Friday, February 08, 2008

The Biofuel Follies

I'm starting to wonder if I'm beginning to think more like George "F" Will or he's starting to think more like I.

Nah, I don't really think like he does.

In this op-ed piece he's spot on about biofuels, but woefully wrong about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

Why won't Repugs ever accept the fact we need to reduce the use of oil and not constantly search for and extract more until the fucking planet is dry? Its a goddamn limited resource and we're exploiting it as fast as we can get our greedy little hands on it.

The ANWR is a pristine area on this planet and must be protected.

Yeah, as I've stated before, I'm a fucking tree hugger. Did you catch the last two words of the name for ANWR? Wildlife Refuge.
Iowa's caucuses, a source of so much turbulence, might even have helped cause the recent demonstration by 10,000 Indonesians in Jakarta. Savor the multiplying irrationalities of the government-driven mania for ethanol and other biofuels, and energy policy generally.

Indonesians, like most Asians, love soybeans, the world price of which has risen 50 percent in a month and 125 percent in a year, partly because of increasing world population and incomes, but also because many farmers have switched land from soybeans to crops that can be turned into biofuels. In 2005, America used 15 percent of its corn crop to supplant less than 2 percent of its gasoline use. In 2007, the government-contrived U.S. demand for ethanol was more than half the global increase in demand. The political importance of corn-growing, ethanol-making Iowa is one reason that biofuel mandates flow from Washington the way oil would flow from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if it had nominating caucuses.

ANWR's 10.4 billion barrels of oil have become hostage to the planet's saviors (e.g., John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama), who block drilling in even a tiny patch of ANWR. You could fit Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Delaware into ANWR's frozen desolation; the "footprint" of the drilling operation would be one sixth the size of Washington's Dulles airport.

Clinton has an alternative to drilling: Oil should be released from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve—which exists to protect the nation against major interruptions of supply—as "a signal to the market." A signal of what? Readiness to release more? All 698 million barrels? Then what?

Americans can still drill for … water. Water rights (T. Boone Pickens has bought 400,000 acres of them in the Texas Panhandle) are becoming more valuable as ethanol production, which is extremely water-intensive, puts pressure on supplies.

To avoid drilling for oil in ANWR's moonscape, the planet savers evidently prefer destroying forests, even though they absorb greenhouse gases. Will ethanol prevent more carbon-dioxide emissions than would have been absorbed by the trees cut down to clear land for the production of crops for ethanol? Be that as it may, governments mandating the use of biofuels are one reason for the global rise in food prices, which is driving demand for more arable land. That demand is driving the destruction of forests—and animal habitats. In Indonesia alone, 44 million acres have been razed to make way for production of palm oil.

Via Newsweek.



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