out it is behind, at minimum, corn, wheat and soybeans. Total turf acres are larger than corn acres used for ethanol – which it appears was the intended point albeit not what he said.

  118. wikeroy says:

    Viv Forbes says:
    July 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    “I don’t care who makes ethanol from what, as long as it does not rely on legislated markets, subsidies, price controls, tax breaks or deceptive or coercive marketing. Get government out of the equation and then we will see what works.”

    Well said!
    The opposite is Marxism.

  119. There are a few misconceptions here particularly concerning wheat. China and India are the world’s biggest wheat producers by a long way. Canada+Australia, the EU and the FSU all export roughly the same amount of wheat as the USA.

    Its not just drought in the USA that is sending wheat prices higher. Persistent heavy rains in western Europe, drought in the FSU, cold and frosts in Australia and misguided socialist policies in Argentina are all contributing.

  120. John Doe says:

    rgbatduke says:
    July 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    +1

  121. Rik Gheysens says:

    To illustrate the urgency of changes to biofuel policies:
    * IFPRI research indicates that 30 percent of the increase in food prices in 2000–2007 was the result of grain-based biofuel production alone and that biofuel production leads to higher levels of undernourishment in low-income countries. Thus, the environmental and social implications of switching to biological alternatives of nonrenewable fuel sources, and the policies that promote their sustainable use, need to be better understood before they are adopted.
    (http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/bp21.pdf )
    * The global price of maize has more than doubled between June 2010 and mid April 2011, while that of wheat has almost doubled In many developing countries, including in East Asia, domestic food prices have increased sharply as shown in the charts below, driving up food inflation. Food inflation rose by 12 per cent in China and 14 per cent in Indonesia between March 2010 and March 2011. The current global food price situation is again driven by some of the same interconnected factors that led to the 2007-08 food crisis. In particular, expanding bio-fuel production, rising oil prices, U.S. dollar depreciation, export restrictions, and panic purchases are putting upward pressure on food prices. (http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2011/05/01/urgent-actions-needed-to-prevent-recurring-food-crises/ )
    Which initiatives and reforms should be performed?
    1. The existing bio-fuel subsidies should be reduced so as to minimize the food-fuel competition, in particular when the “benefits” of the use of biofuels are more and more questioned.
    2. Oxfam: The EU must tackle increasing food insecurity across the developing world. Counter-productive EU biofuels mandates are diverting food from the stomachs of the hungry to the fuel pumps of the wealthy. The demand for biofuels is driving up food prices and encouraging land deals which deprive communities of vital land and water. (http://oxfameu.blogactiv.eu/2012/07/03/the-cypriot-eu-presidency-kicks-off-will-it-live-up-to-its-global-duties/ ) So, EU biofuels mandates should be ended immediately.
    3. In the USA, 35% of US maize crop was used to produce ethanol!! Watkins believes that the most significant measure for combating the hunger crisis is to make changes to biofuel policies. ActionAid USA found that augmented corn production in the U.S. for biofuel led to a rapid increase in food import prices in Mexico.
    “Between 2005 and 2011, the tortilla prices rose by nearly 70 percent,” said Watkins. “Since 2005, the increase in ethanol fuel usage in the U.S. has resulted in up to $500 million in corn price rises in Mexico each year.”
    Watkins pointed out that already last year, experts advised the G20 to abolish biofuel subsidies in order to stabilize food prices – without success.
    (http://www.dw.de/dw/article/0,,16031169,00.html ) This practice is ethically not endurable.

    Recent study: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), 2011 Global Food Policy Report (http://www.ifpri.org/gfpr/2011 )

  122. david says:

    But talk about legalising hemp for fuel and other industrial needs and watch the eyes cloud over and the minds close … ?
    Hemp for victory!

  123. Joe Guerk says:

    [Start Quote]
    Gary Hladik says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Joe Guerk says (July 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm): “No, I don’t care about starving Biafrans or whatever the latest tear-jerking famine story is.”

    Fair enough. Do you care about your wallet?
    [End Quote]

    Yes, but unless the US government is insane, it will not allow so much wheat/corn/soybeans to be exported that prices will become high enough in the US that Americans will suffer financially in order to buy food.

  124. Don Keiller says:

    I blame this genocidice-promoting idiot http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_R._Ehrlich
    for the Green’s love of biofuels.

  125. Brian Johnson uk says:

    Ban ethanol production, ban wind farm subsidies, let Mother Nature take its course and relax. Cheaper food, fuel and avoid polluting the planet any more than a volcanic eruption or forest fire does. Eliminate subsidies on electric vehicles and let the motor industry produce ever more efficient engines that avoid rare earth metals and stop this madness that is Global Disruption/Warming/Climate Change as we ignored Witches, Fools Gold, Tulip Trading and the South Sea Bubble and Papal Indulgences. For Hansen, Gore, Mann, Trenberth, Jones, the BBC and all Media there doesn’t seem to be any difference.

  126. Rod Everson says:

    Would hemp be a profitable crop? That’s the simplest way of asking the associated questions, would hemp products be consumed, would U.S. farmers grow hemp, would hemp replace other biofuels crops, would hemp be used in biofuels, would hemp…well, you get the idea.

    Most of these discussions are raw speculation, including the discussions about ethanol and corn usage, as long as subsidies and mandates are present, for subsidies and mandates obscure the simple question, would production be profitable, absent those subsidies and mandates?

    So, drop the subsidies and mandates, including the mandate against hemp production, and let producers produce. The profit motive will determine their actions and we won’t have to spend endless hours speculating on whether ethanol production makes sense, or on whether hemp products would replace existing products.

    Our time would be better spent discussing how to protect the constitutional form of government bestowed upon us by our Founders. Getting the government out of farming would be a start. Bring on the next Earl Butz. (For those of you too young to remember, after getting the government to sell off it’s agricultural surplus, he then sold the government storage bins for good measure.)

  127. Resourceguy says:

    I want to know what the health effects are of rising ethanol levels in city air. And will the policy masters allow me to find out?

  128. Ray says:

    _Jim says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    “an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process.” – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/business/04bptax.html?pagewanted=all

    It gets worst. If you want the real price of gasoline read this – http://www.progress.org/gasoline.htm

  129. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    If the current high price of corn is due to the ethanol mandate, please explain why the current corn price on an inflation adjusted basis is almost identical to its price in 1983 long before any ethanol mandates existed.

    Please note that in 1983 many of the same other market forces did exist, like crappy economy, crop failures in other countries and high oil prices.

    The only “aggravating factor” that did not exist in both 1983 and today is an ethanol mandate and a significant fuel ethanol industry.

    Using the same logic you folks apply to the climate debate, “correlation does not indicate causation”, your looking under the wrong rock.

    Larry

  130. Gale Combs says:

    dalyplanet says:
    July 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    philincalifornia,

    The document you link overestimate by an order of magnitude the barrels of petroleum that an acre of corn can produce over a 21 year contract….
    ________________________
    Nicely put. The other point that is overlooked is the manufacture of fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides and the mining, smelting and fabrication of all the farming and transport equipment, storage silos and processing facilities.

    Biofuel is a money boondoggle just like Windmills and solar farms.

  131. Crispin in Waterloo says:

    @rgbatduke

    “You are perfectly within your rights to argue for or against the public policy decision that encourages farmers to grow crops that can be turned into fuel, but if you are going to claim that people are starving because of it, you’ll have to show me the people, and if you claim that world food prices are increasing, you’ll also have to show that the would be being propped up at this “increased” level without the benefit of fuel production otherwise.”

    The ramping in food prices started when US regulators allowed open speculation in the food futures market. That was in 2008, right? and look at the result: price instability in the food supply chain.

    The same thing has been taking place in oil – remember the first time it went to $150? Nothing to do with supply or demand, just speculators. The reason food speculation was banned in the past was for the very reason people are getting excited now: price fluctuations that profit speculators, not farmers or consumers. Now, anything goes. You get what you allow.

    When food is expensive and the farmer is not getting that money, there is something systemically wrong. The same observation applies to fuel. Food is energy, and at present, people eat oil, indirectly. The oil-energy : food-energy analyses are not as bad as the oil-energy : ethanol-energy analyses.

    Who will profit monetarily from the current drought? Well it will not be the farmers, that’s for sure, nor the consumers.

    PS Remember there is a super drought predicted for 2018.

  132. Gale Combs says:

    Khwarizmi says:
    July 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm

    Gail Coombs
    Pot is not hemp. They are two different plants.
    …The plant’s distant relation to Cannabis

    Pot is hemp. Cannabis is hemp. There are not different.
    _____________________________________
    Same family but different “Varieties” if you will.

    Arizona Industrial Hemp Council
    The word “hemp” is English for a number of varieties of the cannabis plant, particularly the varieties like “industrial hemp” that were bred over time for industrial uses such as fuel, fiber, paper, seed, food, oil, etc.

    The term “marijuana” is of Spanish derivation, and was primarily used to describe varieties of cannabis that were more commonly bred over time for medicinal and recreational purposes, like cannabis indica , and certain strains of cannabis sativa…

    …science readily allows us to distinguish them from industrial hemp by simple tests for the huge difference in the potency of the plants, i.e. the percentage of the psychotropic ingredient: delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (“THC”), the active psychotropic ingredient found in the leaves and flowers of the female plant…

    Two cannabinoids are preponderant in cannabis: THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and CBD, which is an antipsychoactive ingredient. Marijuana is high in the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC, and low in the antipsychoactive cannabinoid, CBD. The reverse is true for industrial hemp; when hemp was or is bred for its desirable industrial qualities, the percentage of THC is minimal, while the percentage of CBD is high…..

    This explains why the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recently adopted a resolution strongly urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) to collaboratively develop and adopt an official definition of industrial hemp.

    This also explains why legislation to deregulate industrial hemp and/or allow scientific study by state universities is pending or passed in over 20 states:

    Bills Passed: ND, HI, MN, IL, MD — Resolutions Passed: AK, CA, KY, MT, VA, VT
    Legislation In Process: SD, IA, ME, NH, NM, OR, TN — Voter Initiatives: AK, CO, MI

  133. Gary Pearse says:

    Ray says:
    July 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm
    Viv Forbes says:
    July 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    “I don’t care who makes ethanol from what, as long as it does not rely on legislated markets, subsidies, price controls, tax breaks or deceptive or coercive marketing. Get government out of the equation and then we will see what works.

    Viv Forbes
    —————————–
    This is exactly what they also do for the petroleum industry. If they also did what you wish for around the petroleum market you would see the prices at pumps sky-rocket.”

    This subsidization of the petroleum industry is a load of bull. Oil and gas and metal mining get a depletion allowance – tax reduction on wasting assets (shrinking reserves) to recognize that the resource has to be replaced by further expenditure (it already cost a helluva lot just to get reserves in the first place). Ordinary business can depreciate vehicles and equipment, office machines, and even buildings because they have to be replaced and are readily replaceable. .

    Unlike getting a new car, though, the resource industry can’t simply go an buy one with 100% certainty. They will drill a lot of holes that have no oil or minerals, or build giant platforms that might do the same. Taxation has to consider the risk. The obscene give-aways to the solar and other “renewable” industry (which depend on abundant fuels and metals by the way for their manufacture and installation) which essentially underwrites over a hundred percent of the risk is in a league all its own, Don’t parrot the propaganda, educate yourself on it.

  134. Gale Combs says:

    Joe Guerk says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:46 am

    Yes, but unless the US government is insane, it will not allow so much wheat/corn/soybeans to be exported that prices will become high enough in the US that Americans will suffer financially in order to buy food.
    ___________________________
    The US Government is INSANE or rather the government is OWNED by those who do not give a rat’s behind if we all starve.

    All you have to do is look at the US balance of trade since NAFTA (1993) WTO (1995) and the entry of China in the WTO (2001) and see the export of US jobs to understand our politicians are more interested in “Global Governance” and the welfare of “International Corporations” than in the USA.

    US Balance of Trade 1992 to 2012 notice the chart starts at $0 at the top and goes into the red (neg balance)

    Chart of Real Unemployment Rate

    change in federal withholding payroll taxes

    This is worth a look and shows the USA has become a “service” economy – (store clerks, truck drivers and burger flippers) link The top chart shows the ONLY employment sector to gain is Education and Health all other sectors esp. manufacturing and construction have lost jobs

    How the Economy was Lost by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
    …. it wasn’t long before corporations discovered that the high speed Internet let them offshore a wide range of professional service jobs. In America, the hardest hit have been software engineers and information technology (IT) workers.

    The American corporations quickly learned that by declaring “shortages” of skilled Americans, they could get from Congress H-1b work visas for lower paid foreigners with whom to replace their American work force. Many US corporations are known for forcing their US employees to train their foreign replacements in exchange for severance pay….

    The pressure of jobs offshoring, together with vast imports, has destroyed the economic prospects for all Americans, except the CEOs who receive “performance” bonuses for moving American jobs offshore or giving them to H-1b work visa holders….

    So a lot of those work statistics and payroll tax information is related to H-1b work visas foreigners and not working US citizens. Ask any computer type how many in the office are from India or China, that is if you can still find an American working in the building.

    Chasing after shareholder return and “performance bonuses,” US corporations deserted their American workforce. The consequences can be seen everywhere.

    Remember to thank Clinton for pushing through NAFTA, WTO and China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

  135. Jim G says:

    Bio fuels are insanity to the nth degree. Plowing, fertilizing, planting, weed spraying, bug spraying, harvesting, & hauling the biomass all require either deisel or gasoline fuel. Then the fuels used for processing into alcohol and shipping to the refinery for blending. End result, MORE carbon in the atmosphere not less, poorer gas mileage & higher food prices. Alcohol when burned=water vapor, a more effective GHG than CO2, not that any of it will change the climate compared to ongoing natural processes. Purely a greenie boondogle to obtain popular handouts for the agricultural vote and potentially make some ignorant people feel “green”. Here in WY, a very conservative state, I cannot find any gasoline that does not have ethanol in it! Is this law or the commercial interests bowing to the green god?

  136. jayhd says:

    Ray says: July 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Ray, letting a corporation or individual keep their own money through a “tax break” instead of confiscating that money through a tax is not a subsidy. A subsidy requires the government to give money to the entity subsidized. A tax credit is only a subsidy if the credit exceeds the tax owed and the government actually pays the difference to the taxpayer. If the credit can only be applied to taxes owed, it is not a subsidy.

  137. cdquarles says:

    In Alabama, at least, you can buy 100% gas or the up to 10% mix, which is more variable in ethanol percentage as estimated by the strength of the fruity odor noted when purchasing ethanol blends. The 100% gas is a bit higher in price and the E85 is a bit lower in price at the pump.

  138. cdquarles says:

    Oh I forgot to mention one thing, Alabama is a Coal producer, a Natural Gas producer, an Oil producer, a Wheat producer, a Cotton producer, a Soybean producer, a Peanut producer, a Corn producer, a Pine Tree producer, …. you get the picture :) and yes in my lifetime the local temperatures have generally gone down a bit.

  139. philincalifornia says:

    Gale Combs says:
    July 23, 2012 at 8:26 am
    dalyplanet says:
    July 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    philincalifornia,

    The document you link overestimate by an order of magnitude the barrels of petroleum that an acre of corn can produce over a 21 year contract….
    ________________________
    Nicely put. The other point that is overlooked is the manufacture of fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides and the mining, smelting and fabrication of all the farming and transport equipment, storage silos and processing facilities.

    Biofuel is a money boondoggle just like Windmills and solar farms.
    ==================

    Probably getting a bit off the main topic Daly, but I agree that the numbers used are on the extremely optimistic side. Even so, knocking down by a ratio like yours, still gives US sugar/fuel reserves around the size of the oil reserves of Iran (later slide). This is a tangible US asset (unless the climate changes dramatically through some kind of climate disruption, ha ha).

    Gale, all of your parameters are included in the capital and operating expenses leading to a price/gallon of around $2.70, so I’m not sure what your point is ? …. unless you’re arguing carbon dioxide here, which I’m not.

    Also:

    Streetcred says: something that reduces his street cred a bit. I was joking dude !!!!!
    July 22, 2012 at 11:38 pm

  140. Jim G says:

    cui bono says:
    July 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm
    “Time to subsidise pond scum?”

    We already do. They are called politicians.

  141. Jim G says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 7:52 am
    “If the current high price of corn is due to the ethanol mandate, please explain why the current corn price on an inflation adjusted basis is almost identical to its price in 1983 long before any ethanol mandates existed.

    Please note that in 1983 many of the same other market forces did exist, like crappy economy, crop failures in other countries and high oil prices.

    The only “aggravating factor” that did not exist in both 1983 and today is an ethanol mandate and a significant fuel ethanol industry.

    Using the same logic you folks apply to the climate debate, “correlation does not indicate causation”, your looking under the wrong rock.

    Larry”

    None of that matters. If there was no mandate demand would be less and corn prices would be less. Supply and demand. The regulating factor is good farm land. If less corn were planted more soybeans or wheat would be planted. So, even if as demand went down and so did supply, other crops would be planted. Burning crops for fuel hits prices across a variety of crops and, as noted by most here on this site, produces no benefit other than to the politicians who receive donations from the beneficiaries of the legislation .

  142. Smokey says:

    A. Scott says:

    “Total turf acres are larger than corn acres used for ethanol – which it appears was the intended point albeit not what he said.”

    Ah. I’m supposed to be a mind reader. Got it.

  143. eyesonu says:

    Some interesting facts on corn, sorghum, oats, barley, and wheat from the USDA comparing years 2005/2006 to 2011/2012. References are to acres planted.

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/feed-grains-database/feed-grains-yearbook-tables.aspx#26766

    Reference year 2011/2012 for the following:

    Corn: acreage planted increased from 81.78 to 91.92 million acre, an increase of 10.14 million acres (12.4%) while the price increased 210% above the price of year 2005/2006. That actually reads that the price is more than triple the 2005/2006 price.

    Sorghum: acreage planted decreased from 6.45 to 5.48 million acre, a decrease of .97 million acres (15%) while the price increased 228% above the price of year 2005/2006. That actually reads that the price is more than triple the 2005/2006 price.

    Oats: acreage planted decreased from 4.25 to 2.5 million acre, a decrease of 1.75 million acres (41%) while the price increased 114% above the price of year 2005/2006. That actually reads that the price is more than double the 2005/2006 price.

    Barley: acreage planted decreased from 3.88 to 2.5 million acre, a decrease of 1.38 million acres (36%) while the price increased 38% above the price of year 2005/2006.

    Wheat: acreage planted decreased from 57.21 to 54.41 million acres, a decrease of 2.8 million acres (5%) while the price increased 112% above the price of year 2005/2006. That actually reads that the price is over double the 2005/2006 price.

    Something has caused a lot of cropland to be diverted to growing corn. Something has caused a sizable increase in the price of grains. What happened between year 2005/2006 and year 2011/2012 to cause such a change? This is unbelievable change. This is not the kind of change I can believe in.

  144. A. Scott says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 7:52 am
    If the current high price of corn is due to the ethanol mandate, please explain why the current corn price on an inflation adjusted basis is almost identical to its price in 1983 long before any ethanol mandates existed.

    Please note that in 1983 many of the same other market forces did exist, like crappy economy, crop failures in other countries and high oil prices.

    The only “aggravating factor” that did not exist in both 1983 and today is an ethanol mandate and a significant fuel ethanol industry.

    Using the same logic you folks apply to the climate debate, “correlation does not indicate causation”, your looking under the wrong rock.

    Larry

    Not worth the effort Larry … these folks are all experts – they know what they know and aren’t interested in any type real facts or data – no matter how many times they’ve been peer reviewed. .

    If the current corn price is due to ethanol perhaps eyesonu and some of the others can explain why the price of corn skyrockected from Jun 2010 thru Jun 2011? Ethanol production didn’t change – if anything it went down slightly.

    And eyesonu and others claimed corn prices increased from 2006 to 2008 because of ethanol production ramping up – while ignoring that wheat, soybeans, barely and most other commodities increased faster and higher during the same time.

    In the last go around on this eyesonu tried to make claims about planted acres – that corn acreage took over other commodities acreage – which was proven equally incorrect.

    But hey a “model” showed that corn prices increased 30% because of ethanol … despite that a simple review of the real world numbers at places like indexmundi shows ALL commodities rose vitually in unison at that time. Its funny too, as these same people all berate the use of similarly flawed models when it comes to AGW yet blindly accept them when it supports their beliefs and agendas.

    The best part is when pressed to prove or support their claims they never do – you get an adhominem attack in response – but rarely if ever support for their claims. And when they do provide links – take _Jim for example – the stories they link to are nothing but promo puffery from interest groups – often not a shred of real data or science to support their positions.

  145. A. Scott says:

    Cool – eyesonu at least makes an effort again … you get a gold star … conclusions make little sense, when I have a little time later I will reply

  146. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    Jim G says:
    July 23, 2012 at 10:06 am

    None of that matters. If there was no mandate demand would be less and corn prices would be less. Supply and demand. The regulating factor is good farm land. If less corn were planted more soybeans or wheat would be planted. So, even if as demand went down and so did supply, other crops would be planted. Burning crops for fuel hits prices across a variety of crops and, as noted by most here on this site, produces no benefit other than to the politicians who receive donations from the beneficiaries of the legislation .

    That all sounds good in theory but that is not how the world really works.
    For decades corn farmers were selling corn at or near the cost of production.
    Big corporations like Tyson foods got subsidized indirectly with corn livestock feed that was far cheaper than the true value of the crop. Now they are whining because they have to pay the true cost of production and the farmers are actually making a living on their crop instead of squeaking by on price supports and crop insurance etc. and losing money or breaking even on the crop, often working a second job to pay the bills in addition to their farm income.

    It is in the strategic interest of the country to have strong vibrant farm economy and to be able to be self sufficient in food and industrial crop production.

    The equation of farm production and food production is orders of magnitude more complex than your simplistic model.

    Food for export is an important part of foreign policy also, not to mention defense and security so the government has a vested interest in “managing” farm production for that and other reasons such as farm land set aside programs to try to prevent the sort of land abuse that resulted in the dust bowl.

    A totally free market farm economy inevitably results in a boom bust commodity market.
    Much of what you folks are blaming ethanol for has occurred multiple times when ethanol was not even on the table. It is obviously not the “cause”.

    If there was no mandate demand would be less and corn prices would be less. Supply and demand.

    And if the Federal government did not have regulations against untaxed alcohol, we would be awash in alcohol and it would be the highest profit margin product of many farms (read a bit of history about the whiskey rebellion). The market is already manipulated and controlled on multiple layers long before fuel ethanol boom of recent years.

    In fact fuel alcohol was the dominant fuel for autos until they were driven out of business due to Federal regulations over small home alcohol production (prohibition) and market manipulation by major businesses who wanted a market to sell their “waste product” gasoline, drove them out of the market.

    Folks whine about alcohol subsidies yet the blenders tax credit and the tariff on foreign ethanol was eliminated the first of the year. Everyone here predicted the ethanol market would crash and it would disappear. Didn’t happen.

    In spite of that, well run outlets are selling E85 fuel at $2.75/gallon vs local gasoline prices of $3.54 for regular gasoline. Locally it sells for $3.09 per gallon compared to $3.59 for regualr.
    If ethanol is such a losing proposition financially and energy wise without subsidies, how can they accomplish that with no direct artificial cost incentive at the pump?

    The farmers are making a fair return on corn production (for the first time in about 30 years) well run fuel ethanol production operations can compete heads up against gasoline in mature markets which do not have punitive local regulations such as minimum mark up laws that make it illegal to sell fuel ethanol at its fair market value.

    We have already discussed this issue in depth on at least 3 threads over the last year or so, the facts have not changed and fuel ethanol is still moving forward. In spite of all the bogus information, there is a strong market for E85 in areas that understand it and it has a mature distribution network so it has some economy of scale.

    It is a highly desirable fuel in E85 for some car owners, and is highly valuable as an octane enhancer allowing more oil to be turned into gasoline. It also effectively converts other forms of energy that are less useful as transportation fuels in to a useful fuel commodity (ie most of the energy for production comes from natural gas and coal, effectively converting them to a motor fue).

    It is not going away any time soon.

    Larry

  147. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Cool – eyesonu at least makes an effort again … you get a gold star … conclusions make little sense, when I have a little time later I will reply

    =====================

    Keep your star.

  148. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    Something has caused a lot of cropland to be diverted to growing corn. Something has caused a sizable increase in the price of grains. What happened between year 2005/2006 and year 2011/2012 to cause such a change? This is unbelievable change. This is not the kind of change I can believe in.

    Can you say price of oil and total supply?
    “I can make more money selling corn than wheat which should I plant?”
    That has to be the biggest Duh question of the year, any farmer that was not brain dead would plant the crop that will make him the best return on his investment, just like a book publisher publishes the books that people want to by or car makers build the cars people want to drive.

    http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/images/charts/Oil/Inflation_Adj_Oil_Prices_Chart.htm
    http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_articles/Corn_Inflation.asp

    Most of the cost of food products at the store and cost of grains at the dock is energy costs to grow and transport them — Hmmm same sort of thing happened when we had peak corn prices in the early 1980’s sudden increase in energy cost and a screwed up economy. The peak in 1995/96 was due to low projected end of year stocks and evaporated with good crops the following year. Production shortages are not caused by predictable increases in demand (that drives increasing production) but by sudden crop losses due to weather or other factors.

    Corn production by year

    1993 160986 (1000 MT) -33.12 %
    1994 255295 (1000 MT) 58.58 %
    1995 187970 (1000 MT) -26.37 %
    1996 234518 (1000 MT) 24.76 %

    http://www.indexmundi.com/agriculture/?country=us&commodity=corn&graph=production

    Now if we still had strategic food reserves to level out the humps????

    Larry

  149. philincalifornia says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    It is not going away any time soon.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    …. and not only that Larry, its spawning new industries, such as high value renewable specialty chemicals, and cellulosic plants are continuing to come onstream with advanced chemical and enzymatic processes to make them more efficient and reduce the feedstock price.

    For example, go-ahead plans for a new $250 million cellulosic plant in Iowa (POET-DSM) were announced just today. This will utilize the corn stover.

    Unlike arguing about watts per fricking meter squared, travesties and missing heat, the scientists and businessmen in this field actually go out there and make sh!t happen. Toss the negative data and move on with the positive data. This field is not static and full of the reject scientists who seem to populate the AGW climate “sciences”.

    Most of the glass half empty brigade up this thread are arguing from positions that are long gone. This is a happening field for movers and shakers like these, and their scientists:

    http://www.advancedbiofuelsmarkets.com/

    The price of admission should be a clue here.

    …. and don’t expect the Republicans to nix any of this any time soon. It may be a good way to get votes, but they’ll be doing the “Iraq War Nancy Pelosi shuffle” in unison after they’re elected.

  150. eyesonu says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Quote from your comment:
    “I can make more money selling corn than wheat which should I plant?”
    That has to be the biggest Duh question of the year, any farmer that was not brain dead would plant the crop that will make him the best return on his investment,

    =========================

    Since you referenced to a part of my comment I guess I should respond.

    You just confirmed the main point that has been made by many of the other commenters on this thread, the demand for corn is the driving factor for corn for other grain price increases. I’m sure you will have an explanation suitable for yourself that will not reflect the government mandate for ethanol.

    You failed to address the summary of the USDA report. (Ref: eyesonu says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm )

  151. eyesonu says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    ” …just like a book publisher publishes the books that people want to by or car makers build the cars people want to drive.”

    ==================

    Government mandates influence what kind of car I can drive. Just like the government mandates influence the price of my food. I won’t discuss the debt owed by the taxpayers as a result of any of these mandates.

  152. eyesonu says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    =====================

    What relevance does the rest of your post have to do with the main topic of this thread. You are bringing up the 1990’s, ten years prior to the mandates for ethanol. Try to stay on topic or no one will play with you except perhaps A Scott.

  153. James of the West says:

    I only would agree that growing corn in the temperate zone is a stupid way to produce ethanol at the expense of a useful food. But there are other very sensible ways to produce vast quantities of biofuels and reduce human sugar consumption.

    Pure sugar should not be considered a healthy and proper “human food”. You dont need much arable land in the tropics to produce sugar cane in sufficient quantity to power millions of vehicles. Brasil powers 80% of their motor vehicles using less than 10% of the currently cleared arable land in that country. Sugar cane photosynthesis in the tropics is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to produce energy from the sun and rapidly take CO2 from the atmosphere.

  154. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “And eyesonu and others claimed corn prices increased from 2006 to 2008 because of ethanol production ramping up – while ignoring that wheat, soybeans, barely and most other commodities increased faster and higher during the same time.

    In the last go around on this eyesonu tried to make claims about planted acres – that corn acreage took over other commodities acreage – which was proven equally incorrect. ”

    ====================

    My comment (Ref: eyesonu says: July 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm ) simply showed a summary of the USDA data from year 2005/2006 to 2011/2012.

    My ending statement was perhaps an opinion that made no direct reference to the ethanol mandate causing the massive increase in grain prices. Where did you get that?

    I would agree with “Hotrod Larry’s own words that it would make good business sense to plant corn rather than any other crop to maximize profit “Duh”. Perhaps that is why we see a dramatic drop in planted acres in other grains and a dramatic increase in corn. I simply questioned why the results are like they are. He answered it and I accept his answer. You should discuss this with him.

    A Scott you seem to be showing signs of pressure. Give yourself a gold star and see if it makes you feel better.

  155. Smokey says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    “A totally free market farm economy inevitably results in a boom bust commodity market.”

    No, it doesn’t.

    Certainly there is much less misallocation of product than in centrally-planned economies. The futures markets take care of that.

    And a totally free market [except for necessary regulation providing for a level playing field] provides for a lot more boom than bust. The U.S. economy exploded under a free market system. Now, not so much.

  156. eyesonu says:

    A. Scott says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Quoted from your own words:
    “But hey a “model” showed that corn prices increased 30% because of ethanol … despite that a simple review of the real world numbers at places like indexmundi shows ALL commodities rose vitually in unison at that time. Its funny too, as these same people all berate the use of similarly flawed models when it comes to AGW yet blindly accept them when it supports their beliefs and agendas.

    The best part is when pressed to prove or support their claims they never do – you get an adhominem attack in response – but rarely if ever support for their claims. And when they do provide links – take _Jim for example – the stories they link to are nothing but promo puffery from interest groups – often not a shred of real data or science to support their positions.”

    ===================

    Are you psychologically reflecting yourself here? Too much pressure on WUWT? Sure appears like it to me. Place a gold star under your pillow and get some rest. You may feel better tomorrow.

  157. eyesonu says:

    @ A scott and Hotrod Larry

    I made my point so I won’t respond anymore on this thread so as to relieve you of the pressures created by your continued responses. Both of you get a gold star for effort.

  158. Gail Combs says:

    If you want to grow a biofuel use something besides corn. Corn is a rotten crop because it damages the soil.
    [Here] is a much better choice:

    Warm Season Legumes
    CCS Sunn Hemp™

    CCS Sunn Hemp quickly restores poor or depleted soils. It grows rapidly, up to 6′ in 60 days, while producing roughly 60 pounds of nitrogen per acre. It is very drought tolerant, and in fact thrives in dry conditions.

    CCS Sunn Hemp has a narrow planting window, and dies at first frost. The stalks can be rolled down to establish a thick mat of organic material protecting soil over winter.
    http://www.covercropsolutions.com/products/warm-season-legumes.php

    Even the USDA is recommending it as a cover crop rotated with corn. But the DEA is dead set on banning it.

  159. eyesonu says:

    @ A Scott and Hotrod Lerry

    WUWT has another thread that seems to be relevant to your corn crop. See Krugman’s corny caper. Posted on July 23, 2012 by Anthony Watts .

    It may really be much worse than you thought. Forget the gold stars, face the reality. The scam is up. You got the gold stars while it last but there is no more gold.

    Reality is a fact of life. You do not own it.

  160. John Q. Galt says:

    As usual the ethanol bashers display their ignorance with the same old trope.

    Corn ethanol only uses the sugar from corn and the co-product replaces soybean protein and oil in livestock feed.

  161. philincalifornia says:

    That is one bizarre series of comments eyesonu.

    There’s no scam, and it’s not going away. It’s going to continue growing, and in many different areas.

    If you want to look under the right rock, it would be the profit margin rock. Should the U.S. be supporting an industry with a margin that fluctuates across the profit and loss line as it does? I don’t know, but I do know that it’s more productive than occupying Wall Street.

  162. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    July 23, 2012 at 4:03 pm
    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    =====================

    What relevance does the rest of your post have to do with the main topic of this thread. You are bringing up the 1990′s, ten years prior to the mandates for ethanol. Try to stay on topic or no one will play with you except perhaps A Scott.

    See now – thet there’s yer problem …

    You don’t understand why the historical past performance is relevant to prices today. Just like you never figured out last time we did this you were using completely wrong data – a tiny subset of what you thought you were reporting. And despite numerous attempts – pointing you directly to the correct data – you refused to pay any attention.

  163. Galane says:

    What should be outlawed is burying farmland under housing developments. Expansion of living space should be on the crappy land that can’t be used for farming, but much of that is classed as “wilderness” or habitat for “endangered” insects or wildflowers.

    Wasn’t hemp outlawed along with marijuana around about the time DuPont invented nylon? Seems to be a bit of a handy coincidence that gave a big boost to the synthetic fibers industry, especially for materials used in rope production.

    Here’s something possibly urban ledgendy. Years ago I read a tale about US government or military researchers experimenting with cross breeding hemp and pot in an attempt to increase the strength and/or quantity of fiber in the hemp but what they ended up producing was more potent pot. (Stronger dope instead of stronger rope.) Along came synthetics and the super hemp project was shut down and all the test plants etc were supposed to be destroyed, but of course some of the researchers who sampled their research personally smuggled out some seed.

  164. Kerry says:

    In general, the government should not be subsidizing anything: ethanol, solar, wind, fossil fuel or any other type of production. It inevitably distorts markets and leads to lower efficiency and ultimately higher costs to consumers. Having said that, if you look at commodity prices over the last 10 years, the prices of ALL major commodity groups have risen essentially the same amount. I certainly don’t believe metals prices, for example, are driven by grain prices. (Only now are energy prices starting to decouple from other commodities as a result of lower natural gas prices from, primarily, fracking.) If corn-for-ethanol was really a major factor in grain pricing, those commodities should have decoupled from the rest and risen at a greater rate. They have not.

    Even at today’s drought-inflated prices, the actual cost of the corn in an 18oz. box of corn flakes is on the order of $0.12 – $0.15. Double the price of corn and the price goes up by only that amount… on a $4 box of cereal. I do however agree that the world’s poor suffer disproportionate impacts from increased food prices. Again, get the government out of it and let the markets decide how to ration food crops.

    In my opinion, there should be no discussion about the cost to consumers of corn-for-ethanol that doesn’t also include the impact of energy prices, increased world demand and the value of the dollar, i.e. government monetary policy. Most commodities everywhere in the world are traded in U.S. dollars — the lower the value of the dollar, the more expensive the commodities.

  165. Resourceguy says:

    Let’s see now, we use Federal grants to support wood fuel power plants as renewable energy projects and turn around and cite the same plants for air violations. Then we mandate food as mandated liquid fuel in cars and greatly expand food subsidies for a third of the population as SNAP payments to offset rising poverty and rising food vulnerability among children and seniors. The housing bubble was simple and straightforward compared to this longer cycle spending distortion bubble. This would be a good time for some heard on the street interviews from Greece on how it all went wrong.

  166. Jim G says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    You actually make an excellent argument for getting the government completely out of the agricultural products market, though I am sure that you don’t see it. Do you also argue that alcohol is an energy efficient way to go for fuel in spite of its Rube Goldberg route from field to pump?

  167. Viv Forbes says:

    Ethanol and Food Prices.

    There is debate in some quarters as to whether subsidising ethanol affects food prices.

    In the fuzzy “science” of economics, one law stands like a light-house in the fog – the law of supply and demand.

    This law tells us that if the demand for corn is increased by subsidies and mandates favouring ethanol production, the price of corn will be higher than it would otherwise have been, all other things staying the same. It says nothing about whether the price will be higher or lower than it was last week/year/decade. No one can forecast next year’s corn price with confidence, although many believe their model has the answer. Like all market prices, the price of corn involves many other imponderables such as weather, politics and that most fickle factor of all – human action. The corn price model is about as good as the global temperature model.

    If there were anyone who could accurately forecast the price of corn, he would not be pontificating on watts-up-with-that – he would be relaxing on the Riviera drinking champagne out of a glass slipper.

    Viv Forbes
    forbes@carbon-sense.com

  168. Smokey says:

    End the ethanol madness!

    And Viv Forbes, you are so right. If anyone could accurately forecast commodity prices, he wouldn’t just be sipping champagne from a glass slipper, he would have scores of naked teens peeling grapes for him as he counted his gold bars. And that’s just for starters…

  169. Carl Brannen says:

    Smokey: “Your arguments seem dubious to me. They excuse rent-seeking behavior and government intervention in the markets. Do you have some sort of vested interest in ethanol?” You should look up the facts for yourself. Instead, you’re changing the subject and making ad hominem attacks. I’m not in favor of the rent-seeking behvaior but that’s not the topic of the post here. The topic is “burning food in cars”. I’m familiar with the facts about ethanol from being involved with the industry. You can google my name. Right now I’m a candidate for the PhD in physics at Washington State University and have not had any connection to oil or ethanol or environmentalism for most of a decade. And who are you?

    Tom H: denies (without any links or arguments) my statement that “If ethanol were not present in your modern gasoline your modern gasoline would not work in your modern car.” I think people in the industry (or people who once were in it like me) know more about this than the average Joe. “Sub-octane” means an octane level below regular. Without the ethanol it should not be burned in your car because of knocking problems. Try googling “sub-octane”+gasoline to learn more about how fuel is made.

    Jim: “Then being a supporter of a “free country” you would certainly support the elimination of the ethanol mandate, yes?” Yes, I am against the continuation of the ethanol mandate. And it goes both ways, I am also against the government regulations that prevent the amount of ethanol from being more than 10%. And I think that gas companies should be allowed to advertise ethanol-free gasoline to those who want it.

    Sam: “For people that argue ethanol has no impact on food prices, how do you explain the fact food prices increased.” Food prices have been going up and down since man invented money, long before corn was widely used for ethanol. Back in the good old days the primary use of corn was in making hard liquor. I bet they were arguing that this increased the cost of food back then, too. And it did. By how much? Why plant corn you can’t make into liquor? You could write instead: “For people that argue that CO2 has no impact on temperature, how do you explain the fact temperatures increased.” Similar to CGW some models show that ethanol increases the price of food. Of course it does. By how much? The real irony of your post is that it’s on WUWT where people understand the complex interaction between politics, academia and computer modeling. Do you trust an academic to make a working model of an economy with respect to a highly political subject? If the economists understood the first thing about the economy (jobs and growth) the President wouldn’t be worried about his reelection chances. Hey, I’m not saying that food and ethanol production are not related. I’m simply pointing out that some of the corn that will be eaten this year (through being fed to animals), might not have been planted if it weren’t for its prospective use in ethanol. The actual use is determined by relative prices. For the 1st world, far more of your food cost is due to transportation and the ethanol likely reduces that cost.

    Jim G: “Bio fuels are insanity to the nth degree. Plowing, fertilizing, planting, weed spraying, bug spraying, harvesting, & hauling the biomass all require either deisel[sic] or gasoline fuel. Then the fuels used for processing into alcohol and shipping to the refinery for blending. End result, MORE carbon in the atmosphere not less, poorer gas mileage & higher food prices.” It’s very simple, really. Just compare the price of corn with the price of gasoline. It might be useful to know that a bushel of corn makes about 2.7 gallons of ethanol and 18 pounds of dried distiller grains. Use google to look up the prices of these three things, corn, ethanol and DDGs. You will find that converting corn to ethanol and DDGs is profitable. (To be more accurate, you will have to add in a lot of other costs covering everything from labor to electricity, but these three account for most of the costs and incomes of a distillation plant.) The only way of getting around this very simple calculation is to claim that the price of corn is heavily subsidized. But the price of corn is determined by world-wide trade. Do you think that every country also subsidizes their corn crops? No. You put a seed in the ground. Later it grows up into a big plant and makes lots of new seeds. Farming doesn’t need subsidies, it’s been a successful business for thousands of years. It may look like a lot of work to city-folk but it’s really, okay well it is a lot of work. As far as denying the “sanity” of ethanol production you could say the say the same thing about a bunch of other crazy sounding technologies. For example, I’ve heard that some think it’s intelligent to make trees into paper when every knows that that’s what papyrus is for. In short, don’t presume to tell industry what makes sense. It’s not your business and you know almost nothing about it. Eliminate the mandates and leave the industry alone.

  170. Smokey says:

    Carl Brannan,

    I did no research on you at all, I just suspected from your comment that you have a vested interest in ethanol. Now it turns out that you’re also young enough to know everything. Must be nice, having no need of decades of real world experience.

  171. philincalifornia says:

    Smokey says:
    July 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm
    ====================

    Smokey, I thought you were not a big fan of ad hominems. Did someone steal your identity ?

  172. Smokey says:

    Relax, phil. I was only pointing out that Carl knows it all. What’s wrong with that?

  173. Mark T says:

    Without the ethanol it should not be burned in your car because of knocking problems. Try googling “sub-octane”+gasoline to learn more about how fuel is made.

    Try reading the section on engine-knock at Wikipedia to learn more about how modern engines work and why your comment is irrelevant, and, quite frankly, nonsense.

    Mark

  174. Mark T says:

    Smokey, I thought you were not a big fan of ad hominems.

    Um, snarky insult != ad hominem. It is the Internet illiterati that have invented the use of ad hominem in place of insult to lend some logical credence to their charge of a flawed argument. Klimatologists are particularly fond of this misuse, and generally commit both insults and true ad hominem arguments while screaming from the rooftops.

    Mark

  175. Mark T says:

    In the fuzzy “science” of economics, one law stands like a light-house in the fog – the law of supply and demand.

    Keynes thought economics was a statistical problem. Then he denied it. In the end, his original thoughts have cost us untold wealth and sacrifices to our liberty.

    Mark

  176. Ed Kish says:

    Great new insight regarding the rise of biofuels. I honestly did not see this coming.

    Ed

  177. philincalifornia says:

    Mark T,

    Other posters on here write much more extensive posts that say absolutely f**k all. You managed to keep yours brief – so well done.

  178. Jim G says:

    Smokey says:
    July 24, 2012 at 7:56 pm
    Carl Brannan,

    “I did no research on you at all, I just suspected from your comment that you have a vested interest in ethanol. Now it turns out that you’re also young enough to know everything. Must be nice, having no need of decades of real world experience.”

    Well, that would, indeed, explain his problem with facts, and perhaps logic, too.

  179. CodeTech says:

    _Jim:

    Simple ‘mileage’ is not the only goal of the engine controller (and let’s not forget the catalytic converter if so factory-equipped), but rather the goal is to meet the requirements of reducing emissions across the board including (but not limited to) CO, NOx etc … reducing one component may result in an increase in another (such as peak combustion temperatures contribute to NOx emissions but result in better incremental mileage performance).

    Unless you observed tailpipe emissions for ALL products, you could have been doing more harm than good overall taking into consideration tailpipe emissions …

    It was ALL taken into account, thanks.
    My car ran significantly cleaner than ANY past or current emissions requirements without using a cat.
    I’d still like to do the same for this car, but it’s not going to happen. Instead I’m getting a Challenger SRT-8, and since it’s legal here, I’m removing the cat. Instead of trying to modify the engine controller I’ll replace it with a custom built system based on MegaSquirt.
    Again, the EPA should not be mandating what I can and can’t do with my car. I’m in Canada.

  180. Gail Combs says:

    Smokey says:
    July 24, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    End the ethanol madness!

    And Viv Forbes, you are so right. If anyone could accurately forecast commodity prices, he wouldn’t just be sipping champagne from a glass slipper, he would have scores of naked teens peeling grapes for him as he counted his gold bars. And that’s just for starters…
    _________________________
    Seems Goldman Sachs and the rest tried and won big.

    Bankers recognized a good system when they saw it, and dozens of speculative non-physical hedgers followed Goldman’s lead and joined the commodities index game, including Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Pimco, JP Morgan Chase, AIG, Bear Stearns, and Lehman Brothers….

    Since the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000, there has been a 50-fold increase in dollars invested in commodity index funds. To put the phenomenon in real terms: In 2003, the commodities futures market still totaled a sleepy $13 billion. But when the global financial crisis sent investors running scared in early 2008, and as dollars, pounds, and euros evaded investor confidence, commodities — including food — seemed like the last, best place for hedge, pension, and sovereign wealth funds to park their cash….In the first 55 days of 2008, speculators poured $55 billion into commodity markets, and by July, $318 billion was roiling the markets. Food inflation has remained steady since…
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/04/27/how_goldman_sachs_created_the_food_crisis?page=0,1

    “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers bankers. ~ 17th Earl of Oxford

  181. Mark T says:

    Hehe, thanks philincalifornia, though I do get wordy at times. You should read my professional writing!

    Mark

  182. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    July 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    A. Scott says:
    July 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    “And eyesonu and others claimed corn prices increased from 2006 to 2008 because of ethanol production ramping up – while ignoring that wheat, soybeans, barely and most other commodities increased faster and higher during the same time.

    In the last go around on this eyesonu tried to make claims about planted acres – that corn acreage took over other commodities acreage – which was proven equally incorrect. ”

    ====================

    My comment (Ref: eyesonu says: July 23, 2012 at 1:27 pm ) simply showed a summary of the USDA data from year 2005/2006 to 2011/2012.

    I would agree with “Hotrod Larry’s own words that it would make good business sense to plant corn rather than any other crop to maximize profit “Duh”. Perhaps that is why we see a dramatic drop in planted acres in other grains and a dramatic increase in corn.

    Sorry – didn’t have time to respond back … but will now.

    Supply and demand is a factor with most every product. But you show you don’t understand the relevance of historical data when you blew off the comments regarding production in the 1990.

    You also show you do not understand when you think Krugmans chart helps your case – by all appearance seems you don’t understand what it shows and means – the difference between yield and production – and how that is relevant to the corn discussion.

    You have – as the last time – cherry picked a couple numbers you think shows the smoking gun – but again becasue you do not understand the data or subject – you think this partial picture somehow proves your point.

    You make the claim that corn prices rose starting in 2005 and that it is becasue ethanol use began increasing demand for corn about the same time. You are correct – corn prices started rising in 2005 and ethanol use increased in 2005 as well.

    Unfortunately correlation does not equal cause.

    If, as you claim, the corn prices were driven by ethanol demand – which is very different than watt Larry said – then you’ll have a hard time proving that after a look at this chart:

    Corn & other crops price history 1997-2012

    I can make the same claim as you – I claim because wheat, soybeans, and barley prices all skyrocketed almost EXACTLY the same as corn – that their price increases are also a result of ethanol.

    But wait – that would be silly – there is no relation between those products and ethanol. Yet their prices went up just like corn did.

    I also wonder why you stopped your earlier comparison of acres planted at 2011 – comparing 2005 to 2011 acres planted – instead of using the 2012 numbers that were right there.

    Actually I know why – but that’s for the next post.

  183. A. Scott says:

    Gotta ask our pal eysesonu as well … when looking at this overlay of prices (I created from from index mundi) there is some interesting info ….

    Corn & other crops price history 1997-2012

    You claim that the increased demand for corn because of increased ethanol production starting in 2005 was the reason for corn price increasing.

    Yet … first, above I cited data from the July USDA Crop Report – the one that was issued after their downgrade of the current crop – that showed:

    Even with the current USDA estimate the corn crop is projected to be 12,720 million bushels, almost exactly the same as 2011 and 2010′s 12,358 and 12,447 respectively.

    Corn used for ethanol was 5,021 mill/bu in 2010, 5,050 in 2011, and was originally projected at 5,450 for 2012. Current projection is 4,900 million bushels – 150 million bushels less than last year.

    Funny – the current estimated 2012 corn crop is nearly identical to 2010 and 2011 – … the same report notes the 2010 and 2011 corn used for ethanol were almost identical – and that 2012 will see a significant REDUCTION in corn used for ethanol.

    Additionally – a review of the US Corn Exports (FGYearbookTable22) shows some more quite interesting data.

    Despite all the wild claims about how ethanol use in the US has negatively affected Mexicans and the price of their food – the export data shows we have INCREASED our exports significantly – from 2005’s 315,000 metric tonnes to 2010/11’s 838 million metric tonnes. – 2.65 times more corn was exported in 2010/11 than 2005/06.

    MUCH more importantly we have also increased our export to Mexico of White Corn – which is the real “food” corn for them – from 229 to 581 million metric tonnes – over 2.5 times more food corn went to Mexico from 2005 to 2010/11 (FGYearbookTable26)

    So tell us again how the US corn used for ethanol is increasing food costs in Mexico by 100’s of percent? The fact is we aren’t – we have significantly increased our export to Mexico. It was their own internal “panic” that ran up the price – not US corn use.

    And golly – would you look at that – the US is the LARGEST worldwide corn exporter – in 2011 and 2012 we provided 41% of the total grain export for the world – the next closest are Argentina and the Ukraine at 14-16% each.

    That terrible damn US ethanol industry … stealing corn from Larry the Cable Guy’s poor starvin’ Ethiopians …pretty much an outright lie (FGYearbookTable27)

    How about those stories we hear about all the livestock being sold to slaughter becasue of high feedstock costs?

    Well – the USDA tells us (FGYearbookTable30) the number of head of livestock on “grain” feed has increased ever so slightly from 2006 to 2012 – by 0.20% – from 91.7 to 92.93 million head. And livestock on High Protein feeds have increased a nearly identical amount – 0.23% – from 143.54 million to 143.87 million head. Another claim not supported by USDA data.

    Corn used for ethanol – as noted above over the last 4 years use has been stable – 4591-2009, 5021-2010, 5050-2011 and for 2012, 4900 million bushels … sorry no smoking gun there either (FGYearbookTable31).

    Despite no large scale change in corn use for ethanol, from 2009 to present we have seen the price range from $4.39 Dec 2008 continuing to drop further to $4.25 Jun 2010 then skyrocket back up to $8.62 Jun 2011 and retreating to $7.42 in Jun 2012.

    If the overall total corn harvested, and the amount of corn used for ethanol, are both not significantly different over the last 4 years – then tell us again why that pesky ethanol is the reason for the run up in corn prices ….

  184. A. Scott says:

    eyesonu says:
    July 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    A. Scott says:
    July 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    1. Would like to tell us what the price of corn was prior to the government ethanol mandate? IIRC last years price was a record by about 600% above the avg prior to government mandates for ethanol.

    2. Would you like to tell us how much of a reduction in planted acres of soybeans, oats, and other grains were reduced as a result of the government ethanol mandate?

    3. Would you like to tell us how much the price of the grains increased with the land being converted to corn production?

    4. Would you be more truthful with your figures on this thread than the last?

    Would you tell us why you have such a dedicated interest in defending the corn lobby?

    Since you refuse to support your claims I guess I’ll have to address them. I’ll even use your data to do so for a good share of the response – you provided link earlier to a table from the “USDA Feed Grains Data: Yearbook Tables” … and other USDA data for rest.

    1. Avg corn price:
    1975-2000 – $2.37 actual … $ 2.30 CPI adjusted
    1913-2000 – $1.45 actual … $ 4.19 CPI adjusted
    2001-2012 – $3.58 actual … $ 1.72 CPI adjusted

    Sorry – while prices increased in the last 10 years as ethanol came in to use, as has been shown above those increases were not in any significant part related to ethanol – as wheat, barley, soybeans etc all saw nearly identical price spikes during that time.

    The CPI adjusted numbers show the real story however. Current prices are, when adjusted for inflation, well below the prices of the past – the many decades before ethanol.

    2. Sure … lets use your data, but this time lets not leave out 2012 numbers (million acres) …

    Corn –
    2005 = 81.78 … 2012 = 96.14 … net 14.63 million more acres of corn 2005 to 2012 …

    Sorghum –
    2005 = 6.45 … 2012 = 6.21 … net 0.24 million less acres of Sorghum2005 to 2012 …

    Barley –
    2005 = 3.88 … 2012 = 3.68 … net 0.20 million less acres of Barley2005 to 2012 …

    Oats –
    2005 = 4.25 … 2012 = 2.75 … net 1.50 million less acres of Oats 2005 to 2012 …

    Soybeans –
    2005 = 72.03 … 2012 = 76.10 … net 4.07 million MORE acres of soybeans 2005 to 2012 …

    Wheat –
    2005 = 57.21 … 2012 = 56.02 … net 1.19 million less acres of Wheat 2005 to 2012 …

    Funny thing there eyesonu … corn planted IS up 14.63 million acres 2012 vs 2005 …

    … but when you look at the rest of the crops the total reduction in planted acres 2012 vs 2005 is quite interesting … add up the reduction for all BUT soybeans and the answer to your question is there was a total reduction of 3.13 million planted acres between 2005 and 2012.

    And as for soybeans – their planted acres INCREASED by 4.07 million acres from 2005 to 2012.

    So the correct answer to you question is that 20012 vs 2005 the total reduction in acres planted for all the other other products – wheat, sorghum, barley, oats and soybeans – was … ooops a net INCREASE of 0.94 million acres (3.13 million less + 4.07 million more soybeans)

    There was NO NET REDUCTION IN PLANTED ACRES FOR OTHERS from 2005 to 2012 as a result of increased corn plantings.

    Well now … wasn’t THAT inconvenient to your claims?

    With that I need to get some sleep .. you ponder how you got in to such a predicament again … and I’ll try and address rest of your questions later …

    Here’s some help for you – the spreadsheet where I compiled the data for you … the answer why your conclusion, that the increased corn crop has seriously reduced other plantings, is wrong – is in there

    Now to be fair to you … I did not research locations – where each crop grows and/or was planted …the data set you orig provided – the USDA Feed Grains Data Yearbook, while extensive only gives us a national picture

  185. philincalifornia says:

    Not sure if it’s just 3 or 4 of us still reading this thread, but I thought that this announcement today follows on from some earlier comments I made. DoE grants, mostly for cellulosic:

    http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/bdigest/2012/07/26/pursuing-abundance-usda-doe-invest-41m-to-drive-biofuels-feedstock-yields-diversification/

    Scroll to the actual grant recipients. This is not an exercise in rent-seeking, but rather a sound investment for the future of the US economy. Not all of these will pan out, of course, but my point is that this is real research, advancing the science of biofuels. I’m not connected with any of this by the way, nor this, which was announced yesterday – a significant advance in yeast molecular biology for the cellulosic ethanol field:

    http://domesticfuel.com/2012/07/25/idiverses-new-yeast-gene-boosts-ethanol-production/

  186. A. Scott says:

    According to this story:

    http://www.agriculture.com/news/business/using-crop-insurce-in-2012_5-ar22519

    In Illinois for example – 81% of corn and soybean acres were insured in 2011 with multi-peril policies (all risk vs single policies ie: for hail only). The vast majority were insured with a form of Revenue Protection policies. The loss coverage ratio’s on the vast majority of the polices weres 7% to 85%

    As I understand it from this story:
    http://www.agriculture.com/news/crops/hedging-to-protect-crop-revenue_2-ar25402

    … the Crop Insurance works like this:

    The insurance protects farmer for a certain revenue guarantee. They take a “trend adjusted actual production yield history” yield times the higher of original projected price of the harvest price. When revenue is below the guarantee they pay projected (insured) revenue minus actual revenue received.

    When prices are above the projected, as they are now, insurance pays the yield shortfall times harvest price. It appears to me it would work like this:

    160 bushel/acre expected yield
    x 80% insured coverage
    = 128 bu/ac insured yield
    x $5.68 (2012 projected price)
    =$727 insured revenue per acre

    If your actual yield was 70 bu/acre and the harvest price was $7.00/bushel you would receive $490 per acre plus insurance would pay $237 per acre for total received of $727 per acre.

    Your FULL expected revenue per acre would have been 160 bu/ac yield x $5.68 projected price = $908 per acre. You would have taken a loss of 20% … but still likely made a small profit – I saw break 2012 even costs for corn noted as approaching $5.

    The story goes a step further and outlines how, when harvest price is well above projected insurance price, that the insurance becomes yield insurance. … (and how the insurance can be used as a hedge.)

    In same example above if the insured yield is 80% of 160 – or 128 bu/ac … and if the actual yield is 70 and the harvest price is $8.50 per bushel, the insurance would pay for 58 bushels at $8.50 = $493, plus the farmer would receive $8.50 x the 70 bu/ac actual crop = another $596 = total received of $1,088 … actually more than the projected original revenue. That said this is still 20% below what the original 160 acres would have returned at the $8.50 harvest price (= $1360 per acre).

    Regardless – in any event it seems pretty clear – while there may be insurance payments in some areas, looking at the whole crop (below), with the bushels harvested down 18.94% this would be below most insurance coverage caps. More important it seems are the other numbers – if I calculated right, based on a $5.68 pre-season projected price for this crop and an if the actual harvest price was $8.50 – the value of the 19% smaller than projected harvested crop would still be almost 50% higher than the VALUE of the original projected crop harvest.

    Last – it seems troubling, unless I misunderstand the program – that a farmer can make more than their original projected revenue. It would seem we should not be insuring, especially with subsidies, the speculative benefit/risk of price appreciation.

    96,410,000…. ac planted
    166….yield
    16,004,060,000….bushels
    $5.68….projected price
    $90,903,060,800….projected value
    ….
    88,850,000…. ac harvested….-7.84%
    146….yield….-12.05%
    12,972,100,000 …. bushels….-18.94%
    $8.50…. proj price ….49.65%
    $110,262,850,000 ….proj value….21.30%

  187. Carl Brannen says:

    Smokey writes: “Now it turns out that you’re also young enough to know everything. Must be nice, having no need of decades of real world experience.”

    Wrong. I’m in my 50s. I came back to grad school to finish a PhD in physics after a gap working as an engineer for 25 years. I know a lot more about these subjects than you can imagine. See if you can find my photo: http://www.physics.wsu.edu/personnel/gradir.htm

    I’d like to point out that you haven’t even attempted to refute any of the facts I’ve posted here.

  188. Rik Gheysens says:

    Today (July 30, 2012), in the newspaper “Le Soir” (Belgium) I read the striking statement of Olivier De Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. (own translation from French)
    “I am very upset about this subject [biofuels]. An irresponsable policy is being established. In the USA, 40% of the maize crop was used to produce ethanol! And the European Union continues to plan to impose the figured objectives for the year 2020 concerning biofuels. Since 4 years one is shouting his hoarse to explain that biofuels are a significant part of the problem concerning the right to food but nothing changes.
    Obviously there are interests to one cannot run counter, neither in the United States – and still less in this election year – nor in Europe!”

    I fully agree with his view. It’s really a shame!

  189. R C Christian says:

    Maintain a world population under 5,000,000
    Burn your food!

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