Piling On the Guilt

by John Goetz

Guilt, by Mark Nickels

Kate Raworth of Oxfam International recently authored a 34-page report that began: “In failing to tackle climate change with urgency, rich countries are effectively violating the human rights of millions of the world’s poorest people.

Kate goes on to claim that we now have determined with “scientific certainty” that climate change (not global warming?) is

creating floods, droughts, hurricanes, sea-level rise, and seasonal unpredictability. The result is failed harvests, disappearing islands, destroyed homes, water scarcity, and deepening health crises, which are undermining millions of peoples’ rights to life, security, food, water, health, shelter, and culture.

In other words, countries like the US, France, Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Canada (I listed members of the G8) are essentially using global warming to violate the human rights of, well, basically the rest of the world.

It certainly is an interesting tack for a climate change activist to take. Most people don’t like being accused of violating another’s human rights. Obviously, if Oxfam can convince people that by driving their kids to soccer practice that they are in fact depriving someone of their food,  health, or even life, they will be motivated by guilt to change their habits. Images of polar bears floating on ice floes must not have been enough.

Oxfam calls for urgent action, as outlined and excerpted here:

Rich countries must lead now in cutting global emissions

The science is clear: global warming must stay well below 2C to avoid creating irreversible climate impacts that would undermine millions of people’s rights. To keep the risk of exceeding 2C low, global emissions must peak by 2015 and then fall by at least 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

[How far below 2C “well below” means is unclear]

Rich countries must provide the finance needed for low-carbon technologies in developing countries

Since rich countries’ excessive emissions have left the rest of the world with so little atmospheric space, the global reductions required now threaten the right to development in poor countries. Rich countries must therefore deliver the finance and technology needed for poor countries to develop on low-carbon pathways and realise rights at the same time.

[Now global warming is reducing the size of the atmosphere!]

Rich countries must halt their biofuel policies which are undermining poor people’s right to food

…the current rush into biofuels is both failing to deliver emissions cuts, and undermining the rights of people in developing countries…Food prices have risen over 80 per cent in the last three years, with grain-price rises costing developing economies $324bn last year alone – more than three times what they received in aid. Rich-country biofuel programmes have been identified by the International Monetary Fund, among others, as a principal driver of this crisis, and may already be responsible for having pushed 30 million people into poverty.

[Does this mean Brazil can continue producing ethanol? And should we stop research into algal fuels?]

Rich countries must provide the finance needed for international adaptation

Since rich countries’ excessive emissions have put poor people’s rights at risk in developing countries, human-rights norms create a strong obligation for them to provide a remedy by financing adaptation…Adaptation finance must be provided as grants, since people in poor countries should not be expected to repay the funds needed to remedy violations of their rights.

[I think we need a list of “rich” and “poor” countries. Where do China, India, Brazil, and the UAE fall?]

Developing countries must focus their adaptation strategies on the most vulnerable people

National adaptation strategies must put communities at the centre of planning, focus particularly on women’s needs and interests, and guarantee essentials through social protection. Good practice is emerging – and it is working – but needs to spread much faster.

[I found this surprising. Does it mean global warming affects women more than men?]

Developing countries must have ownership in managing international adaptation funds

Since adaptation finance is owed to safeguard the rights of communities facing climate impacts, their governments must have ownership in managing international adaptation funds and, in turn, must be accountable to those communities when spending the finance.

[I am sure there is no threat of corruption, because this is climate change aid.]

Companies must call on governments to act with far greater urgency in cutting global emissions

In the run up to the UN’s 2007 Climate Conference in Bali, the business leaders of 150 leading global companies – from the USA to Europe, Australia, and China – called for a ‘sufficiently ambitious, international and comprehensive legally-binding United Nations agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions’, in order to give business long, legal, and loud signals to scale up investment in low-carbon technologies.

[Isn’t investment made when a return is to be had?]

Companies must take significant steps to cut their global emissions

Too few companies have started exploring how their own operations can be made climate resilient, let alone how their strategies for achieving supply-chain resilience could help or harm the communities – farmers, workers, neighbours, and consumers – they interact with in developing countries.

[That gives me an idea for a new executive position at my company: Chief Climate Resilience Officer]

So there you have it. Joe Smith, an apple farmer in Baroda, MI – if you want to clear your conscience of the human rights violations you are committing against Ho Si Thuan, a rice farmer in Quang Tri province, Viet Nam – you better start lobbying the US government and US companies to implement the steps outlined above. Otherwise, Mr. Thuan’s misfortunes will fall squarely in your lap.

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Patrick Henry
September 11, 2008 9:46 am

The basic assumptions about warming and CO2 levels seems to rest entirely on the unsubstantiated theories of a single global warming activist. Who chose Hansen to speak for the entire scientific community? The IPCC report doesn’t suggest the need to cut emissions by 90%.
Griffin needs to take action. It is his responsibility as Hansen’s employer.

Tom in Florida
September 11, 2008 9:49 am

“which are undermining millions of peoples’ rights to life, security, food, water, health, shelter, and culture.”
Notice what is left out? FREEDOM!
“and guarantee essentials through social protection”
and guarantee nothing else but “essentials” that some hierarchy will determine for you.
Socialism always “guarantees” that at you will have “enough” which is usually only enough to be miserable without any chance of having anything better. Of course, this doesn’t apply to those in charge because they believe that we are all equal except some are more equal than others.

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 9:51 am

This goes back to what I’ve been saying all along. They want to de-industrialize us back to the stone-age.
They say we need to fund “low-carbon” technologies in other countries. They know this isn’t feasible on national levels, so they know we can’t do it, therefore we will ultimately fail. And they can continue to point fingers.
Of course by using computers and the web to get their message out, their some of the most guilty of climate criminals.

Steven Hill
September 11, 2008 9:58 am

“Of course, this doesn’t apply to those in charge because they believe that we are all equal except some are more equal than others.”
This is exactly correct and let’s not forget this, EVER!
If the media get’s it way, they will learn very fast when they lose all freedom of speech!

September 11, 2008 10:03 am

Great points, Anthony and Tom!

Bill Marsh
September 11, 2008 10:07 am

Sounds like a case of ‘eco-imperialism’ to me. Only don’t we have to include China in that list now that China is the world leader in CO2 atmospheric injection??

Mike Sivertsen
September 11, 2008 10:14 am

Guilt results from fear (False Evidence Appearing Real) and the greens exploit both. As Jonah Goldberg wrote in the LA Times:
“Environmentalism’s most renewable resources are fear, guilt and moral bullying. ”
No wonder we see declining enrollment in science and engineering. Children are being indoctrinated at an early age that man is the despoiler and that ANY conversion of natural resources into something that benefits mankind is to be resisted or stopped completely. Guilt is a strong motivator and is used effectively by those in the environmental camp to subvert our own children.
Those who realize it’s about freedom, not climate, must continue to speak out against the prelude to humanity’s greatest danger: energy rationing.
Those who control the energy will control the people.

September 11, 2008 10:17 am

I actually agree with Oxfam’s biofuels policy at least as it relates to using food crops for biofuel production. I also think this is the greatest reason to be a PASSIONATE skeptic. There is a perception that there is no harm in taking action to curb greenhouse gas emmisions. Biofuels are the first program instituted in the US to combat climate change and there are obviously far ranging (and for some severe) unintended economic and environmental consequences while there is little or not benefit with respect to CO2 emission, let along climate change. I wish every decision maker in the world would look carefully at the biofuels debacle before they make any new policy decisions on global warming. We are off to a very bad start.

Bill in Vigo
September 11, 2008 10:22 am

This person might be a “Climate Scientist” but she certainly isn’t an economist. I do believe her figures are a bit low as most liberal estimates of cost of their pet projects usually are. the earth needs saving but it isn’t from variable temperatures within the normal variability. The cost of the recomended actions will overwhelm the ability of the “rich countries” to finance and maintain Production of the stuff that the world “poor countries” need.
Bill Derryberry

Cathy Wilson
September 11, 2008 10:26 am

Jaw-dropping idiocy.
I’ll share my mantra for maintaining mental equilibrium whilst all this craziness swirls around us:
We live in interesting times. (Repeat as needed)
Anthony, your balanced reporting and wit are a wonderful antidote.
To you other WUWT fans:
I invite you to visit the donate button with me.

September 11, 2008 10:27 am

Take a look at those youtube video. The guy explains well why it does not take more fuel to create ethanol from crops. The idea that it takes more fuel to make ethanol is a sham from the BigOil to prohibit every farmer to produce cheap alternative fuel… and food!

September 11, 2008 10:28 am
Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 10:38 am

I actually agree with Oxfam’s biofuels policy at least as it relates to using food crops for biofuel production. I also think this is the greatest reason to be a PASSIONATE skeptic. There is a perception that there is no harm in taking action to curb greenhouse gas emmisions. Biofuels are the first program instituted in the US to combat climate change and there are obviously far ranging (and for some severe) unintended economic and environmental consequences while there is little or not benefit with respect to CO2 emission, let along climate change. I wish every decision maker in the world would look carefully at the biofuels debacle before they make any new policy decisions on global warming. We are off to a very bad start.

I agree that biofuels are a bad idea as well, but I don’t think Oxbreath believes so for the same reasons. Even if food crops aren’t being used, farmers, seeing more of a profit in biofuel crops, will switch to whatever is fashionable at the moment. So even if they’re not using a food crop for biofuels, land used for growing food might not be. So even while there might be plenty of arable land, there are only so many farmers, and they’re going to be looking at their own bottom line.

September 11, 2008 10:38 am

Isn’t ‘Big Oil’ investing pretty heavy in ethanol and bio-diesel production facilities? I seem to remember reading something to that effect somewhere.
If that is true, why would ‘BigOil’ then go and lie?
A quick google on just one of the ‘Big Oil’ companies turned up lots of involvement.
BP Alternative Energy for example.
And if you are disinclined to believe what BP says they are doing, then actions speak louder than words here: BP taking stake in Brazil biofuel

David Gladstone
September 11, 2008 10:43 am

This woman is a dupe for some big interests, obviously. She knows nothing about climate or world resources. The Bernaysian style propaganda she is mouthing is dangerous; a threat to our freedoms and lives. I want to make certain that this organization isn’t getting any of my tax dollars!

Wondering Aloud
September 11, 2008 10:53 am

Warming and CO2 rise both increase food production.
A woman without a clue.

September 11, 2008 11:10 am

Dee Norris, in one simple answer: If you can’t prevent it, control it!

Anthony Isgar
September 11, 2008 11:11 am

The fact of the matter is corn ethanol production is not yet profitable for companies in the US to do. The cost and income are both determined by energy use when you break everything down to the root cost. A farmer has to pay for the energy used to create the fertilizer, transport the fertilizer, apply the fertilizer, create the insecticides and herbicides, etc etc. The only reason corn ethanol production is being done now in the US is because farmers get a subsidy per acre plus the final product is sold without a gas tax. So when you see corn ethanol at a lower price then gasoline, keep in mind that it is actually more expensive then gasoline because the tax on gasoline is over half of the cost, and you payed tax money to the farmer for him to grow it. I don’t know the exact numbers but as an example:
Gasoline price: $2 before tax, $4 after
Ethanol price: $3 before tax, $3 after
Sugar cane can be effectively and profitably turned into ethanol, which is why Brazil has been doing it for many years. If the companies doing research now on GE bacteria are able to create a bacteria that can convert the stalks and husks of the corn into ethanol, it will become much more profitable. That is where the government money should be going to, not going into the farmer’s pockets.

Bill Marsh
September 11, 2008 11:12 am

Where in this thread was it posted that it takes more fuel to create ethanol? I don’t see it.
It does cost almost as much fuel to produce the fertilizer used to grow the crop, tend the crop, harvest it, transport it to the ethanol plant, then truck the ethanol to the refinery to be mixed with fuel.
That and the payback in carbon savings is roughly 100-150 years, not mention the cost penalty inflicted on the poor by the diversion of food to fuel.
All in all ethanol, especially ethanol made from corn, does not provide any of the benefits it is touted to provide and it turns out that ethanol burned as part of the combustion process pumps carcinogens into the atmosphere. It might be worse than gasoline. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/03/tech/main508006.shtml , http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9647424 I suppose that NPR is a shill for ‘BigOil’ tho 🙂

September 11, 2008 11:20 am

There is a right to shelter? Where’s the mansion which I am entitled to?

September 11, 2008 11:20 am

Hi Ray. Conversion of lands from food crops to biofuel is taking food out of the mouths of very poor people. See Associated Press story from Time’s website below regarding the rising cost of soy — the only form of protein most poor people can afford in Southeast Asia.
So, though you clearly WANT to be down with the people, if you are going to BE down with the people, you may have to let go of your belief in biofuel.
As Soy Costs Soar, the Poor Panic
(SURABAYA, Indonesia) — With the dollar a day he earns scrounging for scrap metal and paper, Jumadi can’t buy his family beef or even chicken. But until now, the rail-thin scavenger could at least afford soy.
His wife and two children snacked on slabs of fried fermented soy, known as tempeh, and tossed the cake — like staple into bland bowls of noodles and soup. The soy provided protein, and it was cheap.
Not any more. The cost of tempeh and tofu has doubled to record highs, driven by the soaring price of soybeans imported from the United States.
“What kind of life is this?” complained the 25-year-old, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, as he stood outside his plywood shack that was buzzing with flies. “I just eat crackers now.”
The cost of soy is spreading hunger on the country’s main island of Java, where millions of poor and working-class families depend on tofu and tempeh every day. It is also devastating an entire local industry based on soy products. Hundreds of factories have closed, thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest soy prices and at least one soy vendor killed himself after falling into debt.
About 20 percent of soy now goes to make biodiesel in the U.S., up from almost nothing three years ago, the FAO said.
— Michael Case, Associated Press, Sept. 6, 2008.
link to full article is here:

Pieter Folkens
September 11, 2008 11:21 am

I keep going back to a number of papers that appeared in Nature, one in 2000 and another in 2005, in which it was determined that the majority of anthropogenic CO2 emissions were from Third World home fires. Other articles noted that deforestation accounted for 40% of the residual excess CO2 and ocean pollution caused a decrease in productivity further reducing the natural ability of the earth system to absorb and sequester atmospheric carbon.
Nowhere did Ms. Raworth mention the other obvious and significant factors contributing to the rise in residual CO2, not to mention the growing body of knowledge that shows CO2 is not driving the climate change.
If she is a scientist, she must be one of those in social or political science, not atmospheric science or meteorology.

Bill Illis
September 11, 2008 11:29 am

Can anyone provide an example of how their local climate has actually changed as a result of climate change?
Some say that Australia is having increasing droughts – this seems to be cyclical.
Some say Bangladesh is facing increased coastal flooding – this hasn’t really changed over millenium.
Some say the Cascades snowpack has declined – long-term records show nothing unusual is happening and this year, there was near record snowpacks.
The Island of Tuvala will be sunk by rising sea level – sea levels are increasing by 3.2 mms per year or 1.7 inches over the past 15 years – the same rates as 1850 before CO2 started increasing – the tides are 3 feet, how do you notice 1.7 inches over 15 years.
The Arctic ice is melting – this also seems to be cyclical – let alone that the biggest cycle is the fact that it always melts in August and starts refreezing in late September.
Glaciers melting – since 1800 that is before global warming had an impact.
Any REAL ones?

Jack Simmons
September 11, 2008 11:30 am

Let’s see…
Do I feel guilty about my CO2?
Not at all. In fact, I love my CO2. It is free fertilizer for the poor farmers of the world.
No guilt here.

September 11, 2008 11:31 am

Bill, I am talking about the general perception that you need more fuel to create biofuel from crops. Have you watched the video?
To clarify, I am not talking about cost. The cost of fossil fuel is controlled and manipulated to optimize their profits, without having a revolution over it. But we need to bring this in energy units. It takes less energy to create ethanol from crops. Corn is one of the worse crop. However, the utilization of the rest of the plant should also be included and used to offset the cost and increase the efficiency of the process.

September 11, 2008 11:39 am

Oxfam ceased to be a true charity more than 20 years ago, since then it has been an overt campaigning organisation for global-government socialist idealogues who cannot gain power through the ballot box. The whole argument is, of course, built on a bed of sand and I don’t just mean the AGW Armageddon theory. Obviously the argument disappears if the AGW theory is incorrect; but even if it is correct, no amount of de-industrialisation in the west will make a difference because China and India are going to continue their thrust for development so that CO2 emissions cannot possibly fall as Oxfam requires.
What a quaint world it was when Oxfam (an Oxford based charity concerned with alleviating famine, hence the name) concentrated on doing good rather than on political grandstanding. Back then they had the sense to realise that the most effective action is not gesture politics but actual physical assistance by way of developing agricultural techniques to maximise crops and bringing modern medicine into the poorest countries.
If they want to preach, let them preach about corruption – the biggest hurdle to alleviating poverty, especially in Africa. Grandiose political schemes inevitably allow governments control over how the scheme operates in their country. All too often the result is billions syphoned-off to Swiss bank accounts by the venal politicians, billions spent on bureaucracy to reward party loyalists with high paying non-jobs, billions spent on armed forces to defend the rulers and their new wealth and that which is actually spent on the citizens being allocated along party or tribal lines.
Where was the condemnation of human rights breaches by corrupt governments, politically controlled police forces and partisan courts? Where was the call to make all aid conditional on the release of political prisoners? Where was the call to make all aid conditional on fair allocation on the ground? In short where was the call for the recipient countries themselves to cease to violate their citizens’ human rights?
The idea that I should pay extra taxes to drive my car because (like the wings of the proverbial butterfly) it has consequences to the human rights of people overseas is a complete nonsense when those people are deprived of anything vaguely resembling human rights by their own governments.
With any luck this naive and impractical report is printed on soft paper so it can be hung up in the lavatory and put to a fitting use.

September 11, 2008 11:42 am

*** “Eco-reparations”***

Dave Dodd
September 11, 2008 11:42 am

Let us not forget that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and their allied loonies in Congress are doing their utmost best to paddle the US up the same creek. At the risk of politicizing, might I suggest these folks need to have their fangs pulled as well!

September 11, 2008 11:46 am

Dee Norris, in one simple answer: If you can’t prevent it, control it!
‘BigOil’… Ahhhh… How about we avoid yet another pejorative like ‘climate denier’, OK?
Anyhow, the major petroleum companies are in the energy business and they all know that eventually petroleum will run out under the generally accepted biotic-origin theory.
They would be mighty foolish not to diversify into other energy sources which also have a good alignment with their current markets. It is not about controlling it at all. It is just capitalism in action. If hydrogen technology eventually reaches a point of marketability, expect them to move into supplying those markets as well.
Where I see butterflies, others see two bats tugging at each other. The inkblot remains the same.

Brian in AK
September 11, 2008 11:51 am

Freedom isn’t popular with the media or academia. One relies on “insider information” from politicians and the other on government grants in order to exist, and stepping on toes isn’t appreciated.
“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H. L. Mencken
Snip if you will, moderator, but I’d like to add that along with this fine website I visit http://www.lewrockwell.com daily to check on the political climate, from a refreshingly free point of view.

September 11, 2008 11:53 am

Dee, did you know that they produce the majority of hydrogen from fossil fuel? They break it down to produce hydrogen and… CO2! Of course they will move in any direction where they can provide the “fuel” in order to make money. You can bet that if we eventually fill our cars with water, they will sell water!

Stu S
September 11, 2008 11:57 am

So we either bankrupt ourselves giving money to the third world
or we destroy our economies by attempting to cut our CO2 footprints to ridiculous levels?
Who will Oxfam turn to for funding then?

September 11, 2008 12:00 pm

Old man, you have to know that most of the corn grown in the usa is not for human consumption anyway. It is mainly for process and cattle. The rise in food cost was clearly the result of increased fuel price (from many causes) and this had an impact over the whole chain of food production.
Of course the system is not perfect. But on the long run, we need to find alternative solutions to reduce the price to produce and move things around. We can look at better efficiency for the transports, but we certainly need also alternative fuels.
Stopping wars and protectionism would also be a good start.

Ed Scott
September 11, 2008 12:15 pm

Carbon Dioxide Is A Great Gas, Not A Pollutant

September 11, 2008 12:19 pm

Yes, steam reforming of natural gas is the only cost effective way to generate hydrogen (it is about 80% efficient) on a large scale but is foolish to power our cars this way since using the natural gas directly is more efficient and only requires a minor conversion of existing engine technology. As I said, hydrogen technology is not ready for market yet.
Hydrogen is not a primary energy source, but is an efficient way to store energy produced by other means, be it solar, wind, nuclear, etc…
Once nuclear power generation is under full swing again, look for cheap hydrogen generated at the plant by the electrolysis of the waste water from the final cooling cycle prior to discharge. Once hydrogen technology is common, it also might be a wiser use of wind turbines to generate hydrogen in-situ which will store the ‘wind energy’ for later consumption.
I am not a fan of large industrial wind turbines as their profitability is a product of tax breaks. However, that being said, if highway-rated all electric cars become cost effective (or a hydrogen transportation system materializes within my life time), having a 10 kw residential turbine on the mountain ridge at the back of my property starts to become attractive with a reasonable ROI that is within the expected lifespan of the turbine itself. If I could get my hands on one of those Ford Explorer electrics, I consider installing a turbine immediately.
My actions would solely be guided by economics and not by any misguided notion of reducing my ‘carbon footprint’. IMHO, CO2 is plant food, not a threat to the planet.

Bill Marsh
September 11, 2008 12:28 pm

Never said it did, nor has anyone else here that I can see. Last estimate I saw was it takes about a litre of petroleum based fuel to produce 1.25 litres of ethanol from corn. Of course you have to consider that ethanol contains less ‘energy’ than gasoline so a direct comparison is not appropriate.
If anything we should be using switchgrass rather than corn, but that is turning out to be a political morass similar to the cotton vs hemp issue in the 30s.
But that does not deal with the issue of the relative unhealthiness of ethanol.

September 11, 2008 12:30 pm

We should lobby for a “Carbon Cycle” Day.

September 11, 2008 12:41 pm

Fine. So the developed world blows half its economic growth, based on a scientific theory (feedback loops) recently called into extemely serious question.
What effect does one suppose that will have on the poorest nations of the world? These holier-than-thou honkers make me tired. If one is going to be that sanctimonious, it well behooves one to make damnsure one is right, and that possible (and actual) unintended consequences are carefully examined. (c.f., the joys of ethanol, crossref. food riots)
My high horse can beat up their high horse.

Don Shaw
September 11, 2008 12:49 pm

As an Engineer who has worked in the energy business for over 40 years, I can tell you that I would not stake my personal investments or the energy future/economic prosprity of our country on some dude in U-tube touting ethanol.
I have had the opportunity to talk with high level management in a major oil company who informed me that they performed studies on ethanol since some president in their company thought that making ethanol would be a good business. I can tell you that using ethanol for a moror fuel was thoroughly examined by many of the brightest engineers and scientiests who graduated from the best universities in the country. It was clear that ethanol does not make sense from the thermodynamic or economic viewpoint. Notice how the “dude” claims that scientist like the one from Cornell University are paid for by “big oil” and therefore they are lying. Of course we know that this is the same tactic used by the global warmist crowd when they cannot debate the subject on the merits. One needs to keep in mind that the corn lobby is the most effective and corrupt of any in Washington. If you don’t believe it loook at all the subsidies that go to the farmers, the ethanol plants, etc. Each gallon of ethanol that goes into my gas tank gets a 53 cent subsidy and no road tax is paid. Why is there a huge import duty on imported ethanol that can be made more efficiently with sugar cane? Brazil is now testing this in the world courts. Because of the corn state interest there is (corrrupt?) support from both Republicans and Democrats. Surprising, the Republican platform wants to end ethanol mandates.
Over the past 8 years I have personally studied from an engineering viewpoint both sides of the ethanol claims ethanol (especially from corn). You will find that there are a lot of papers written on both sides each with its claims regarding the energy required to produce ethanol from corn and other cellulosic materials. When one studies the production of ethanol from corn as an engineer one finds that a large amout of energy is required including 1) oil products (farmers use diesel for ther tractors and diesel is required to truck the ethanol to market), 2) natural gas (fertilizer is made from natural gas and some processing requires natural gas), and electricity (incremental electricity is now provided via Natural gas). The Cornell professor provides a more complete list. When one reads the Department of Agriculture studies, which claim a net energy plus by manufacturing ethanol, one finds that all the energy input is not assigned to the product ethanol but rather the input energy is distributed also to the waste products according to the relative mass. The assumption is that someday a technology will evolve that will allow energy to be derived from the waste products. I have trouble accepting such an economic assumption. Also the water required to grow corn has a serious impact on the water tables-another subject!
If Ethanol made sense, the Oil companies would be already doing it big time. They have been investing billions over many years to find a replacement for crude oil, knowing that someday it may be in short supply. Fortunately for them and us, new oil and gas finds around the world have postponed the day of judgment when we run out of oil. Believe it, their primary interest is in making money for the stockholders, they don’t care where the energy comes from. Being close to the industry I know that, over many years, the oil companies have invested in and researched, Nuclear, fuel cells, batteries, fuel cells, coal liquifaction,coal gasifiation, shale, tar sands, LNG, Gas to Liquids, CO2 capture, ethanol, and probably other potential sources I don’t know about. I have personally earned income working on many of these studies/projects.
Finally keep in mind that energy supply is a world wide problem and if you believe that Europe, China, India, etc would let US oil companies impact their economies, I can’t debate the subject intelligently.
Bottom line let the free market decide, not mandates or subsidies determine the relative benefits of ethanol. So far the free market tells us that Ethanol is a bust.

Craig D. Lattig
September 11, 2008 12:53 pm

Dee Norris
Nice post. I have had several years of experience, both overseas and here in the US, operating LPG powered cars. I’m not a fan. Why complicate a simple non-presurized liquid system by replacing it with a pressurized gas? I know the tech is now better and safer than what I am used to…but I have still seen the remains of a number of LPG cars that suffered a “gas leak”.
So, how do you feel about using coal to make our own liquid fuels? The tech is proven and the price seems right….and we have on the order of 800 years worth of coal…lots of time to invent something better. I know it drives the AGW beleivers batty…but for the rest of us, it seems sencible. Your feedback would be appreciated.

Richard deSousa
September 11, 2008 12:58 pm

Raworth is full of bovine excrement. It’s the enviro-nuts who have prevented the use of DDT in Africa and other tropical countries which has caused the death of millions of humans. And it is the enviro-nuts who want to keep the undeveloped countries from developing an industrial economy. Pox on their offspring.

September 11, 2008 1:03 pm

I love my ethanol in by beer, wine and whiskey!
The issue about emission of VOC and NOx from the IC engines has been solved for gasoline/diesel, it cans also be solved for ethanol based motors. Regular fuel motors still emit formaldehyde and it was found that the addition of ethanol in the gasoline increase the amount generated. Usually the 3-way catalytic converter takes care of that. But of course, if you want to burn ethanol in your motor, the oxygen ration needs to be changed in order for the catalyst to be effective. I am sure other catalysts are being formulated for that purpose.
So, after taxing us on our carbon emission, they will tax us on our formaldehyde emission. However, if we could have a perfect fuel that would be 100% renewable, they would not have any reason to tax us then.

Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 1:11 pm

Ray I guess you haven’t heard of the 100% renewable fuel tax proposal before congress yet.

September 11, 2008 1:18 pm

I doubt we will be seeing LPG transportation anytime soon other than fleet vehicles. It problem is not the conversion, but the deliver to the consumer.
Coal is a different story. The USA has a LOT of coal and so do a lot of energy dependent countries. The potential energy in coal can be transformed into a LOT of storage products including SynGas and SynFuel as well released as electricity. Best of all, we can still use the existing infrastructure for delivery (that is the major cost of switching fuel sources) and consumption.
You forgot to mention Shale Oils!
I don’t worry about running out of carbon fuels during my lifetime or my child’s, but I do worry about the cost of obtaining the fuel due to short-sighted, politically motivated actions that artificially curtail our access to supplies of fossil fuel and analog products.

September 11, 2008 1:28 pm

I know that the Oil companies are on the bandwagon to find alternatives. And we all know that politics has a very strong impact on the direction and decisions. It is well known that corn is the worse choice of crop to produce ethanol, but some guys in Washington seem to have invested in the wrong crop and thus are forcing hard to keep it that way. This is of course not good for the technology development. There are way better sources to produce ethanol and technologies to come that will use it efficiently, ethanol fuel cell are just around the corner.
But rest assure that if ethanol did not make sense for the petroleum industry, they would not blend it in normal gasoline.

September 11, 2008 1:34 pm

And now for a bit of levity…
If my car runs on 100% ethanol and I forget to replace the cap on the fuel tank, can I get a ticket for driving with an open container?

Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 1:34 pm

When I am King, carbon emissions will be valuable. Right now the low carbon nations are depending on the United States, and other forward thinking countries, for their CO2. Without the additional CO2 produced by all right thinking people, crops would not have the current high yields!
Every time I start my SUV, someone needs to be writing me a check.
Thank you,

September 11, 2008 1:36 pm

Dee… only if you exceed 0.08 mg/L-km.

Craig D. Lattig
September 11, 2008 1:36 pm

I tried to stay away from shale and sand oil deposites as being a different subject…but developing them just helps us stretch things out even more. We don’t have a shortage of raw material…we have a seriuously misguided inability to use it.
And yes, anything that lets us use the existing support structure should be the direction we go…the AGW folks have no idea how truly difficult it would actully be to build a whole new infastructure and demand that everyone junk their existing car and go buy a new one…no, wait…they want all of us on bicycles, don’t they….
BTW I know LPG cars are perfectly safe, right off the showroom floor. The problems show up 10 years later and with the 3rd owner….
Observation: My ability to mispell is exceeded only by my tendency to mistipe!

September 11, 2008 1:37 pm

A little off topic but has anyone ever read about greenpeace and their crusade on
In Peru, the suspension of water chlorination as an experiment in 1991 resulted in a massive and unnecessary epidemic–causing more than one million cases of cholera and 19,000 deaths to date–that has spread to fourteen other South and Central American countries.

Craig D. Lattig
September 11, 2008 1:47 pm

When I did public health in Germany, the community water systems were not chlorinated. German courts had decided that adding chlorine to the water constituted subjecting the public to involuntary medication…similar to the stand you sometimes see taken against flouride here in the US. I understand that most of the EU has been going along with this idea…but I’ve been back here for several years, so someone correct me if things have changed.

September 11, 2008 1:52 pm

Yet another charity that I need to stop my monthly donations to, on account of their policies. This reminds me of a particular UK charity devoted to helping the homeless. I heard from people who work closely on the scene, that the policies of this homelessness charity end up keeping on the street individuals who are known to be violent and a danger to the community. In their thinking, they are protecting the individual from the bad evil authoritarian system/state, but in pursuing their warped worldview, they end up creating new and real victims. Basically they believe that the individuals were not “bad”, they were simply mentally unable to control their own behavior, and so it would be “grossly unfair” to take action against them, and they work to block the authorities’ actions. Meanwhile these individuals continue to harass, abuse, steal, threaten, and assault members of the community. It was a real eye opener which made me wonder where my money was going.

September 11, 2008 1:55 pm

It can take more energy to produce ethanol than you get back from the ethanol. But it doesn’t have to.
It all depends upon the crop, the land, the climate, the various costs of farming, and the method of making ethanol. Traditional fermentation of grains isn’t very effective and you probably won’t break even. Modern industrial fermentation can bring you somewhat above the break even point. It still isn’t good enough.
Bottom line: grains won’t do it. Better to eat them ourselves.
Sugar cane, switchgrass, and several other crops do much better. Fermentation is economically worthwhile. Even so, this is not the long term solution. It is hard on land and removes it from food production.
We can also produce ethanol from roughage such as corn stalks and other cellulosic materials. Unfortunately nature isn’t helping our scientists much. The scientists will work it out. Five years.
Another approach is to use algae and CO2 and sunlight. No crop input at all. This is simple in concept, difficult in execution, and not very successful yet. But it will be. Over five years away.
Remember, it is not sufficient that a method work. It must defeat other energy sources. Nuclear, wind, fossil, solar. It must also defeat rival biofuels such as biodiesel or butanol. Don’t bet on ethanol ever being a dominant fuel.

Bill McClure
September 11, 2008 2:06 pm

Oxfam. Sorry I farm and their stance on agricultureal issues are dead wrong. THe answer to feeding the poor is more technology(improved seed genetics,fertilization, and the use of pesticidies) and allowing free markets to work. In Africa the most hunger and the poorest human conditions happen because of tyranny or dictatorships. Their answer to global agricultureal policy is dead wrong so anything they have to say about Carbon Dioxide or glabal warming has to be jusr as wrong headed

September 11, 2008 2:10 pm

New water purification systems use ozone to oxidize the bacteria and organic molecules. The ozone decomposes back to oxygen in a short period of time. However, remember this: These methods destroy the pathogens and chemicals but at then end they are still in the water.

September 11, 2008 2:17 pm

That reminds me of the story where a woman asks W.C. Fields:
Woman: “Why don’t you drink water?”
W.C. Fields: “Because fish piss in it!”

September 11, 2008 2:25 pm

I think this is the exact quote: “”I can’t stand water because of the things fish do in it.”

Bill McClure
September 11, 2008 2:29 pm

there is a simple answer to higfh food prices because of biofuels. Allow more acres out of the Conservation Reserve Program. There are millions of acres that could be released to grow crops but lobbying by several conservation and hunting groups kept these acres in the program. You can now enjoy hunting more phesant and quail.
Corn prices were also driven higher this summer by speculators. Corn reached $8.00 a buschel because of the amount of money speculators had in the corn market. Corn is now in the 45.00 range.

September 11, 2008 2:30 pm

” It certainly is an interesting tack for a climate change activist to take.”
I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this approach. This is right out of the Marxist playbook. Sorry for diving below the line here and being so cynical, but it’s hard not to believe the underlying agenda for many who champion the climate change dogma is an ultimate normalization of the world’s wealth.

September 11, 2008 2:30 pm

The AGW alarmists need to understand that a business case needs to be made for any alternatives they are suggesting otherwise taking the sort of actions they recommend will only result in an overall reduction in wealth in the west and even poverty.
The problem with losing wealth and poverty is that societies affected tend not to focus on higher order issues such as social justice, the environment, the arts, education and so on. But in their desparate need to get out of poverty they may listen to the socialist promising a workers’ paradise; e.g Hugo Chavez.
Ah … now I see the strategy.

Don Shaw
September 11, 2008 2:46 pm

Did I misunderstand you? Ethanol is added to our gasoline via a congrssional mandate. The oil companies resisted but lost. It is very expensive to handle ethanol due to it’s affinity for water and it’s short shelf life. Every gasoline fuel tank had to be cleaned and/or replaced to handle ethanol. Even so, many boaters experienced major problems including fuel tank failures, engine failures, breakdowns, hose and gasket failures, and carburetor problems. I know some privately owned fuel stations decided to go out of the gas sale business rather than spend the money.
Also the alternative oxygenate MTBE (that was initially pushed by the greenies and the government) was subsequently found to risk pollution in our undergroundwater system since it is soluble in water. Congress refused to allow lawsuit liability limits. With unlimited liabiity, no one would continue to use MTBE to satisfy the EPA mandated oxygenate. Me thinks the congress was giving the corn lobby yet another bone for votes and favors mostly from AMD (Archer Daniels Midland) and the corn lobby.

Ed Scott
September 11, 2008 3:27 pm

Old Farmers Almanac: Global cooling may be underway

September 11, 2008 3:31 pm

Bottom line let the free market decide, not mandates or subsidies determine the relative benefits of ethanol. So far the free market tells us that Ethanol is a bust.
Amen to that!
If these so-called “greedy oil companies” are so darn greedy, don’t folks think they will act in their greedy self-interest? Sheesh!
I think that one of the reality separations between the US and the rest of the world is that they don’t really understand (or accept the reality of) the sharp division between US wealth and political power.
Nor do a lot of Americans, either, but that’s another sad story. Yes, we have lobbies. Yes, money talks. But it doesn’t rule, and it hasn’t for quite some time.

September 11, 2008 4:01 pm

I think there is one big assumption that most on the left-of-spectrum make, such as this author. That is the right to “life, security, food, water, health, shelter, and culture.”
If these things are truly rights, then that must include the right to force another person, with physical violence if necessary, to provide it for them. These are not, and cannot be, rights because inherent in them is the obligation of another to subordinate their own rights to them.
No person has a right to force another human being to perform labour for their own benefit. Period. America gave up that idea about 150 years ago, but it looks like it’s alive and well in some quarters.

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 4:32 pm

no, wait…they want all of us on bicycles, don’t they….

Nope. Bicycles require manufacturing facilities, steel (or aluminum or some alloy), rubber, plastic, etc. They want us in bare feet and unclothed, living in caves or out in the open.

Pamela Gray
September 11, 2008 5:26 pm

Anyone remember what Edison went through when inventing the lightbulb? Anyone? What did the gas company want to do? Encourage him? Join in the experiments? Share the profits from lightbulbs? Or stand by gas lights? Times of creative inventions are haralded not by supporters but by detractors. We are in a time of creativity regarding energy and this blog is full of detractors. What the detractors fail to see is that we are in the period of the first 1000 tries not working so well. I could not give a rat’s ass about CO2. But I am all for inventiveness. And a free market economy regarding ethanol sources. Along with any other energy invention that doesn’t work at first. One of them eventually will.

Leon Brozyna
September 11, 2008 5:48 pm

So, she says that the rich countries “are undermining millions of peoples’ rights to life, security, food, water, health, shelter, and culture.”
There has, over the past century, been such a proliferation of ‘rights’ that the concept itself is becoming so trivialized to the point of becoming meaningless. How are such alleged ‘rights’ to be satisifed?
As Ayn Rand noted in her essay, Man’s Rights, {April 1963}:
“The right to life is the source of all rights—and the right to property is their only implementation. Without property rights, no other rights are possible. Since man has to sustain his life by his own efforts, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave.”
“The right to life…does not mean that others must provide him with food, clothing and shelter.”
“The right to property…does not mean that others must provide him with property.”
Of course in promulgating all these alleged ‘rights’, it is now so easy to let glibly slide off your tongue any other manufactured ‘right’ you can imagine without having the faintest idea of what a real right is.

Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 6:43 pm

I think that Edison found 10,000 things that did not work as filaments. But what did he mean by not working? Well, of course it had to glow and keep glowing reliably day and night. It also had to be cheap enough so that he could manufacture it, and sell it at a price high enough to make money and supplant natural gas. Edison did all that after huge investments of time and his own money. He traveled around the world to find the best material for the carbon filament spending approximately $100,000. He found a certain bamboo in Japan that met his specs.
Solar and wind have used billions of OUR tax dollars since the 1970’s, and they are still not cheap enough to sell to the masses, or reliable enough to supplant the existing forms of energy. When we stop funding it, maybe someone will figure out how to make it pay. Until it pays, it will not supplant the cheap, reliable energy that we enjoy today.

Bobby Lane
September 11, 2008 7:48 pm

Again, this is the transnational beauracrat’s way of fixing the world. Since there is no way that everyone can not be guilty of “climate change,” and we are so certain that the climate is changing for the utmost worst, it is everybody’s fault. Thus everybody gets a piece of the blame and thus everybody gets their own outlined responsibilities.
You know, once upon a time, responsibility used to belong to the realm of the individual. Individuals take responsibility or not. You can’t really pin it on a collective or a group because some out of those people may have chosen to do their utmost, as is their right, to try and alleviate the situation. Others, such as we here, may disagree with the analysis of the situation and choose not to take the path outlined, and that is our right.
Seeing this, I have just eight words for Ms. Raworth of Oxfam:
“Kindly stay out of my business. Thank you.”

September 11, 2008 8:52 pm

Oh Mr Goetz, you are such a tease! I know you wrote this just to get someone to rant:
(15:15:39) :
” “… National adaptation strategies must put communities at the centre of planning, focus particularly on women’s needs and interests, and guarantee essentials through social protection.”

Are they saying global warming affects women more than men?”
Ok, here goes.
The key is in the heading to this quote, the heading is: “Developing countries must focus their adaptation strategies on the most vulnerable people”.
On the hypothesis that the evil capitalist West is delivering plague and pestilence upon the otherwise wealthy and happy people of the developing world, the question is who suffers most? As a general principle those who suffer most are the elderly, the young and those with pre-existing medical conditions causing increased susceptibility to plague and pestilence.
In the developing world who looks after these vulnerable groups? Women. The men are, presumably, too busy hunting and, in the fetid minds of lefty idealogues, are incapable of doing the things women do.
Therefore, if the vulnerable are to be supported first it is especially important to look after the carers, namely, the women.
It is not that global warming affects women more than men, the point made is that the women are more important in the struggle to look after the vulnerable.
Within the parameters of the argument being advanced there is a certain logic to it, but it’s based on a non sequitur. The Raworth person fails to appreciate that within the societies in which the man is always the hunter-gatherer and the woman is always the carer, it is the man who has the higher status. Culturally it is impossible to by-pass the man and direct aid to the woman without upsetting the whole balance of their community, a balance which has been in place for generations and is the foundation for their lives.
The communities she is talking about are not living in trendy Islington in London, nor in loft apartments by the harbour in Toronto, nor in cosy condos overlooking Central Park in New York City. They are trying to eke out an existence within firmly established cultural boundaries. Upsetting those boundaries is likely to do more harm than good
Since everyone else is talking about ethanol, it is worth noting that the position advanced by the Raworth person is exactly the argument put forward by the bio-fuel eco-nutters. They call for a particular course of action because that course of action would be beneficial if it were entirely independent of everything else. So concentrated are they on their obsession with a narrow single issue that they fail to realise the change they promote has consequences.
And in direct answer to your question, Mr Goetz, of course global warming affects women more than men. We can drink a warming pint but it melts the ice in their gin and tonics. (::: running for cover before Miss Skywalker hits me :::)

September 11, 2008 9:07 pm

It is the ice and the tonic that makes this cheap Victory gin tolerable.
What fear awaits Al Gore in Room 101?
Having to decrease his carbon foot print.

Frederick Davies
September 11, 2008 11:59 pm

“Rich countries must halt their biofuel policies which are undermining poor people’s right to food.”
So NOW the biofuels thingy is bad; and who put us up to that mess, I wonder?
So you want those Iowa ethanol farm subsidies cut… good luck with that!

September 12, 2008 12:10 am

“I don’t think anyone should be surprised by this approach.”
I agree 100%. This whole CAGW thing is heavily informed by the fact that certain people HATE the West, in particular the United States, and HATE the fact that we are prosperous while many other countries are poor.
I have long analogized the CAGW scare with the Duke Lacrosse Hoax. Why did the Duke Lacrosse Hoax gain so much traction? Because of symbolic resonance. A lot of people are really attached to the idea that rich white men are raping (literally & figuratively) poor black women.

Alan the Brit
September 12, 2008 1:39 am

Funny, I thought the evil west wanted the poor to develop & become wealthier, to improve their health, to get people educated. Who’s doing all the nay saying then? Oh of course it must be done without the use of that disgusting, vile, wicked, destructive, malicious & source of all life on Earth substance called Carbon. I expect photosynthesis will be banned by the EU next! So why all this talk on the other side of the scientific sphere where presumeably sanity prevails, about carbon technology, nanotubes, etc etc. All goes quiet when Carbon becomes the source of new found technology potential without a whisper from the Green Lobby. Everything on the planet is carbon based somewhere along the line. Is there a list available stating what would not exist without Carbon? Would be interseting to see.

Alan Chappell
September 12, 2008 2:46 am

Oxfam? A sign of the disillusioned, the worlds richest countries are the worlds poorest. The natural resources of our planet are held by the poorest, most corrupt, ignorant etc., etc., 99% of the problem is OXFAM and its idiotic fellow travelers, it’s why should I work when everything is free ? What can a garment factory do in Africa when OXFAM imports hundreds of thousands of tons of used clothing free, well we could open a shoe factory but wait OXFAM has just landed 50 containers of new and used shoes, well it has been a good year for rice, but no the WORLD FOOD PROGRAM with OXFAM has just landed 50,000 tons of rice free, but our Government has sold 40,000 tons to India, well lets wait for the next shipment. At the same time that OXFAM is ‘saving’ the poor of this African hellhole the ‘Government’ has received 500,billion from Chinese companies to mine its natural resources ( with Chinese labor) and the 500 billion, not a trace. But wait, there is signs of prosperity 20 bullet proof Maybach Specials at $400,000 each, proceeds from successive the rice deals.
CHARITY is for home fokes, let every government look after its own, after all that what they are for. (just returned from the Post Office here in Italy were I watch a 78 year old pensioner cry, he received €320 $488 for the month, after having worked 52 years as a farm laborer, rent, electric €400, food ? OXFAM sent it all to Africa )

Brendan H
September 12, 2008 2:52 am

AnonyMoose (11:20:39) :
“There is a right to shelter? Where’s the mansion which I am entitled to?”
Sorry. No mansions allowed under an AGW regime. But there will be some very nice caves on offer.

September 12, 2008 4:04 am

And that is why I will not support Oxfam.
For more challenging analysis, consider what has been the benefit to the devloping world of:
– The positive wealth effects from trading with increasingly wealthy around the world.
– The massively increased sums of money NGOs like Oxfam themselves have been able to gather from these increasingly wealthy countries
– The human rights implications of dramatically retarding the trade benefits of the developing world already gained by killing off developed economies
– The imposition of constraints on economic growth (i.e. income and welfare) of developing economies in the name of CO2 emmissions reduction.
So much evil is done in the name of “good works”. Oxfam is living proof. Or, “the path to hell is paved with good intentions” Ms Raworth.

Tom in Florida
September 12, 2008 4:32 am

Pamela Gray:”But I am all for inventiveness. And a free market economy regarding ethanol sources. Along with any other energy invention that doesn’t work at first. One of them eventually will.”
Unfortunately, and unlike Edison, we are being forced by government regulation to use ethanol. Those in government never care if anything works efficiently or not, they do not care what it costs (it’s not their money), they only care if it deceives voters into electing them for another term.

Bruce Cobb
September 12, 2008 4:52 am

Katie uses AGW pseudoscience, lies and propaganda to promote her socialist (i.e. red fascist) world view. This is typical. Once again, it shows how AGWers are not interested in the science, or the truth, but simply use AGW pseudoscience to promote their own particular agenda, whatever that may be.
The end result, of course, will actually be increased hardship for the poor, starvation, etc.

September 12, 2008 5:06 am

Once again, global warming fanatics reveal that there true goal is to take from those who make, in order to give to those who want.

Mike Bryant
September 12, 2008 5:53 am

Even with the tremendous redistribution of wealth in this country, we still give the most through charities. These charities help people here and abroad. This isn’t really about helping people, it is about impoverishing America.

Pamela Gray
September 12, 2008 7:48 am

Hey, I know. It’s the teachers who are at fault. They cause everything.

Mike Bryant
September 12, 2008 8:38 am

Pamela, who said anything about teachers? I must have missed it.

September 12, 2008 9:40 am

Oxfam sold out the day it turned charity into business, closed down the little shops that didn’t make enough “profit”, and yuppie managers told shop staff what to do.
Fat Bigot, I’d rather have a pint of global warming any day.

Les Johnson
September 12, 2008 9:43 am

How odd. Oxfam says climate change will hurt human rights; such as food, shelter, medicine etc; all of which should INCREASE mortality, especially in children.
But UNICEF says child mortality has fallen 27% in the last 2 decades.
Click here
But this means child mortality FELL during the warmest decade in the last 1500 years, according to the IPCC.
But UNICEF says climate change could increase mortality again.
I am SOOOOO confused.
Or, perhaps its not me that’s confused…..

Jeff Alberts
September 12, 2008 12:25 pm

Pamela Gray: “Anyone remember what Edison went through when inventing the lightbulb? Anyone? What did the gas company want to do? Encourage him? Join in the experiments? Share the profits from lightbulbs? Or stand by gas lights? Times of creative inventions are haralded not by supporters but by detractors. We are in a time of creativity regarding energy and this blog is full of detractors. What the detractors fail to see is that we are in the period of the first 1000 tries not working so well. I could not give a rat’s ass about CO2. But I am all for inventiveness. And a free market economy regarding ethanol sources. Along with any other energy invention that doesn’t work at first. One of them eventually will.”
I’m not a detractor. I’m all in favor of new innovations in any sector. The difference here is that these technologies are being shoehorned in when they’re not ready to take on the pressures they’ll be under. It’s like forcing people to buy a certain type of shoe whether it fits them properly or not.

Pamela Gray
September 12, 2008 1:22 pm

Edison had to get city approval to install both the generators he needed (he needed lots of them) and the electrical wire tracks through city streets. He was hounded the entire way by people angry at the way this new innovation was being forced upon them. And then when it worked, he was met with still more roadblocks as he went from city to city fighting large corporations and city governments. It took a certain amount of deafness towards the voices of those who don’t like new things that may or may not be to their advantage in order to change from gas lighting to electrical lighting. I see similarities to today’s political atmosphere re: new energy sources.

September 12, 2008 1:42 pm

Remember one of the draw backs that Edison had was the use of D.C. voltage
you can not transmit D.C. voltage very far. It was the invention of A.C. by Tesla that really changed things and Edison fought against that. Tesla won in the end.
As we all know.

Mike Bryant
September 12, 2008 1:44 pm

True, there are similarities.

September 12, 2008 3:08 pm

The latest onslaught of finger-wagging guilt inducement appears to be aimed at our eating habits. Here in London we have a new “Food Czar” (or “Czarina”?) Rosie Boycott who wants us all to become happy peasants and subsistence farmers, thus reducing our carbon shoe size and helping to tackle… etc., (need I go on)… And of course we’ve recently heard from the evangelical veggie extraordinaire Mr Pachauri.
By the way, I was in the supermarket again today (buying lots of tasty, and I’m glad to say thoroughly unsustainable food) and thought I’d glance at New Scientist mag. In a momentous week for science which saw the switching on of the Large Hadron Collider, I wondered what their cover and lead story would feature. Of course it would be the LHC…
But it was: “A bowl of cereal has the same carbon footprint as a 7-kilometre journey in a 4×4. A steak is equivalent to driving 30 kilometres”.
Sad, very sad.
I was really tempted to buy some steak after that.

Mike Bryant
September 12, 2008 4:45 pm

But wouldn’t that cereal have some milk in it? And Dr. Pachauri has already told us abouts the evils of the bovine class…
Maybe we can put beer on the cereal?

Les Francis
September 12, 2008 5:24 pm

Slightly OT but related.
Having worked for a very large NGO, I can tell you that there are large departments in the main offices of the larger NGO’s which have the designation – Advocacy. Some of the people in these departments are made up of marketing people whose research consists of trolling the internet and then writing up diatribe such as written by this above article writer.
A balanced approach and real on the ground research are not considered – preconceived ideas are the real agenda.

Jeff Alberts
September 12, 2008 6:28 pm

Oxfam has teamed up for this with the President of the Maldives, suddenly a defender of human rights after having run the country as “Dictator” for 30 years

The same dictator who so poorly managed his island that the erosion from the mining of the protective reef has people screaming “rising sea levels” when in fact it’s nothing of the sort.

September 12, 2008 7:43 pm

This is an informative and fun thread! Since anyone can play, here’s my volley:

The idea that it takes more fuel to make ethanol is a sham from the BigOil to prohibit every farmer to produce cheap alternative fuel… and food!

Ray, both the Economist and Consumer Reports [in their October, 2006 cover story] state the same thing: it requires .7 gallons of fossil fuel — and 1,700 gallons of fresh water — to produce just one gallon of ethanol.

Oxfam ceased to be a true charity more than 20 years ago, since then it has been an overt campaigning organisation for global-government socialist idealogues who cannot gain power through the ballot box.

Fat Bigot is right. I have subscribed to the Economist for more than 30 years. I remember the first small Oxfam ads that appeared. They grew and expanded. Now, the Economist routinely runs very expensive half and full page Oxfam ads, which clearly indicate that Oxfam and the UN are joined together hip and thigh, in an unholy globaloney alliance. Oxfam is a parasite feeding off of the UN — and the UN is a parasite feeding off the U.S., the British Isles, and Western Europe. Everyone else gets a free pass, including China, Russia, India, Brasil, and a hundred+ smaller countries.

That reminds me of the story where a woman asks W.C. Fields:
Woman: “Why don’t you drink water?”
W.C. Fields: “Because fish piss in it!”

[Ray, “piss” wasn’t the word that W.C. Fields used. He was referring to fornication.]
Oxfam has a tremendous amount of influence. My question: Who elected Oxfam to speak for the entire world?
And: where does Oxfam get its multi-$millions from?

September 12, 2008 8:08 pm

I have also read that production of a gallon of ethanol releases considerably more atmospheric carbon (CO2 and methane) once land use is accounted for than the equivalent energy’s worth of gasoline.
Now, I don’t think that amount of atmospheric carbon is harmful in the first place, but talk about adding insult to injury! Sheesh!
I do agree with Ox on that.
But I also think that killing the wealth will harm the poor nations of the world far more than any warming (if indeed there is any warming). The cure is worse than the disease–if there even is a disease in the first place.

September 13, 2008 1:12 am

I wonder what guilt Ms Raworth feels? – from the quotes I have read on this blog (can I take these to be the most pertinent ones?) her ’34 page’ report seems to contains lots of words but actually says very little. Had simple english been used, and the point made precisely I reckon 2 pages maximum would suffice!
That is a whole lot of paper, ink, electricity etc that could have been saved; this report is likely to have been printed off a number of times during the draft and checking phases as well as after the final version was agreed.
There are a lot of schools in developing countries crying out for paper, ink – isn’t that who Oxfam allegedly try and help?

Bruce Cobb
September 13, 2008 4:13 am

I see similarities to today’s political atmosphere re: new energy sources.
Must be those rose-colored glasses you keep talking about. Either that, or it’s the teachers.

Mike Bryant
September 13, 2008 5:13 am

I couldn’t read the whole thing… Perhaps you could condense the whole thing into a sentence or three.
Thanks in advance,
Mike Bryant

September 13, 2008 7:03 am

Somewhere off topic:
I was perusing the Wall Street Journal this morning and came across this book review: http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB122126316904030487.html?mod=2_1578_leftbox
In the article BJØRN LOMBORG author of “Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming” (Knopf, 2007). reviews Thomas L. Friedman’s new book “A Chilling View of Warming” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux).
The review is located in the September 13, 2008 Wall Street Journal; Page W13. I apologize if the online article is only available to WSJ subscribers. Perhaps I can include BJØRN LOMBORG’s closing paragraph: “I’m sure that such longing is testimony to his deep frustration with the debate. But, more important, it points to the failure of his book to make a well-reasoned case for his proposals. While occasionally interesting, “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” remains a one-sided plea for an incorrect analysis.”

September 13, 2008 9:21 am

“If only America could be China for a day,” where we could cut through special interests, bureaucratic obstacles . . .”
That’s a hot one. (Has he ever read a line of Chinese history in his life?)

Don Shaw
September 14, 2008 5:13 am

Jeff Writes:
“I’m not a detractor. I’m all in favor of new innovations in any sector. The difference here is that these technologies are being shoehorned in when they’re not ready to take on the pressures they’ll be under. It’s like forcing people to buy a certain type of shoe whether it fits them properly or not.”
I agree 100% with this comment. The current mandate from Congress is that we will increase our production of ethanol by 4-5 times. Of course this is because Congress is in the pocket of the ethanol crowd and they want the uninformed to believe they are taking action. This mandate was pushed through even in light of all the recent reports exposing that Ethanol from corn does not make economic sense, requires huge amounts of precious water, and in fact is harming the environment more than fossil fuels.
A paper revently presented at the National Academy of Science by Prof Goldemberg from Brazil provided the relative energy production from making ethanol from various feedstocks: corn, wood and other celluosic feedstocks, and sugar cane. Corn rated about 1, cellulosic feedstocks 2, and sugar cane 9. The Department of Energy is aware of these problems. To address the poor energy production from the current feedstocks the government has recently let out $10 billion in grants to various organizations to develop more productive feedstocks. Talk about putting the cart before the horse!
So wood and similar feedstocks are only slightly better than corn, it appears we have Congress spending huge tax dollars on the wrong technology. Does this surprise you? Also it should be noted that no one has yet manufactured large scale commercial ethanol from wood, etc. with the pyrolysis or gasification processes currently being touted. Even forgetting the economics, there are huge technology hurdles that need to be overcome. Finally don’t be deceived about how clean these processes are. Wood, etc has many of the same nasty tramp elements that coal has in it. Making it clean will be a challenge.
While reasearch for new fuels is needed, it will not work as long as Congress has it’s fingers in the pie.
I read the daily biofuels digest almost ever day and am shocked at the amount of $$$ being handed out by our governments to develop what appears to be the wrong technology. If you are interested, sign up for their e-mail.
One recent grant caught my eye since it will provide funding to develop a computer model for technology that does not make sense to me.
“In New York, Cornell University has received a $10 million grant from the National Science Foundation for its new Institute for Computational Sustainability that will, among other goals, provide computer-based modeling and forecasting for ethanol production. The Institute will bring together environmental scientists, computer scientists, mathematicians, economists, biologists and environmental scientists who will model a variety of sustainability issues including the balance of food and fuel production. ”
Hope this model is better than the AGW models!
I seriously dobt that the current approach is going to get us off foreign oil in 20 or 30 years!!

September 14, 2008 10:14 pm

The Institute will bring together environmental scientists, computer scientists, mathematicians, economists, biologists and environmental scientists who will model a variety of sustainability issues including the balance of food and fuel production. ”
No hope here – environmental scientists are mentioned twice…Oy Veh!
(if that was a misprint, I apologise!)

Don Shaw
September 15, 2008 9:07 am

If that was a misprint, it was in the original article. I simply did a cut and paste. I am concerned that this model will likely exemplify the garbage in, garbage out principle. Based on what I have seen from alternative fuels projects the understanding of the chemical reactions is currently very weak and the best Chemical engineers are having trouble performing heat and material balances since there is not a lot of dependable data; therefore, a lot of assumptions are required. In my mind if the government decides to fund renewable fuels the emphasis should be on getting basic lab data not funding construction of commercial plants or computer models when the fundamentals are yet to be understood.
Note that Chemists, Chemical and other Engineers were not listed who are essential to model the production . Getting to the moon and outer space required a lot of engineering accomplishments.
Does this sound familiar?

Simon Abingdon
September 15, 2008 9:43 am

Dee, If Real Climate is too technical, may I presume to refer you (again) to Duae Quartunciae´s “The APS and global warming: What were they thinking?” for another battle royale, this time between “Saturn” (in the skeptic corner, just fighting his corner) and DQ (the referee). I´m afraid that Saturn got completely rinsed by DQ in this one, DQ inflicting repeated “it´s the physics, stupid” blows on poor old Saturn. Another “must see”! Great fun!

Simon Abingdon
September 15, 2008 9:47 am

Help, I´m in the wrong blog!

September 15, 2008 10:33 am

May you be weighed down with guilt.

September 18, 2008 9:16 am

Women taking a harder hit over global warming? Of course they will. Who owns the world’s resources? Who are the very very poor? Think of a man who is poor. Think of his female equivalent. Can she earn as much as him? What about the years when her children are small? How will being the poorest of the poor affect her health? If she is living in a household, do you think she gets an equal share of things with the adult men? Really? Does her daughter receive the same education as her son, to try to secure her future?
Thinking globally, who traditionally does the subsistence farming? Who carries the water increasing distances as water tables shrink? Fetches firewood from ever further away? Do you know which gender tends to die preferentially as a result of large-scale natural disasters?
Thinking about Oxfam (always a left-wing project) I get the feeling that many of the commenters have not worked on charitable projects for a length of time. It seems a very natural progression to want to change the setting within which your beneficiaries live, so campaigning becomes part of what you do.

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