Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Biofuels Scam

The Biofuels Scam

By James M. Andrews November 07, 2010 American Thinker

Since 2007 the price of food around the world has just about doubled. Bad harvests, inflation, or George Bush didn't cause this price increase. According to a secret report from the World Bank, reported in the UK's Guardian, 75% of the increase in price has one source: "Biofuels." This contrasts with US claims of only a 3% biofuels-caused increase. The World Bank also says that rising food prices have pushed 100 million people worldwide below the poverty line. Riots have been sparked from Bangladesh to Egypt.

Where is the outrage? Where are the MSNBC stories on food riots? Where is Sean Penn?

The Holy Grail of the Left in recent years is Climate Disruption (formerly known as Global Warming and Climate Change). Much ink has been spilled and much airtime has been devoted to pushing the Green Agenda. Legislation has been passed in the US, Europe and other places to address this so-called crisis. Incandescent bulbs have been banned, and mercury laden CFLs required. Coal-fired power plants are shuttered, raising the price of energy. Vast oil fields are placed off limits. "Cap and Trade" rules threaten our already reeling economy. Among other measures, Congress mandates that gasoline contain 10% by volume of ethanol. As a result, the US is currently burning about 25% of its corn crop as fuel. Government subsidies and mandates work quite well at converting food into fuel, thus reducing the amount of food. As anyone with more than a room temperature IQ knows, less of something results in higher prices. Hungry people? Pssh! Saving the planet takes precedence.

Brazil is clearing (by burning) tens of thousands of acres of rainforest to plant sugarcane -- not for human consumption, but for conversion to ethanol. Much more acreage has been cleared for sugarcane production than for lumber. As a CO2 "sink," sugarcane is non-existent compared to the trees it replaced. If CO2 were such a threat to the survival of the human race, wouldn't keeping the rainforest be a good idea? Don't burning millions of trees produce many thousands of tons of CO2? Clearly, common sense is missing from the "settled science" agenda of Climate Disruption.

There are other problems with biofuels than "merely" world hunger, deforestation and air pollution. Corn is a thirsty plant. Much water is used to make it grow, and copious quantities of nitrogen-based fertilizer. In addition to depleting the aquifer, fertilizer runoff ends up in the ocean. The Gulf of Mexico has a dead zone the size of New Jersey. Fish and nitrogen aren't compatible. The blue crab population in the Chesapeake is at a record low, and the sizes caught are smaller than in the past. Of course, "there are those who say" that Climate Disruption is to blame.

Ethanol is highly corrosive. It absorbs water from the air like a sponge. It cannot be transported in pipelines, necessitating delivery by (diesel) tanker trucks. If used in aircraft, water in the fuel can cause engine failure at the colder high altitudes. If left in your lawn mower or chainsaw over the winter, it causes serious rust problems. It lowers your car's mileage, negating any benefits from "reducing our dependence on foreign oil." It causes rust in your fuel lines and engine. It burns too hot in catalytic converters, causing premature failure. However, your car and lawnmower are not the only things at risk. According to a study conducted by National Institute of Health, there is a nearly three-fold increase in thyroid cancer risk for women who had used a public water supply that had nitrate levels of 5 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or higher for five years.

Given all these easily verifiable facts, why would we continue to mandate the use of ethanol in our gasoline? Why would we spend billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing it? Why would Big Ag be pressuring our corrupt and greedy political class to increase the mandate from 10% to 15%, despite alarm from automotive manufacturers concerning engine damage? You be the judge. Think about this the next time you shop for groceries, fill up your car, or pay your utility bill.

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