Is Global Warming Starving Science?

Posted by Dee Norris

This article concerning the Nobel Prize for Chemistry caught my attention this morning:

Are we Starving Science?
Are we Starving Science?

Twenty years ago, Douglas Prasher was one of the driving forces behind research that earned a Nobel Prize in chemistry this week. But today, he’s just driving.

Prasher, 57, works as a courtesy shuttle operator at a Huntsville, Ala., Toyota dealership. While his former colleagues will fly to Stockholm in December to accept the Nobel Prize and a $1.4 million check, the former Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist will be earning $10 an hour while trying to put two of his children through college.

Shuttle driver reflects on Nobel snub – Cape Cod TImes

Are we starving science research in other areas to pursue accelerated and possibly needless research into Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and the dire consequences of AGW at the expense of other more productive and beneficial areas of study?

We have recently heard from Richard A. Muller justifying the distortions and untruths of Al Gore (I guess if the untruths were committed willingly, one could call them LIES) as necessary to stir the public to combat AGW, but at the same time are these tactics shifting funding away from more deserving science projects?

While it was perfectly within his rights not to share the cloned gene with others, Prasher said he felt an obligation to give his research a chance to turn into something significant, even if he was no longer a part of it.

“When you’re using public funds, I personally believe you have an obligation to share,” Prasher said.

How many researchers like Douglas Prasher are under-employed while others like Hansen and Mann receive lecture fees and yet continue to obfuscate data and research paid for by public funds simply to protect their ’empires’?

Your guess is as good as mine, but I ask if spending money on research the explore to the link between global warming and kidney stones really a good use of a limited resource?

In a final thought,  I hope some research facility sees this article and offers Doug a job that pays better than $10 an hour.  Clearly, he is a more deserving scientist than many of the AGW researchers.

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Bob B
October 11, 2008 6:58 am

Yes, I agree with your assertion. Global warming research is getting too much money and leaving other science endeavors dry looking for money. The AGW money is on top of that corrupting the science process and Peer review and the IPCC in climate science is a disgrace. The money would also be put to better use auditing climate science.

October 11, 2008 7:07 am


October 11, 2008 7:10 am

Absolutely, 100%, definitely agree. And I’ve been saying it for a while.
Not only that, but the bloody nose “science” in general will receive once this is all exposed will set all of us back centuries (us = science people).
How many times can someone cry “wolf” before the townspeople stop coming out to help? Others have listed a few of them, but let me mention some highlights: Ozone layer, Ice Age, Atomic tests at Bikini vaporizing the oceans, supercollider experiment creating a black hole that will absorb the Earth, DDT, Polar Bears on the ESL, and it goes on and on. The real problem, of course, is that NOBODY KNOWS THESE WERE BOGUS… a compliant and complicit media seem only to happy to cover it all up.
And yes, I have more respect for Prasher than I do for 95% of practicing “scientists”.
Any industry needs to allocate funding for specific portions of what they do. For example, during the development of the automobile they needed to develop effective suspensions, engines, exhaust systems, drivetrains, glass, steering geometry, etc. Imagine if 95% of the automotive development had gone into the cigarette lighter? I mean, sure, it’s an essential part of the car, but what a waste! I imagine the research articles would be something like “Effective disc brakes and their effect on lighting cigarettes in a moving vehicle”.
Imagine, to quote the people I have lately come to see as my opponents, if all the money currently spent on AGW research had gone to feed the hungry and house the homeless. Imagine! And put shoes on their feet.

mark wagner
October 11, 2008 7:20 am

As the recent economic turmoil dries up private and corporate research funding, look for the problem to get worse. We will hear ever more dire predictions of catastrophe, because only the most urgent scenarios will receive funding.
Ironic that the “best hope” we have for a reality check is for a sustained cooling where millions will starve.
Sad, really.

October 11, 2008 7:20 am

CodeTech (07:10:32) Until just recently I worried about all those bad effects on science that you eloquently delineate, but now I’ve come to look upon this episode as more likely to serve as a vaccine. The object lesson of Galileo was enough to spark an enlightenment; perhaps the lessons from this may do something similar. We will have antibodies to similar ‘madness of crowds’ for awhile.
In the meantime, we’ve got to save all those poor people from freezing and starving if carbon is encumbered as we chill for how long, even kim doesn’t know.

October 11, 2008 7:27 am

Nonetheless, this particular madness is a fever. It seems to be a persistent inflammation of the body politic, with episodic exacerbations. Is it cancerous? Not likely; much as I disdain it and combat it, it is more likely creative than destructive, ultimately. It’s been a successful herd tactic from early times.

October 11, 2008 7:27 am

Imagine competing for funding from the UN if your research had previously contradicted the IPCC conclusions.
The UN allocates something like 28 billion per year for this agw “science”. twice the Nasa budget. The funds indirectly directed by their recommendations probably exceed hundreds of billions.
How many climatologists would change area of study rather than go against the agw wave. Douglas Prasher wasn’t even in a highly politicized field and look what happened to him.
Maybe he’ll get a second chance.

October 11, 2008 7:29 am

This sickens me.
My son is a senior research associate in the Center for Space Physics at Boston University.
He called last night relieved that he’s funded again for the near future.
He’s working with two teams now, in order to remain funded.
When will this AGW idiocy be laid to rest?
How I hope to live to see Hansen/Gore eat crow.

October 11, 2008 7:31 am

Exactly what “research” is going on within the AGW community? Expensive fiddling with computer games, oops “models”, to fit their preconceived notions? What of all the interesting things that go undiscovered because they aren’t looking? What a waste.

October 11, 2008 7:35 am

May I suggest Prasher to restart his career with a grant application like
“luminescent jellyfish protein affected by global warming induced ocean acidification”

October 11, 2008 7:40 am

Well, for what it’s worth, federal spending for research and development has gone up 40 percent under President Bush. (It had stagnated under President Clinton, falling slightly in real terms during his first term, and then rising slightly in his second term.)
Most of the increases went to health and military research.
I haven’t seen a report on support for research by foundations.

October 11, 2008 8:13 am

Hardtalk Dr Tom Pike
Watch this BBC HardTalk Interview and see how Dr. Pike trys to make a case for Mars Exploration (and all scientific research) against the question regarding AGW being the single greatest threat to mankind.
When I see people like Dr Pike have to defend their research vs AGW I nearly pop a artery in anger.

October 11, 2008 8:25 am

CH (08:13:49) A great deal of research with the patina of being AGW related really just relates to temperature changes and so still may have a lot of validity. The assumption that any heating is from CO2 may have to be modified, but a lot of the empirical data may still be useable. Maybe it’s job security for a lot of scientists, re-interpreting their data in light of a better understanding of what actually drives climate.
Plus, cooling climate does test a lot of theses. Doesn’t every dark cloud have a sliver of phase change lining it?
I think I’ve never heard so loud
The quiet message in a cloud.

October 11, 2008 8:29 am

The one good thing about the current economic downturn is that many silly AGW stories appear to have slipped off the mainstream news stands. Maybe there is yet hope against the hysteria.

October 11, 2008 8:53 am

My problem isn’t so much the amount of money dedicated to climate research, it is where its being spent.
Too much of funded research goes to what I think of “derivative” science. These are studies that take GCM output and look at the “what if” potential impacts of the output. This is poor science and a waste of research money IMO.

Ed Scott
October 11, 2008 9:25 am

The Australians are concerned about a starving economy.
Time to Erase the Emissions Trading Nightmare:
The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on the Premier of Queensland and all elected members to bring pressure to bear on the Federal Government to immediately abandon plans for Emissions Trading.
The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that at a time of world economic crisis, the last thing productive Queensland industries need is the threat of this destructive policy hanging over them.
“Emissions Trading and its carbon taxes must harm Australian industry, and Queensland will suffer most.

Tom in Texas
October 11, 2008 9:37 am

“A new Cycle 24 sunspot has quickly formed high in latitude in the northern hemisphere of the sun. There is at least 2 clearly visible flux regions along with it.”

October 11, 2008 9:39 am

As a non-scientist who has been science mad since a young boy I will say this:
A lot of scientists are burning the collective credibility garnered over centuries of work by other scientists.
One of the things I enjoy doing is asking people questions when in public or social situations. One question I have been asking is what the reaction would be if it turns out that AGW was nothing more than hype for more funding.
To say the reaction was extremely negative is a vast understatement.
One issue in particular was that many children are being indoctrinated with AGW in very frightening ways, something that parents aren’t appreciative of if it turns out that AGW is bullshit.

October 11, 2008 9:44 am

‘Fraid not Mr Jones: “The one good thing about the current economic downturn is that many silly AGW stories appear to have slipped off the mainstream news stands. Maybe there is yet hope against the hysteria.”
In last night’s BBC TV programme: The American Future: A History by Simon Schama, opened with all the alarums and excursions about Global Warming. Couldn’t stand it so turned it off. Pity really because I’ve always regarded Schama highly. Maybe I should have stuck it out.

October 11, 2008 9:46 am

Mister Jones:
There’s a pattern to the media’s behavior that we all need to be aware of.
Now instead of Amazing Stories focused on Global Warming Chaos, the press is preoccupied with Amazing Stories focused on Economic Chaos.
When the economy turns around, if the climate is still warm, expect more stories on Global Warming Chaos. If the climate then is cooling, I expect we will see stories on Global Cooling Chaos.
It what the press has always done. Yellow Journalism is not new, its focus has simply migrated to other areas.

Ted Annonson
October 11, 2008 9:50 am

As I have said before–
We need to amputate the Radical Environmental Limb before the “GangGreen” kills us all.

October 11, 2008 10:22 am

Deadwood, I’m with you. To me the big question for the next 50 years is this: How are we going to feed all the people? Even under the most optimistic projections that see world population growth rates slowing significantly, the global population is projected to be 9 billion by 2050, nearly 50% more people than are on the Earth today! How is everyone going to be fed and live without hopelessly polluting the planet and wrecking ecosystems? World grain stores are down from a 1-year supply to a 3-month supply, even now. Pouring all the research money into AGW research seems like doing computer simulations to design a more efficient garage door opener while your house is on fire! In light of the upcoming food shortage, increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere and a little extra warmth might even be good news, since plants grow faster under those conditions.

Kum Dollison
October 11, 2008 11:07 am

Sunny, no sense in replacing one set of hysteria with another. Grain prices are falling like a rock. Worldwide. A recent Stanford study identified One Billion Plus Acres of abandoned farmland. Our corn yields are expected to rise from 151 bu/acre to 180 bu/acre in just the next six years.
Our new seeds will grow in aluminum-toxic soil (about half the world’s farmland.) We used to rowcrop 400 million acres, now we rowcrop about 250 million acres. Brazil has about 300 Million acres of fertile land lying fallow. DR Congo, alone, could probably feed all of Africa, and half of Europe.
Food won’t be a problem until we run into a wall with “Phosphates availability.” Even the we’ll be able to accomplish a Lot with just a little “tweaking” of the way we farm. It’s something to keep an eye on; but, the situation with Agriculture is in no way, “Dire.”

David Gladstone
October 11, 2008 11:11 am

As Lee Smolin showed conclusively that String theory sucks up all the available grant money for useless projects that cost astronomical amounts of money; the same is true with climate science. Another similarity, is that String theorists don’t acknowledge that their ideas have ever been refuted or made to look ridiculous as many of them are. This is a major impediment to dealing with the important threats and challenges we face.

October 11, 2008 11:19 am

[…] from: Is Global Warming Starving Science? Tags: agw, article, chemistry, climate, earth, global, global-warming, politics, research, […]

October 11, 2008 11:41 am

I read a lot of Quaternary Science papers and have noted that in the last few years an obeisance to AGW has become more or less a compulsory part of the papers. The papers frequently have nothing whatsoever to do with AGW, or may even contradict some aspect AGW, but the obeisance still has to be there.
It seems to have the same function as the Lenin quotation had in Soviet scientific papers up to 1991. It demonstrates your loyalty to the party line, and allows you to publish your results in peace.

Don Shaw
October 11, 2008 12:16 pm

I can’t say that I have relative numbers to compare but I suspect that you are just looking at the tip of the iceburg re spending for AGW. I read the Daily Biofuels News Digest almost every day and am appalled at he amount of $$$ that is being poured into looking for non fossile fuels. Of course the driving force for this is the AGW fear that has been bought into by the politicians and their subsequent hate for oil, coal, and natural gas. Ethanol from corn is the perfect example of a program out of control. We are subsidizing ethanol 53 cents for every gallon plus all the grant monies that are being handed out. And there is always the promise that the next generation will be worthwhile. Meanwhile we have research that is driven by a corrupt congress to reward their contributors rather than real science.
BTW the next generation using cellulosic feed is not much better than corn and to date there is no commercial scale plant operating despite all the dollars being thrown at it. You think $4/gal gas is expensive wait until you get the bill for farm grown fuels. In my opinion they are ignoring all good engineering and science principals and are trying to get blood out of a stone.
I wish someone tabulated all the tax dollars being spent on alternative fuel programs and audited the performance of those receiving the grants/subsidies. Since so many different departments of the government are in the act, I doubt the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing.

October 11, 2008 12:56 pm

Douglas Prasher sounds like a good guy. He was fairly paid for his foundational work and when it was over he passed the baton. The Nobel Prize is as much a political award as a scientific one and will go to currently active scientists. The winners should show the same honorableness that Prasher showed and help him out with finding work that takes utilizes more of his abilities.
FWIW, living on soft money is tough and only the connected and talented last for long. That’s not saying anything about their work other than they can crank out the proposals and write the reports to the satisfaction of those awarding the grants. Time will tell if their work ultimately has any value.

Kum Dollison
October 11, 2008 1:10 pm

Don, Iowa St. studied this and came to the conclusion that the approx. 700,000 barrels ethanol we are using daily is reducing the cost of EVERY GALLON of gasoline consumed by about $0.35. We use about 140 Billion Gallons of Gasoline/Yr, so that would come out to what? About $46.5 BILLION/YR? Or, about 10 times the $4.6 Billion Blenders’ Tax Credit. A side benefit would be that our payments for “Crop Price Supports” are DOWN about $11 BILLION/yr.
This is all in addition to the Jobs created, and taxes collected in the U.S. as opposed to shipping $100 Million to the Middle East to replace that ethanol that we’re creating, here.
Oh, and corn is back down to $0.07/lb ($4.00/bu,) and soybeans are back in single digits (less than $10.00/bu. – about $9.00, I think.)
The Biofuels story is about Much More than “global warming.” In fact, it’s not about that, at all.

Ed Scott
October 11, 2008 1:24 pm

During my freshman year, I had a course entitled Political Science. I had no thought at the time that Political Science would be expanded to include a major portion of the Earth sciences.

Robert Wood
October 11, 2008 4:05 pm

Of course we are. We still have too little data to determine the state and operation of the climate.
So, we should vigously fund measurement projects, and no more.
What ever happened to USA state funding of fusion research?

Robert Wood
October 11, 2008 4:09 pm

Kum Dollison, this post of your’s does not belong here. Also, it is erroneous. If I by gasohol, with 10% ethanol content, I am effectively paying 3 cents a liter more (at current Ottawa prices). It is, in fact, reducing my fuel efficency, as I buy fuel by volume, not Joule.
And this simple, and direct, criticism does not even take into account the inefficiencies of burning food in cars.

October 11, 2008 5:56 pm

[…] posted here: Comment on Is Global Warming Starving Science? by Kum Dollison Tags: climate, Climate Change, global-warming, phoenix, politics, resources, space, technology, […]

October 11, 2008 6:26 pm

Robert Wood (16:09:52):
I think that Kum’s post was hyperbole, or maybe wishful thinking. But it’s nice to have a round even number plucked out of the air for everyone to ponder.
Myself, I use “mother nature’s gasoline” in my 1987 turbo car (Canadians will know…) It is 10% grain sourced ethanol and has been for decades. I’m in Calgary at 3500 feet, and have completely rewritten the engine management computer in my car, optimizing the fueling for E10. Before, if I had to get gas from some other station I was plagued with detonation and smoky exhaust. Now that everyone’s got E10, I’m good. But ONLY because I modified the fueling for my car! A stock non-ethanol calibration wastes fuel and E10 potentially damages the engine.
Most Americans I talk with are shocked when they do the conversion from $1.62/liter, the recent peak, that I was paying for 94 octane. When I bought the car in 87 I could fill it for $11-12… I have now actually put over $80 into it at one fill. Sobering.
And maybe someone can explain to me how it’s ok when food prices drop, since now we don’t have to worry about those maimed and killed during food riots and shortages?
I love having E10, because I can take advantage of it. I hate when something like E10 is mandated, however, and I believe that was a bad call from everyone involved, on both sides of the border.

Conversation Continuity (garron)
October 11, 2008 6:29 pm

Kum Dollison (13:10:46) : “Don, Iowa St. studied this and . . . . . .”

You are either cutting and pasting material beyond your comprehension or you have an imagination unbounded by physical and economic reality. I’ll be back later to refute this impossible BS.
Please include reference supporting your “fantastic” posts.
Anthony! Citations should be required It is too easy for people to type some programed propaganda or what they want to be true or, whatever.

Flash, Kum Dollison, Reality & Truth Mater (garron)
October 11, 2008 6:33 pm

And, I forgot to change the name — again.

Flash, Kum Dollison, Reality & Truth Matter (garron)
October 11, 2008 6:35 pm

And, so does spelling.

Kum Dollison
October 11, 2008 7:08 pm

Robert, my comment was in response to Don Shaw’s comment.
Now, as to being “erroneous.” I’m confused. Do you mean to say that Iowa State University DID NOT STUDY this? Because, Here’s the Study:
I think what you’re missing is that when you replace 700,000 Barrels/Day of a substance (petroleum) with another substance (ethanol) the price of the First Substance is likely to fall. That seems to be what has happened (according to Ia St, at least.

October 11, 2008 8:07 pm

[…] CodeTech on Watts Up With That? […]

October 11, 2008 8:20 pm

See for the story I first heard about this. In part:
Prasher doesn’t have any regrets about giving away the gene. Tsien and Chalfie did great work, he says, which he probably couldn’t have done because the National Institutes of Health had rejected his funding proposals.
“At that time, I knew I was going to get out of it; my funding had already run out,” Prasher says.
He went to work for a laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, then took a job with a NASA contractor in Huntsville. But two-and-a-half years ago, NASA cut his project and Prasher lost his job.
He tried to find a job in science but failed. So he went to work at the car dealership.
“I never thought I would enjoy working with people so much. ‘Cause doing science is kind of a loner thing; but doing this, I meet new people every day, and I hear all kinds of stories, some of which I don’t need to hear. Because I’m kind of a bartender,” Prasher says.
But the job does not pay enough to support his family.
“Our savings is gone; just totally gone,” he says.
Prasher is still looking for a research job, but he worries that after two-and-a-half years, his knowledge and skills may be out of date.
That’s not what some of his former colleagues say. One called Prasher’s current situation a “staggering waste of talent.”

Kum Dollison
October 11, 2008 8:46 pm

Codetech, you mapped your computer in your Turbo car to run a little rich. It gave you more power. Okay. Now, when you put 94(?) Octane (what would that be in the states?) in it it doesn’t burn all the fuel, and it smokes some. If you had never made that conversion you would get a little less power on E10, but you would burn the straight gasoline more efficiently. (Is 94 octane in Canada the same as 87 octane in the states?)
Minnesota has been using E10 in all of their gasoline since 1996. I’ve heard of no problems.
Come on; the closest I’ve read of a food “riot” where someone could, conceivably, have been Injured was Egypt, and that was All about idiotic import policies in a Command Market System.
Why wouldn’t low food prices be Good? It signifies an Abundance of foodstuffs.

Roger Carr
October 11, 2008 9:25 pm

Ted Annonson (09:50:59): “…before the “GangGreen” kills us all.”
Beauty, Ted!

Jeff Alberts
October 11, 2008 9:49 pm

Because food is for eating. There’s nothing wrong with fossil fuels. I think changing to CNG is better than putting food in a gas tank. Eventually that food will be needed for hungry mouths.

Roger Carr
October 11, 2008 10:15 pm

Kum Dollison (11:07:32): “Sunny, no sense in replacing one set of hysteria with another…”
A very nice, balanced, and heartening comment (all of it), thanks, Kum.

Flash, Kum Dollison, Reality & Truth Matter (garron)
October 12, 2008 12:12 am

Kum Dollison (19:08:41)

Thank you for providing The Impact of Ethanol Production on U.S. and Regional Gasoline Prices and on the Profitability of the U.S. Oil Refinery Industry.
You misinterpret the cited study:

Our hypothesis is that this additional ethanol production has had a negative impact on gasoline prices and on the margins of crude oil refiners.

Because these results are based on capacity, it would be wrong to extrapolate the results to today’s markets. Had we not had ethanol, it seems likely that the crude oil refining industry would be slightly larger today than it actually is, and in the absence of this additional crude oil refining capacity the impact of eliminating ethanol would be extreme. In addition, the impact of the first billion gallons of ethanol on this capacity constraint would intuitively be greater than the billions of gallons that came later. We did try a quadratic term to pick up this effect, and it was not significant.

The model’s only purpose is to “show” that ethanol existence impacted [PAST TENSE] the price of oil.
Your post thereafter is your unfounded extrapolations. If you wish to try to resuscitate your assertions, fire away.

Kum Dollison
October 12, 2008 12:50 am

You’re welcome, Roger.
I’m not a scientist, but from what I’ve read it seems that the “skeptics” have the better argument. I’m afraid, however, that many skeptics are hurting the credibility of the anti-AGW argument by attacking, with passionate, but wildly inaccurate claims, a subject in which they are not expert.

CPT. Charles
October 12, 2008 12:58 am

KD [@1107]–while your stats concerning crop land availability are [more or less…] correct, you’re not considering some other factors. Within the AGW camp there are [1] groups who oppose humanity’s extended footprint on ‘Mother Gaia’ …opening up those additional acres may not be as easy as you think. [2] Another faction in the AGW camp are vigorously opposed to ALL GM food crops [AND it’s attendant research]; so much so that they successfully blocked shipments of food aid to famine-stricken areas of Africa, in the recent past.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that everyone in the decision making process is rational, sane, and without malice or guile. How do you think we wound up in our current circumstance?
The eco-fascists we comment about here have ‘lawfare’ down pat. Yes, we could easily adapt to climate variations and population stresses, but there’s the minor matter getting past the shock battalions of [very] well funded lawyers and the barrier wall of lawsuits they’ll throw up.
Oh yes…you obviously missed the news about food riots in the SE Asian regions. Hopefully the downward trend in commodities prices will help on that issue. Food riots are NOT a pretty thing to behold…governments collapse for lesser reasons than that.

October 12, 2008 1:32 am

Kum Dollison (00:50:15):” . . . . . I’m afraid, however, that many skeptics are hurting the credibility of the anti-AGW argument by attacking, with passionate, but wildly inaccurate claims, a subject in which they are not expert.”
You mean people like you being expert on corn prices?
In the past 90 days Dec corn has dropped over $3 and Nov beans have dropped over $6.50 per bu. and marketing specialist Mike Woolverton at Kansas State says supply and demand fundamentals had almost nothing to do with it. He says it was all a function of the financial markets, because of the housing bubble and the subprime mortgage issues.

Kum Dollison
October 12, 2008 1:47 am

Garron, you are misreading the conclusion. First, if you will notice the authors speak in the Present Tense throughout the article. They state quite clearly what the result of having the ethanol in the system has accomplished, and is accomplishing.
In essence, they are saying that putting a lot more ethanol into the system will Not cause prices to fall in exact correlation with the added supply. It was the act of, initially, removing the constraint on capacity that was responsible for most of the downward price movement.
They are NOT in any way, shape, or form saying that Ethanol caused gasoline prices to be lower last year, but aren’t affecting prices “This” year. For a worthwhile wager we’ll contact the paper’s authors and get it from the “horse’s mouth” if you want (but, surely, after thinking about it you won’t “want.”)
BTW, there was, also, a piece of research done by Merril Lynch that attacked the questiont by way of oil prices; and, it came out to 15% reduction in the price of gasoline due to ethanol.

Kum Dollison
October 12, 2008 2:02 am

Garron, from your link:
The quarterly grain stocks report estimated corn stocks at 1.62 bil. bu., up 25% from year earlier levels, representing the old crop carryout. On-farm stocks totaled 500 mil. and off-farm stocks totaled 1.12 bil. bu., which was 33% more than 2007 levels.
I could also find a link for you showing where the yield is coming in much better than was anticipated a couple of months, ago. It seems that, since the floods, the midwest has had wonderful growing weather.
Also, corn crops that were “not so hot” globally, last year, are very good this year.
I don’t know who that guy was, but a lot of this looks pretty “fundamental” to me. G’nite. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you. 🙂

October 12, 2008 2:34 am

Your numbers from ISU may be correct but misleading since you forgot to mention that oil imported from the Middle East or produced by oil majors brings much more tax money to the Government (just compare Exxon’s annual profits to what it pays in taxes) than biofuels.
If corn ethanol is profitable and generate jobs, so the market would take care of it, it doesn’t need subsidies.
The idea that artificially increasing oil price by government schemes may reduce dependance is unsustanciated : In France (and in Europe in general), we pay >$8 /gallon gasoline.
Are we less dependant of Russia, the ME, Venezuella and other rogue states ? No.
Are we less vulnerable to price spikes ? No.

October 12, 2008 2:56 am

Kum Dollison (01:47:44)

Debates are to be moderated which doesn’t happen around here [yes it does, maybe not as tightly as you like~charles the moderator]. I’m not going to play “shouting match” with a [snip].
You win. I’m out of here.
Reply: Personal attacks are off limits ~ charles the moderator.

October 12, 2008 4:34 am

Kum Dollison (20:46:01) :
>Codetech, you mapped your computer in your Turbo car to
>run a little rich. It gave you more power. Okay. Now, when
>you put 94(?) Octane (what would that be in the states?) in
>it it doesn’t burn all the fuel, and it smokes some. If you
>had never made that conversion you would get a little less
>power on E10, but you would burn the straight gasoline
>more efficiently. (Is 94 octane in Canada the same as 87
>octane in the states?)
If it was a simple matter of tuning slightly rich, that would be no challenge. Heck, fuel injected cars could simply turn up the fuel pressure slightly. The difference is that Ethanol contains oxygen, and you can use that oxygen as a component in combustion. A more aggressive timing schedule extracts enough more power from the charge that you can offset the increased fuel use with an approximately equal increase in power and actually use LESS fuel at idle and low power operation. As a bonus, I run 24psi of boost and make a LOT of power, and I get 35-40 MPG on the highway, 25+ in the city if I restrain my go-pedal.
Octane numbers are the same everywhere. Did you think it was metric? 87 octane is poison to a supercharged engine. At high altitudes (ie Denver) they even sell 84 octane, which almost eliminates the ability to use a turbo.
Incidentally, the mods I’ve made to my car (and hundreds of others across the US and Canada via the magic of the internet) are about what the car companies are now offering with Flex fuel. The only difference is with more expensive sensors they can automatically adapt to different fuels whereas my mods require that you commit to a specific grade of fuel.
I like that you think things are all so simple. If the mods don’t mind me asking, I’m curious how old you are.

October 12, 2008 6:19 am

OT, and not the best place to put this, but it’ll do. is titled “Scientists resolve long-standing puzzle in climate science” and is about the tropical tropospheric temperature mismatch.
The story is not the whole paper, but it seems to center on
1) Measurement error is worse than thought, increase the error bars and mismatch between model output and observations goes away.
2) New, better datasets show better a better match with the models.
Or, in the article’s words:

“We’ve gone a long way toward reconciling modeled and observed temperature trends in the problem area of the tropics,” said Santer, the lead author of a paper now appearing online in the International Journal of Climatology.
There are two reasons for this reconciliation.
First, the analysis that reported disagreement between models and observations had applied an inappropriate statistical test, which did not account for the statistical uncertainty in observed warming trends. This uncertainty arises because the human-caused component of recent temperature changes is not perfectly known in any individual observed time series – it must be estimated from data that are influenced by both human effects and the “noise” of natural climate variability. Examples of such “noise” include large El Niño and La Niña events, which have pronounced effects on the year-to-year variability of tropical temperatures.
The Livermore-led consortium applied this inappropriate test to randomly generated data. The test revealed a strong bias in the method toward “detecting” differences that were not real.
The consortium modified the test to correctly account for uncertainty in estimating temperature trends from noisy observational data. With this modified test, there were no longer pervasive, statistically significant differences between simulated and observed tropical temperature trends.
The second reason for the reconciliation of models and observations was the availability of new and improved observational datasets, both for surface and tropospheric temperatures. The developers of these datasets used different procedures to identify and adjust for biases (such as those caused by changes over time in the instruments and platforms used to measure temperature).
Access to multiple, independently produced datasets provided the LLNL-led consortium with a valuable perspective on the inherent uncertainty in observations. Many of the recently developed observational datasets showed larger warming aloft than at the surface, and were more consistent with climate model results.
Even with improved datasets, there are still important uncertainties in observational estimates of recent tropospheric temperature trends that may never be fully resolved, and are partly a consequence of historical observing strategies, which were geared toward weather forecasting rather than climate monitoring.

October 12, 2008 7:53 am

“Even under the most optimistic projections that see world population growth rates slowing significantly, the global population is projected to be 9 billion by 2050, nearly 50% more people than are on the Earth today! ”
Where are those 2 billion extra people going to come from? Europe? The UK’s fertility rate is about 1.3/couple; in Russia, Greece, Italy, and Spain it is 1.1/couple; in Germany, France, Holland, Finland, Sweden and Norway it is 1.8/couple. Japan, it is 1.1 couple. In Canada? It is 1.7/couple. China has had a one child law since 1979, and even accounting for those brave souls who ignore it, it would be had press for them to exceed 2.1/ couple.
Even in India, where the fertility rate has been 4.3/couple, the rapidly growing middle class has a fertility rate that plummets below 1.5/couple. In the US, the fertility rate is 2.1/couple, we are helped by illegal immigration. Subsaharian Africa has been devastated by war and AIDS. That leaves, East Asia and South America. These two areas would have grow beyond what is numerically impossible.
A fertility rate of 2.1 is needed just to maintain society. The US has grown during the last 140 years primairily due to immigration. The point of no return in population decrease is 1.1 or less. Russia, Japan, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, and Greece will see thier native populations halved during the next 2 generations. If the US cut-off all immigration, out population’s rate of growth would level out during the next generation and begin to fall. Even India will see a rapid leveling off after 2030. China is a question mark, for I don’t think they have an idea where they stand.
The population growth rate plataued recently. The rate of increase is rapidly slowing in all areas but South America. In Japan it has stopped; Russia is soon to follow, as is Europe and Canada. In 2050, there could very wells be food shortages, but it won’t be because of too many people -but the exact opposite. You need people and capital to grow food. Both could very well be missing. Capital is key. Raising enough capital to invest in large industrial sized farms will be difficult when a society is transferring most of its wealth to support a very large group of elderly.
In the future, children will be the biggest assest of any society.

October 12, 2008 8:10 am

Ric (06:49:02) Manipulate and malign the datasets. Same old same old lame old excuse. Why on God’s Green Earth can they not re-examine the mistaken assumptions built into the model a la Spencer?

Kum Dollison
October 12, 2008 9:28 am

Codetech, I’m 61, and, believe me, I realize that many/most things are much too complicated for my poor little, redneck, pea-brain to understand. However, in Europe they use the RON rating system for Octane. It runs about 4 to five points higher than the Ron + Mon/2 system we use in the states. In other words 87 Octane in Ms would be about 92, or 93 in France. I wasn’t sure about Canada. Here’s a “quick and dirty” synopsis of Octane ratings:
I asked because I read quite a bit from another guy that runs a Saab turbo car, and your observations seemed a little different from his. I’m sure you are aware that if you splash-blended one part ethanol to the standard 87 octane fuel available in the states you would end up with approx. 89 octane fuel by the AKI index. However, the 87 octane is Not pure gasoline. Pure gasoline is approx. 85 octane. The 87 octane includes octane-enhancers. Most of the 10% ethanol blends you are buying is 85 Octane + 10% ethanol = 87 octane.
If you’re set up to run on 94 octane I’m surprised you can run on 87 octane At All. I’m guessing you’re “tuned in” for about 92 – 93 Octane (are you running a variable-ratio turbo?) which would cause you to run like a pig on 87 Octane (but, most of the E10 sold in the States IS 87 Octane 85 octane + 2 Octane from the ethanol.) Anyhoo, that’s Way too much “Inside Baseball.”

October 12, 2008 10:20 am

JP (07:53:24) I agree with what you say, but would add that children have always been the most important asset of any society. Why do you think the most primitive religious icons are always women with swollen bellies?

October 12, 2008 10:51 am

JP, The reason the world population will keep increasing despite lower fertility rates is that the population growth rate is still positive. That’s because, for example, a fertility rate of 2.1 translates to an annual population growth rate of 0.9%, given current average life expectancy and infant mortality rates. Currently, the global population fertility rate is 2.3% and annual growth rate is 1.2%. If all goes well, the projections are that by 2025, the world fertility rate will be 2.1 and the annual population growth will be 0.9%, given projected average life span and infant mortality rates. And hopefully, the fertility rate can be further reduced to 1.9% by 2045 to result in an annual population growth rate of 0.3%, again given given projected average life span and infant mortality rates. If you use these figures, which were provided by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat (2003), and do an annualized calculation of global population, you end up with a global population of more than 9 billion by 2050. Try it yourself, starting with the current world population, estimated by the US Census to be about 6.73 billion ( It is easy to set up in a spreadsheet, just like doing a annual compounded interest calculation. You simply multiply the global population for that year by the projected growth rate, add the result to the current population and you have the projected world population for the next year, and so on for each year. Thus, you will have a total of 42 calculations for world population to span 2009 through 2050, each based on the current projected growth rate and the total population of the previous year. You will end up with a world population of almost 10 billion by 2050.
It is disturbing to envision that the population growth might not be as large as has been projected because so many people will have dramatically shortened life spans due to starvation, war, and disease. This seems to me to be a greater concern than a little global warming, whatever the cause.

Graeme Rodaughan
October 12, 2008 5:18 pm

A little OT…
At Jennifer Marohasy website,
There is a link to an intersting article on AGW as a political movement co-opting science – or “politicisation of science”. The link is here
Cheers G

October 13, 2008 2:58 am

Kum Dollison (09:28:44) :
>Codetech, I’m 61, and, believe me
Okay, that makes sense. And no, I don’t even think about running 87 swine-urine in my baby, she gets the highest octane available. 94 under normal circumstances, 92 during one of the increasingly frequent fuel shortages, 106 during racing season (you can run a lot more leaded gas past the O2 sensor than most people realize).
It used to be that I could ONLY run a particular brand of 94, which has been E10 for 20 years, but lately with all fuel switching to E10 I can grab 91-92 octane from Esso or Shell without blowing it up.
The vast majority of things such as octane are North American. The only exception is the metric garbage imposed upon us by a liberal government that thought we should be more like europe and less like the US.
I tuned it for 94, and have a race-only cal that is very happy with 106. Unfortunately, my tires aren’t as happy with it. I’ve actually been years developing this computer, I removed the ROM from the engine controller, completely disassembled it, determined what everything (yes, EVERYthing) is doing, and rewrote several sections for accuracy. For example, the factory fueling is very sloppy and they seemed to be okay with relying on the O2 sensor to clean it up. I changed it to 100% calculated accurate, and even without the O2 feedback operating my A/F ratio is dead on to what I set it. This is one of the reasons I’m able to benefit from the Ethanol content, since normally Ethanol will skew the output from the O2 sensor, causing the computer to attempt to compensate in the wrong direction.
I’ll never understand how a giant corporation with billions in development funding can do a worse job than some individual working from his house. Then again, they were probably more interested in allowing any idiot to come along and pump whatever they could into it, and not blow it up (warranty vs. fuel efficiency).

Kum Dollison
October 13, 2008 5:56 am

Yes, in a litigious society such as ours they definitely have to “keep it simple.”
There’s a group of enthusiasts, and tuners at
that would probably appreciate your insights. You might want to stop in and share some of your experiences.

October 13, 2008 9:01 am

Kum Dollison wrote:
“I think what you’re missing is that when you replace 700,000 Barrels/Day of a substance (petroleum) with another substance (ethanol) the price of the First Substance is likely to fall.”
The conclusions of the paper from IU can only be valid if the assumptions on which it is based are true. The 700,000 Barrels/Day isn’t even close. From the paper they state a production of 7.22 billion gallons of ethanol/year. That works out to 627,963 barrels of ethanol/day. The fallacy in your argument is you are comparing apples to oranges. What we are interested in is the energy content, not the volume.
The energy content of gasoline is about 125,000 btu/gallon. For ethanol it is about 77,000 btu/gallon. By this alone 700,000 Barrels/Day gets reduced to 386,825 barrels/day gasoline equivalent. Even this number is wildly optimistic.
The most optimistic energy in to energy out ratio for the production of ethanol from corn is 1:1.35. Subtracting the energy input from the energy output the net gain in barrels/day gasoline equivalent from the production of ethanol is 100,288 barrels/day. From the EIA we find our use of gasoline in 2007 was about 9.286 million barrels/day:
A study that claims a negative effect of $0.29 to $0.40 per gallon on retail gasoline prices, due to ethanol which effectively adds only 1% to the supply of gasoline energy content at a higher cost, simply fails the smell test.
What further discredits the validity of the paper is the assumed energy gain (pg.3) for corn:
page 3
“… and will use approximately one-tenth as much fuel energy to produce as it contains (Wang et al. 2007).”
Not only is this assertion not even remotely supported by the Wang et al study, it is completely out of line with any published study on the energy balance of producing corn ethanol.

Jeff Alberts
October 13, 2008 9:07 am

I’ve always run 87 in my vehicles (one a 2005 Toyota Matrix, the other an F-250 V10 gas, no knocks or pings in either), because that’s what the manufacturer called for. 99.9% of the time higher octane isn’t needed. I’m assuming you’ve checked your owner’s manual?

October 13, 2008 9:14 am

“It is disturbing to envision that the population growth might not be as large as has been projected because so many people will have dramatically shortened life spans due to starvation, war, and disease. This seems to me to be a greater concern than a little global warming, whatever the cause.”
I said that sentiment. But previous point was that the wealthiest nations on earth currently are on a crash course towards negative growth. EIghteen of the twenty wealthiest nations have fertility rates below 2.1 (the US and Austrailia being the exceptions. And one wonders how much immigration is proping up the US numbers). About 90% of the world’s wealth is tied up in nations that will age rapidly in coming years. One would expect a huge transfer of wealth from the younger generations to the older ones in order to fund health care and retirement. Also, these 20 nations contributed nearly 85% of the worlds industrial GHGs. Are we in the twlight years of GHG growth? Can the West and Asia sustain thier current industrial activity without large numbers of younger producers and consumers?
Already Europe is seeing the effects of this in many areas. The average age of an Italien farmer is 64, and so much pasture land in Greece has gone fallow that summer brush fires are as normal as they are in So Cal. Feeding Europe may be a problem in a few decades unless they can attract a younger generation of farmers -but where are they going to finds them?. I have two German friends who are under 35 and have emigrated (Austrailia and Argentina) . From what they tell me, this is becoming a normal thing in Europe. What young people there are in Europe are fleeing if the oppurtunities arise.

October 13, 2008 11:45 am

Jeff Alberts (09:07:46) :
>I’ve always run 87 in my vehicles …
Thing is, a turbo changes the whole mix. As I’m sure you know, the turbo exploits the pressure differential between the high pressure exhaust and the low pressure atmosphere to spin a compressor, which increases the volume of air getting into a cylinder. This means that detonation is a VERY serious possibility, since the charge is hot, the combustion chamber can have hot spots, and compressing a larger volume of air/fuel mix results in a very VERY hot charge.
87 octane is for normally aspirated engines only. 89 and 91 are for normally aspirated engines with higher compression (static compression), 91-94 are suitable for supercharged engines which usually have lower static compression but high dynamic compression.
As I mentioned before, I get extremely good mileage, and have a lot of power available on demand, which is the benefit of a turbo engine. The trade-off is that I have to use more expensive fuel.

Kum Dollison
October 13, 2008 11:57 am

Greg, this is what I’m talking about. If you’re going to denigrate a University Study you should at least have your “Facts” straight. Here is the amount of ethanol we CURRENTLY produce:
It’s 10 Billion, 635 Million Gallons/Yr Add to that about 400 Million Gallons from Brazil and you get 11,035,000,000 gallons. Divide by 355, and then by 42 and you get 719,830 barrels/day.
The “energy content” of the gasoline you buy at the filling station is NOT 125,000 btu. It is about 116,000 btu. And, it’s Octane is 87, compared to Ethanol’s 115 (Octane is very important in that it governs how much the fuel can be compressed and, thus, how much horsepower it can generate.) For this reason you can achieve the same mileage/horsepower from ethanol in a smaller high compression engine as from gasoline in a larger lower compression engine.
This paper referred to “fuel” energy. Virtually all of the energy inputs connected to ethanol is either nat gas or coal. This, however, is changing in that the refineries are moving toward biomass, rapidly. Poet’s “Project Liberty” plants will, probably, be in the equivalent range of 15, or 20 to 1 for fossil fuel conversion.
In short, we ARE replacing close to 700,000 barrels of oil/day with ethanol, and the number is increasing every month. Interestingly, Garron was onto something when he pointed out that the difference between 500,000 and 700,000 probably isn’t nearly as big as the difference between, say, 300,000, and 500,000.

October 13, 2008 1:53 pm

Whatever CO2 savings ethanol produces is consumed in the distilling and transportation of ethanol. Ethanol cannot be transported via our pipelines due to the high content of water (corrodes the pipeline fixtures), and must be transported via diesel semis. I can only imagine what ethanol might do to an engine over a period of 4-5 years.

Kum Dollison
October 13, 2008 3:45 pm

JP, biofuels aren’t about CO2. Never were. Ethanol and biodiesel are all about depleting oil supplies, and high energy prices. As for pipelines: although, most ethanol is moved by rail, today, kinder Morgan is making a few mods to their pipelines to allow for the shipping of ethanol. Brazil ships a LOT of ethanol via pipeline.
Those materials that are sensitive to ethanol have, pretty much, NOT been used in automobiles since 1973. As I stated above, Minnesota has been blending 10% ethanol in ALL of their gasoline since 1996. The truth is engines that have run ethanol are, by and large, cleaner, and in better shape than engines that have run 100% gasoline.

October 13, 2008 5:43 pm

Kum (15:45:49) Buy a gallon of ethanol, starve a dozen children. My Daddy told me 25 years ago that only subsidies make ethanol feasible for the market, and it is still true. If my taxes and your’s weren’t being wasted on this boondoggle, ethanol would only be drank, not burned.

Don Shaw
October 13, 2008 6:08 pm

Kum Dollison (15:45:49) : says
“JP, biofuels aren’t about CO2. Never were. Ethanol and biodiesel are all about depleting oil supplies, and high energy prices. ”
Kum, I always find your posts interesting even when they are inaccurate. The following comment comes from the DOE website and clearly states the CO2 emissions as an incentive for reducing CO2:
“Biofuels & Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Myths versus Facts
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to advancing technological solutions to promote and
increase the use of clean, abundant, affordable, and domestically- and sustainably-produced biofuels to
diversify our nation’s energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce our dependence on
Kum, you are right however that there are other factors, but you failed to mention the other significant factor; namely congress pandering to the corrupt Archer Daniels Midland and the farm lobby. You can believe what you want, but there are numerous studies that give information on both sides of the argument. I am not naive enought to believe a study by any university from the corn growing states. Also refering to a site that is dedicated to renewable fuels is tough to swallow.
For me the bottom line is the free market. As long as the governments are providing huge incentives and tax breaks for ethanol from corn, I find it hard to believe it makes economic sense.
If the incentives for ethanol and other (expensive) biofuels are cost and supply the following questions remain:
1) Why do we refuse to develop our own oil and natural gas resources in the USA especially offshore and in ANWR? Contrary to the MSM spin, there are huge oil and gas resources in the USA that we refuse develop. These resources could not only replace a lot of foreign oil but could also reduce energy cost, provide high paying jobs, reduce flow of dollars overseas, and increase the security of supply. Every other country taps it’s resources, even Cuba will be tapping our oil off Florida coast using the Chinese.
2) Why are some politicians pushing for a carbon cap/tax on fossile fuels and touting renewables believing they are carbon neutral?
3) Why are resources such as tar sands and shale put off limits in the US and Canadien Tar sands shunned by Congress?
4) Why does the Senate Majority leader and the speaker of the house call oil and coal “dirty” while pushing for huge expenditures in biofuels plants that are far from clean?
5) Why has the congress mandated 4 to 5 times increase in ethanol? If it made sense the market would dictate the increase.

Kum Dollison
October 13, 2008 7:01 pm

25 Yrs. ago? In 1983?
Did he have anything to say about gene/splicing? cloning? Laptops? The Internet? Nano-Technology? Decoding the Genome?
Kim a gallon of ethanol contains a little less than six pounds ($0.42) of field corn. ( People don’t even Eat field corn. Cows eat field corn.) How can a dozen children die of starvation due to the lack of forty two cents worth of somethng they don’t eat, anyway?
How are any visitors to this website pay any attention to anything you say about climate when you make statements like these?

Kum Dollison
October 13, 2008 7:42 pm

I am not naive enought to believe a study by any university from the corn growing states. WOT?
Don, the oil companies get all kinds of subsidies, and tax breaks. Does that meant they’re not viable business enterprises? Look, the ethanol/biodiesel industry is up against the combined might of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Venezuela, all the rest of OPEC, Russia, all the rest of the non-Opec countries, Exxon, Shell, Conoco, BP, ad infinitum. And, THEY own the distribution network. And, Oil, two months ago, was $147.00/Barrel.
So, we gave them a little help, and, by all estimates, we were returned a sizable profit in the form of lower gasoline prices. And, Tar Sands? Have you ever, actually, seen pictures of the “Tar Sands?”
Sure, Don, we have some oil left. Do you have grandkids? Do you think Maybe we should try to leave them a little bit of oil? Just in case there’s something they really need it for? Ethanol/ and biodiesel will do a lot of work. And, it IS clean. And, once you study it, you will see that it IS cheaper than $80.00 Oil (much less $147.00 Oil.)
Bedtime for Bonzo – Good Night, and Nice Chatting With You.

Don Shaw
October 13, 2008 9:55 pm

I think it is insulting for you to include American, British and Dutch oil companies in the same category as OPEC. What do you mean by their combined might? Do you think that they collaborate to fix the price? The non government oil companies control about 15% of the crude thanks to the policy in the US of not developing our resources. Think how bad it might be if there were not some private companies with high technology as players in the mix for oil exploration and production.
I keep hearing about the tax breaks and subsidies for the oil companies beyond that given to every other company. I know first hand about all the subsidies for the ethanol/corn folks including the 53 cents per gallon. Can you cite the particular subsidies and tax breaks for the oil companies. I know the Clinton administration did not include an escalation clause when they let some leases when the crude price was about $16/bbl. That was a contract that Pelosi now wants to break. I expect there might be some examples so I would like to hear them.
Not only have I seen pictures of the Alberta Tar Sands, I worked on the Engineering design of one plant and also spent 1 year working long hours at the site in Fort McMurray starting up the plant. You should visit Ft McMurray and see how a cold, desolate part of the world has been turned into a place with lots of job opportunities and financial rewards. Without oil from tar sands (assuming we still refuse to develop our resources) we would be more dependent on mifddle east oil and the prices would be higher. We need to thank Canada for the emense amount of energy that they provide the US especially considering that we refuse to develop our own resources. You mentioned earlier that we send our $$$ to the middle east. Most of the oil we import comes from Canada, Mexico, Venzuela, etc. , not te middle east.
Finally, I currently enjoy the economic benefits of working on renewable and other alternative fuel projects. Your comment that these processes are clean is a myth. Also I don’t know where you get your $80/bbl. Some backup would be appreciated, and possibly we could save lots of taxpayers $$ by eliminating the unnecessary subsidies and loan guarantees currently in place. Finally these plants are struggling at the edge of technogy and may never achieve the promises of our politicians, who seem to think we can just haphazzardly pump $$$ at it. Re my children and grandchildren, I am more concerned that these efforts will fail to meet the promise of providing our energy needs and their lifestyle will be seriously affected. I believe we need to focus on basic research rather than trying to force an approach decided by Congress.
The worst scenario I see for my grandchildrenis that the anti fossil fuel, AGW folks will significantly affect the quality their life. I am thinking about them!!

October 13, 2008 10:10 pm

Kum (19:01:43) Hey, energy was his specialty, and he saw it coming. Do you not understand that land for crops is fungible?
How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you are so stupidly and unnecessarily insulting?

October 13, 2008 10:18 pm

Kum (19:01:43) How much does a gallon of ethanol weigh? Are you seriously trying to tell me that nearly 8 pounds of ethanol contains less than 6 pounds of corn?
You do know there were food riots in Asia this last year? That implies that some on the margin died. It is more than irritating to listen to you defend this environmental, social, and political disaster. Their deaths be upon you.

October 13, 2008 10:35 pm

Kum (19:01:43) Let’s see, cows eat field corn. Cows produce milk. Children drink milk. More than this example, though, land diverted to produce ethanol has raised the price of food all over the world. And you are mistaken that reducing the output of fossil CO2 wasn’t one of the reasons used to shove this boondoggle down the throats of taxpayers.
[personal attack deleted ~ charles the moderator]

October 13, 2008 10:42 pm

Okay, okay, let’s rein it in a tad . . .

October 13, 2008 10:43 pm

Kum (the usual) Government mandates and government subsidies produce an evil brew. If ethanol is so great why can’t it compete in an unencumbered market? My Daddy has wanted to know that since before you had any inkling of the question.

October 13, 2008 10:47 pm

evanjones (22:42:51) People are dying from the biofuel disaster, and even more are being impoverished. It’s a little tough to listen to Kum being both wrong and smug about it. Evil creeps in on little cat feet, and burning ethanol for transportation is evil, today. I’m not saying it can never have a role. Japan depended on making jet fuel from pine trees when we put them past peak oil with our submarines.

October 13, 2008 10:48 pm

FWIW, I thoroughly disapprove of the ethanol racket, but I understand that not everyone agrees with my math.
But the fact is that flour prices are up sharply in the UDCs.

October 13, 2008 10:58 pm

ej (22:47:34) The ethanol disaster need to be stopped, and it won’t get stopped until people get angry about it. But it is a little silly to sit here and rant at a snoring Kum. I’ll lay off at least until he can respond.

October 13, 2008 11:00 pm

Look, kim, I know. I also believe it kills people. Food riots don’t occur in a vacuum. (And they were not only in Asia. They even occurred in Mexico, and IIRC, Africa.)
Perhaps I am a bit jaded by it all.
I grew up during the height of the Cold War. Lots more people were dying on account of that. Or even on account of, say, Rwanda.
I’ve lived through a lot of evil and it hasn’t been padding around on cats’ feet. Many millions dead and a lot of my contemporaries shrugging it off and making smarmy excuses for the redhanded murderers. (I took my masters in Ashamed of America at Columbia GSAS.)
But they were mostly wrongheaded, not evil. They didn’t realize (or perhaps accept) the indirect consequences of their beliefs.
I was in Germany a few years back. Came across an old codger who didn’t speak to Americans–he remembered the bombings. (I assume he lost someone or ones, but I never found out.)
We can’t win people over by being overharsh . . .

October 13, 2008 11:07 pm

The ethanol disaster need to be stopped, and it won’t get stopped until people get angry about it.
I think it’s more effective to get upset about it and firm about it.
If he thought it starved people and didn’t care, then I’d get a bit mad. But he merely thinks we’re wrong.
If we’re going to win that fight we have to rope in the hearts and minds. Getting mad gets in the way.

October 13, 2008 11:13 pm

ej, I’m sure you are right, but the plain deceitfulness of his answer about the starving children and field corn does not give me much confidence in his bonafides. He’s a partisan disinformation specialist, precisely whom we need to get angry and curse at. He’s not persuadable by reason.

October 13, 2008 11:17 pm

I don’t think he’s being deceitful. I just think he’s plain old wrong. He’s not considering the entire equation. Not a sin, just an error, and a rather common error at that.
I doubt he’s profiting off of it. We’re all a little partisan, come to think of it.
Besides, even if we may not convince him, there are the third parties. Keeping cool helps there, too.
And I am on your side of the argument, mind.

October 13, 2008 11:19 pm

And certainly, evil often pounces like a strong lion. It also creeps in on little cat feet, like ethanol did.

October 13, 2008 11:23 pm

ej, in my comment at (22:35:22) I called him ignorant or disingenuous. It’s not going to be easy for him to beg off with ignorance, but if he does, then the deceit is not there. Personally, I think he understands that it is raising food prices around the world and it doesn’t matter to him. Why else that stupid comment about children not eating field corn?
You can be partisan without being disinformational. Isn’t that what we all strive for?

October 13, 2008 11:24 pm

With an assist from a harsh winter. But yes, you’re right. I’d bring up DDT about now (esp. since the WHO has recently approved and endorsed it–40+ million dead children later). And consider the sanctimony that accompanied the DDT ban.
But then perhaps you disagree with me concerning DDT. Many do. And they are very sincere in their beliefs.

October 13, 2008 11:30 pm

Isn’t that what we all strive for?
Well, yes. But perhaps that’s what he’s striving for. It’s easy for people to miss indirect connections.
The AGW dudes think we are missing an indirect connection, too. Surely we drive them to fury or they wouldn’t so often be abusive. But abusing them back doesn’t work. We need to be firm but reasonable or we will lose out.
(Not that I intend simply to let the matter slide when it all comes clear!)

October 13, 2008 11:42 pm

ej, I believe painting DDT on walls is the right thing to do.
It is a little amusing for me to rant like this, because I’ve spent a lot of time on adversarial boards, being accused of being a paid disinformational specialist. Notice that I never insinuated that he was personally profiting either from ethanol or from defending it. That is a bridge too far.
But for someone who is acutely and comprehensively knowledgable about the ethanol industry to make that claim about field corn seems deliberately deceitful. I promised to lay off, and I will until he answers. It is possible that he is merely ignorant, in which case, I’ll have to eat a lot of my angry words.

October 13, 2008 11:55 pm

And I’d go a lot further than mere doorframe painting (yet not as fr as we were in 1962). But that just goes to show how opinions can differ.
I think they ought to free up a lot of that subsidized land. maybe there is room for some sort of biofuel (though I don’t see where yet). I agree that the free market ought to deal with such things–without government subsidy.
Those nasty blogs will get to a body!

October 14, 2008 12:07 am

Don Shaw (21:55:42) Hear, hear. Let an unencumbered market price fossil fuel out of the energy market eventually. Those hydrocarbon bonds were much too laboriously and lovingly formed just to destroy them for the energy contained. We need them for plastic feedstock for structure and fibre to house and clothe the teeming billions.

October 14, 2008 12:08 am

Doorframes and interior walls, is what I’ve read.

October 14, 2008 12:30 am

Corn as far as eyes see,
Grown to feed a mandate.
Manchild starves.

October 14, 2008 4:33 am

kim (22:35:22) Charles, that was not a personal attack; it was an attack on his rhetoric. I might well have phrased it better by saying that his argument was uninformed or disingenous, rather than calling him ignorant or disingenuous.
Commonly, when one is faced with an argument with the structure and content his had, and that is wrong, the resolution is that the proponent is either missing some knowledge or deliberately hiding it. I am trying to find out which.

October 14, 2008 7:09 am

Codetech (04:32:34) Thanks. Heh, it looks like we had a one person food riot here last night.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 7:12 am

Kim, I should have typed that a gallon of ethanol weighs a touch under 6.6lbs. The thing is you only use a little less than 1/3 of the corn kernel to make ethanol. The third that is protein, etc is passed along to the livestock in the form of distillers grains, and the 1/3 that’s CO2 is used for carbonation, dry ice, flooding oil fields (in the future, hopefully,) or released back into the atmosphere to be reabsorbed by the next crop.
I wasn’t meaning to be insulting to your father. My point was that technology/science advances mightily in 25 yrs. A person can be 100% correct, today, and “way off” in 25 yrs.
Kim, Stanford University published a study that found the world has between 1.0 and 1.2 Billion Acres of ABANDONED Farm Land. In the U.S., alone, we used to rowcrop 400 Million Acres, and, now, we rowcrop 250 Million Acres. We pay Farmers Not to Farm 34 Million Acres.
We “Export” more Corn, Beans, and Wheat Every Year. BUT, we have Never exported any significant amount of Field Corn to Africa. We produce 67% More Corn, today than we did in 1980 (using 10% Less Fertilizer, I might add,) and our yield is expected, in spite of the floods, to be 3 bu/acre higher this year than last year. It’s expected that we will increase our yield by 40% in just the next decade. The new Seeds are a “Wonder.”
The Cerrano in Brazil was considered “infertile” just a few years, ago; Now, they’re speaking of Brazil as the next “breadbasket of the World.” They just needed the right mix of nutrients. The 50% of the World’s land that suffers from Aluminum Toxicity can now be considered “fetile;” thanks to the new seeds. In short, we have Scads of available farmland.
The price of corn is, now, just barely above the cost of production. This is Great News for the Hundreds of Millions of poor subsistence farmers (70% of the world’s malnourished.)
Now, as for “food riots in Asia:” First, maybe we could have some links with actual “Numbers.” Second, the food shortages in Asia were shortages of Long Stemmed Rice. You cannot grow longstemmed rice on corn, soybean, or wheat land. It’s grown in the paddies of Southeast Asia. There is NO vector, whatsoever, between American Field Corn, and Asian long-stemmed Rice.
Largely, the problems in Egypt, India, and China were gov’t-related. Command economy price/import/export controls, related. As for Mexico, Tortillas are made with Mexican White SWEET Corn. There were Import controls on U.S. corn. The last demonstration I heard of in Mexico were Mexican FARMERS demonstrating against the lifting of Import controls on Jan 1st of this year; thus allowing the importation of Cheap American Corn.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 7:27 am

You may want to consider this: In 1947 the price of a bushel of corn was $2.16. The price of a barrel of oil was $2.16.
Today, the price of a bushel of corn is about $4.16 The price of a barrel of oil is about $82.00 (front month contract.) A box of corn flakes (containing about $0.06 worth of corn) is, typically, shipped about 1,500 miles.
In 1947 there was 4 times as much corn as “oil” in your corn flakes. Today, there is 5 times as much oil as corn. Texas A&M (hardly a “corn state” school) found, I think, that a dollar increase in fuel prices had twice, to three times the economic impact as a dollar increase in the price of corn.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 7:37 am

As for starving children in Africa, you might want to read about Malawi. From a poor, starving country to “giving food” to Zimbabwe (formerly the bread-basket of Africa.)
A little common sense, good governance, and telling the IMF, FAO, and UN to go jump in the lake.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 7:50 am

As for where we get our Oil. Mexico is expected to be “Out of the Oil Exporting Business” by 2011. Venezuelan exports have been sliding for several years, and even Canadian exports seem to be slipping a bit.
The last Seven Years have all been about surging Russian, and Angolese Exports. Now, Russian exports are declining, and Angola seems to be topping out. Prudhoe Bay is falling, and The North Sea has fallen off a cliff. Nigerian exports are steadily falling, and China, and India are “Importing” more. The only country on earth that will possibly export More next year than this year is Saudi Arabia; and, due to complete lack of transparency, it is problematic. Absolutely, no one, outside of a select few Saudis really know what Ghawar is doing, but it’s an Awfully Old Field.
Isn’t it worth noting that Oil started it’s spectacular run to $147.00/barrel last October at the exact time that the “Market” was “Peaking?” Correlation = Causation? No. But, still . . . . .

anna v
October 14, 2008 8:04 am

How about this:
“report allegedly leaked from the World Bank indicating that biofuels were responsible for 75 percent of the global food price increase was found to be only part of a position paper – an opinion piece based upon individual research – and does not reflect the official position of the World Bank.
The Guardian newspaper of London originally published the story July 4, stating that unnamed sources suggested the secret report was not released in order to prevent the U.S. government from embarrassment. The 17-page paper, which was meant to be part of an internal study released in April and was not secret at all, was written by World Bank Economist Donald Mitchell. It states that the World Bank’s index of food prices increased 140 percent from January 2002 to February 2008, and that the increase “was caused by a confluence of factors but the most important was the large increase in biofuels production in the U.S. and EU”
The Wall Street Journal also wrote about the “leaked report,” July 4. Four days later Wall Street Journal blogger Keith Johnson admitted to speaking with Mitchell only to find the report was not official; his specifications were actually left out of the World Bank’s final version. The draft, dated April 8, states it is “not for citation or circulation,” and “the views of this paper are those of the author and should not be attributed to the World Bank or its executive directors.”
OK, this is not an official world bank report, but still it is AN opinion by a person who had his hands on the data. ( as what you say is your opinion).
This other opinion says that 75% of the food shortage is due to the ethanol policy.
The food market, like the climate, is also a many parameter chaotic system connected by many supply and demands for various basic food stuff. Corn is how part of the world population gets its starch. Another part gets it from wheat and another from rice and some from potatoes. The demands are not isolated from each other. If corn is expensive the price of wheat and rice will also rise because people replace in search of basic starch and because we live in a global economy.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 8:06 am

Code Tech, did any of those articles mention that the EU held 10% of their wheat-land Out of Production last year? Or, that we pay farmer NOT to plant 34 Million Acres. Or, that Australia had a Horrible Drought? Or that the farmers in Argentina have withheld their products from the market due to “export Controls?” Or that the deal in Egypt was that the government was Not allowing the Bakers to sell their bread for enough to cover the cost of ingredients?
Did any of those articles mention that the cost of the plastic wrapper exceeds the cost of the wheat in a loaf of bread at today’s prices? Did they mention the failed corn crop in China (the world’s 2nd largest corn producer,) or the price controls there that caused rice farmers NOT to plant?
They seemed to miss quite a lot, no?

anna v
October 14, 2008 8:17 am

Kum Dollison (07:27:51) :
“You may want to consider this: In 1947 the price of a bushel of corn was $2.16. The price of a barrel of oil was $2.16.
Today, the price of a bushel of corn is about $4.16 The price of a barrel of oil is about $82.00 (front month contract.) A box of corn flakes (containing about $0.06 worth of corn) is, typically, shipped about 1,500 miles.”
So, are you saying that it is economically worth turning corn into ethanol, i.e. burning food?
“In 1947 there was 4 times as much corn as “oil” in your corn flakes. Today, there is 5 times as much oil as corn. Texas A&M (hardly a “corn state” school) found, I think, that a dollar increase in fuel prices had twice, to three times the economic impact as a dollar increase in the price of corn.”
So? You are talking of the affluent west where the cost of foodstuff on the plate is a small percentage of the price. That is why in the restaurants portions are enormous.
I am concerned with those who survive with a cup of staple food ( as in or a day, which becomes half a cup if corn is burnt instead of put on the food markets.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 8:25 am

The farmers are getting $3.64/bu for their wheat in st. Louis, today.
That’s, what, about $0.06/lb?
Ethanol, or no ethanol, folks, you can’t grow it any cheaper than that.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 9:13 am

Well, yeah, I’d say that allowing the oil companies to pump our oil offshore without paying anything for it would be a “subsidy.”
The Grand-Daddy of all “Tax Breaks,” though, is the “Oil Depletion Allowance.”
Then, there was the power given to the Texas Railroad commission to set prices.
The big thing, though, is that until the last energy bill the big oil companies made it, virtually, impossible for their franchisees to dispense E85, or other biofuels. They controlled distribution to, almost, the same extent that AT&T used to control communications. I don’t think anyone wants to go back to those days.
Until recently, the farmers raised corn and sold it for about a dollar less than it cost to produce. The government, then, reimbursed them for the difference. As recently as a couple of years, ago, this was $11 or $12 Billion Dollars. Those days are gone, thankfully, as corn is now about $4.00 bu (about $0.50 above the cost of production in most places.) Approx. 90% of that corn was used to feed livestock, or exported to Europe, and Asia to feed livestock. This Beef, and Pork was then eaten by the middle and upper classes. Note: the poor people in Asia that eat pork largely eat pork they, themselves, have raised.
Anyhoo, we, now, export more corn, and beans than ever. we haven’t been a “Major” wheat exporter for many years. But, we, now, produce “way more” corn than ever. We are now using a portion of some of the kernels (the Starch) to make ethanol (the protein, etc. is returned to the food chain in the form of distillers grains, a cattle feed that is superior to corn.)
The front month contract, yesterday, for ethanol was $1.75/gal. (This is prior to Any subsidies.) The front month contract for gasoline was $1.90/gal. The blender (oil co.) now takes the ethanol and blends it with gasoline. THEY receive a $0.51 Blender Credit. They pretty much pass the lower cost along to you. In the meantime We’re Not sending $56 Million/Day Overseas. And, we’re saving some, rather substantial amount of money (again, estimated at over $40 Billion/yr) due to the fact that we’ve lowered demand for imported oil, substantially.
I’m through. Thanks to the blog-owner for letting me defend, myself. I do think it’s very important that the anti-AGW movement Not allow itself to be identified as nothing more than a big-oil mouthpiece. Everyone should strive for as much accuracy “as possible.” Myself included, of course. 🙂

October 14, 2008 9:21 am

Kum (07:12:08) You are still finagling around two important points, that ethanol is uneconomic without subsidies and mandates, and that the diversion of land from food production to fuel production increases the price of food. I’ll grant that land use is not completely fungible.

October 14, 2008 10:00 am

Kum (09:13:51) I’d like to thank you for the opportunity for this conversation, brief and disjointed as it has been. You have been very informative, and more civil than have I.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 10:36 am

And, Kim, you are continuing to ignore the fact that corn is selling, today, for a touch over $0.07 lb. If you sell it for less than $0.06 lb (which you can only do by subsidizing it’s production) you take all of the “subsistence” farmers in Africa, S. America, and Asia out of production. 70% of the world’s malnourished are “Subsistence Farmers.”
I would argue that raising the price of corn from $0.05 lb to $0.07 lb will NOT cause starvation. But, putting hundreds of millions of subsistence farmers Out of Business, will.
As for ethanol being “uneconomic,” That’s just untrue. Reread my post above. We are NO LONGER subsidizing the production of corn (thereby saving $11 Billion Annually in Price “Supports.”
The Ethanol refiners are buying the corn at market prices and producing ethanol, which they’re selling for $1.79 Gallon, Today. That is Fifteen Cents Cheaper than Gasoline. If you will read this link of research done by the NREL, in conjunction with the DOE, you will see that in a “Proper” engine ethanol is, actually, More Efficient than gasoline. BTW, these engines are coming to a showroom near you, soon.
The Big difference that I see in the “economics” is that it seems very likely that gasoline will be selling considerably higher 3 years from now than it is, Today; whereas, it seems probable that ethanol will be somewhere in the range it is Now.
BTW, the tax credit for blending ethanol is slowly being removed. It drops to $0.46 gal in 09′. Look, ethanol production is an “infant” industry. Presently, it’s caught between two volatile “Commodities,” corn, and oil. The Blenders’ Tax Credit has enabled it to withstand some pretty violent assaults while it was getting it’s footing.
It is, now, getting much more efficient. They are starting to extract the corn oil (thus making better swine feed, and providing cooking oil, etc.) It is starting to use biomass for process energy rather than nat gas, or coal. Poet’s plant in Emmetsburg, Ia (Project Liberty) will use the corn cobs to produce cellulosic ethanol, while, at the same time, providing process energy to run the plant. There are some really exciting things coming down with using Municipal Solid Waste (see Bluefire.)
Range Fuel’s new Georgia plant will come online in early 09′. It makes ethanol out of wood waste. This was all made possible by starting with the easiest biostock to work with, Corn.
Kim, common sense tells us that our World Economy (that thing that keeps billions of people from starving) is Driven by Oil. Common Sense, also, tells us that those pools of oil Won’t Last Forever. Some say we’re “peaking,” now. Some say we won’t “Peak” for several years. EVERYONE acknowledges that we WILL peak.
They didn’t inject those Hundreds of Billions of Dollars into the banking system the last couple of days because we’re in a Depression. They put it in to Keep us from Going into a Depression. That’s what we’re doing with Biofuels. We’re NOT developing this technology because we’re OUT of Oil. We’re developing this technology because Some Day we Will Be.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 10:39 am

It’s cool, Kim. We, ALL, need to search for the truth the best that we can. It IS difficult, sometimes.

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 10:45 am

Yikes, I forgot to put up the Link to Efficiency.

Don Shaw
October 14, 2008 8:40 pm

Kum said
“Well, yeah, I’d say that allowing the oil companies to pump our oil offshore without paying anything for it would be a “subsidy.”
Wow, You might want to let the oil companies know that they need not make the payments for the leases listed below:
“A year ago, 40 companies vied for 282 tracts in the annual western Gulf lease sale. More than 3,000 tracts were offered. The highest bid, $37.6 million, was made by StatoilHydro USA, a subsidiary of a Norwegian oil company.”
Also there will be royality payments in case you are unfamiliar with oil economics.
The Texas Railroad comission power over oil ended in 1970. What are you talking about?
“The East Texas oil field’s discovery sparked a boom in production that sent prices plummeting. After a lengthy battle, the Railroad Commission won the right to limit the production of oil to keep the price of oil from falling too low. Because of this regulation, the commission was important to the national and international energy supply until the 1970s.”
Similarly the oil depletion allowance ended in 1974.
So I guess there are currently no subsidies or special tax breaks for the oil companies?
Re peak oil The predictions that peak oil is around the corner have been made many times for over 50 years, yet new technology and production methods have continuously proven the claims wrong time after time. Brazil just made huge offshore oil finds. You might want to read the following which indicates we have at least a 40 year supply of oil not to mention shale and coal which can be liquified to provide motor fuel.
Some of the info from this article follows:
“Although Congress has not authorized a thorough inventory of offshore resources for over 30 years, the American Petroleum Institute estimates recoverable U.S. oil resources at about 86 billion barrels offshore and 32 billion barrels onshore.[7] This estimate doesn’t take into consideration technological advancements, unconventional sources and recent discoveries. ”
“Meanwhile, it is estimated that oil production from tar sands in Canada and South America would add an additional 600 billion barrels to the world’s supply.[5] Canada, which does not segregate conventional oil from tar sands, is currently the largest U.S. oil supplier with about half of Canadian crude derived from oil sands. This oil is forecast to reach 3 million barrels per day in 2015. The Economist[6] recently noted that there exist “174 billion barrels of proven reserves in the oil sands of Alberta” alone.”

Kum Dollison
October 14, 2008 10:54 pm

These Tar Sands?
Don, I’ll betcha a dollar to a donut these will be shut down within 10 years. In fact, I think I read where all of the new projects have been put “on hold.”
And, didn’t I read that Canada’s oil exports to the U.S. are slipping?
Don, you’ve obviously worked a long time in oil. You know that it’s not the “reserves;” it’s the “Flow Rate.” And, OUR Flow Rate is slowing. Has been since 73′. We’re down to about 25% of our consumption. Our 3rd largest source, Mexico, will probably drop out of the Oil Exporting game in 2011. Cantarell, their largest field, fell 30% Year, on year. Venezuela, our 2nd(?) largest source is exporting less to us Every Year. Nigeria, it’s falling, also. So is Kuwait.
It’s not “Reserves;” it’s “Flow Rate.”
Prudhoe Bay is slipping away. The GOM is falling. The North Sea is “Plunging.” The U.K. and Indonesia are now “importing.” China’s imports are up every year. So with India. Russia has rolled over, and it’s exporting less every month. By the way they did EOR on Texas, and the North Sea. They did “Tertiary” on Texas and the North Sea. And Cantarell. Didn’t matter. When it’s over; it’s over.
Now, it all hinges on Ghawar. The field is Seventy Years Old. Shale? There’s shale all over the world. It’s the oil of the future. Has been, forever. Shell keeps saying they’ve got it ALL figured out. Ready to go. They never go. Meantime, they had to write down their reserves by 50%.
Don, I Don’t hate oil. I Love oil. But, only a fool would bet his future on Venezuela finally figuring out the tar sands. Or, Shell doing Shale. The “Wall Street” guys might believe in all that; but, they thought it was a peachy-keen idea to give oversized loans to people with no jobs, and bad credit.
I think we need to take out a little “insurance.” And, I’m not talking “credit default swaps” from Joe’s bar and grill, and hedge fund. I’m talkin a little biofuel infrastructure. Just to be on the Safe Side, ya know?

October 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Pheh, there is still a mandate, still a subsidy, and corn for ethanol has raised the price of food here in the US and will wherever land is diverted from food to fuel. There is a trade-off between using the sun’s energy as converted through the biosphere for food or transportation, just as there always has been. How about letting the market decide, rather than being forced to buy an insurance policy against future fears? If peak oil is your best rationale, then ethanol will become economically sensible eventually anyway. To push it before its time is wasteful.

October 15, 2008 5:40 pm

You lose all credibility when you state that you believe the Tar Sands will be shut down. EVER. Not going to happen.
ESPECIALLY when you back your absurd hope with a FAR FAR LEFT NUTJOB ENVIROWHACKO publication.
Sorry, Kum, but you just exposed yourself for what you are. Or confirmed it, whichever.

Kum Dollison
October 15, 2008 7:21 pm

It’s an environmental disaster, Code Read. And, for what? A couple of million barrels of oil in a world that needs 85 mboe, daily?
You might be right. I doubt it, though. We’ll see.
I have no idea the “particulars” of that outfit; but, their argument is compelling.
Kim, did you object, strongly, to the subsidies for deep-water drilling in the energy bill of 2007? And, Kim, corn is about $3.50/bu, now:
That’s about $0.06/lb. Do you really think six cent/pound corn is raising your food prices? Do you understand that $3.50/bu is, basically, a year’s work, and large investment to “Break Even?” Ah, well, I guess we’ll just agree to disagree on this one. G’nite. 🙂

Kum Dollison
October 15, 2008 8:22 pm

Oops, it’s Code Tech, not Code Read. Where’d I get that? Sorry, Code Tech.

October 16, 2008 3:27 am

Kum (19:21:58) You see, this is the sort of sophistry you use. No matter what the price of corn is, it would be lower if there were no demand for it for ethanol. Hence, yes, food prices would be lower if corn weren’t diverted to ethanol production.

October 16, 2008 3:28 am

Furthermore, commodity prices are depressed from the credit squeeze. What was the corn price during the last year?

October 16, 2008 5:12 am

By the way, Dee, good stuff at TD.

Kum Dollison
October 16, 2008 9:16 am

No Kim, there are no Free lunches. The only way corn can be grown below the cost of production is if it’s “subsidized” by the “Taxpayer.”
You can pay it at the supermarket; or you can pay it on April 15; but, You WILL pay the cost of production.

Kum Dollison
October 16, 2008 9:27 am

And, yep, corn prices were a lot higher before the hedgies were forced to liquidate.
Which begs the question; Why were they so high to start with?
I mean, we’re producing more ethanol than ever, right? But corn prices have fallen back to, basically, the cost of production.
So, why were corn prices so high? You might want to take a look at This.

October 16, 2008 8:57 pm

Kum, did you notice I live in Calgary? I’ve had several jobs in the oil patch. My current job takes me all over that area: Fort Mac, Grande Prairie, etc. I fly over and drive through it regularly.
There is no “environmental disaster”.
I have to assume that you have never seen the natural state of that area. THERE’S an environmental disaster. Trees grow crooked, there is very little ground cover, little viable soil, the lakes and ponds have a film of oil. It reeks of oil. You can even smell it when you fly over Athabasca in a Dash-8 (prop plane, typically at 24,000 feet). That is the NATURAL state. There is little farming in the area as a combination of it being too far north and soaked in oil.
We go in, extract what is useful, and leave an area with topsoil and a clean environment. Just because some envirowackos get some pictures of the dirtiest operations and try to convince everyone that the whole area is like that does not in any way make it so.
This year big news was made when some ducks drowned in an open tailings pond. Big deal. More ducks were shot by hunters the same day in the same area. I wonder how many ducks were killed the same day at the wind farm a few miles south of me… but I know that will NEVER be reported.
The tar sands are worth billions of barrels, not millions. A significant portion of that is extractable using CURRENT technology, developed at a cost of tens of billions of dollars, and the rest is likely extractable using future developments.

October 17, 2008 6:53 am

Kum (09:27:59) So this is what it has come down to, lobbyist spin? Why am I not surprised.

October 17, 2008 12:14 pm

Just in case anyone’s still checking this topic… my post above should have said TRILLIONS, not billions. Estimated oil in the tar sands ranges between 1.2 and 2.5 trillion barrels.
This is one of the reasons the envirowackos are fighting so hard against oilsands development.

October 20, 2008 12:36 pm

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