Even the EPA Raps the Biofuels Boondoggle

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boondoggle

The Des Moines Register is reporting that biodiesel produced using soybeans fails to meet the federal standard for reducing the carbon dioxide emissions thought to contribute to global warming.

Biodiesel is required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent to 50 percent when compared with conventional diesel to be counted toward meeting the mandate. The Environmental Protection Agency is crediting biodiesel made from soybean oil with only a 22 percent reduction.

Congress set an even lower standard for corn-based ethanol:

There is a target of 20 percent for reducing emissions from corn ethanol, but Congress exempted existing ethanol plants from meeting that requirement and the EPA has the authority to lower the threshold to 10 percent.

Ethanol from standard, gas-fired plants would reduce emissions by 16 percent, according to the EPA. Other facilities would fare better if they lower energy requirements. Ethanol from coal-fired biorefineries would actually increase emissions compared with gasoline, the EPA found.

And let's not forget that the whole biofuels enterprise is built on subsidies:

The biodiesel industry already is reeling from the loss of its European market, because of the imposition of duties, and falling petroleum prices that have made it unprofitable to make biodiesel from vegetable oils.

And as a couple of studies published last year suggest, the EPA's generous allowances for biofuel greenhouse gas abatements may well be too high. As the New Scientist reported:

One analysis looks at land that is switched to biofuel crop production. Carbon will be released when forests are felled or bush cleared, and longer-term emissions created by dead roots decaying.

This creates what Joseph Fargione of The Nature Conservancy and colleagues call a "carbon debt". Emissions savings generated by the biofuels will help pay back this debt, but in some cases this can take centuries, suggests their analysis.

If 10,000 square metres of Brazilian rainforest is cleared to make way for soya beans—which are used to make biodiesel—over 700,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide is released.

The saving generated by the resulting biodiesel will not cancel that out for around 300 years, says Fargione. In the case of peat land rainforest in Indonesia, which is being cleared to grow palm oil, the debt will take over 400 years to repay, he says.

Turning food into fuel is a bad idea for many reasons, but it's minimal effect on the problem of man-made global warming make the biofuels mandates even more idiotic. 

Update: According to Reuters, the biofuels vote threats and logrolling in Congress are already in progress:

The Obama administration is unfair to the ethanol industry with its proposals on greenhouse gas reduction, the House Agriculture Committee chairman said on Wednesday, and he will not support any climate change bills.

"You're going to kill off the biofuels industry before it even gets started. You are in bed with the oil industry," Collin Peterson told officials from the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency at a hearing on ethanol's impact on land use and greenhouse gases.

"I want this message sent back down the street. I will not support any climate change bill. I don't trust anybody anymore," said the Democrat from Minnesota.

See Reuters article here

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  1. Biodiesel is PEOPLE!

  2. I blame the Iowa caucuses.

  3. Biodiesel rules.

    The fact that I can make the fuel for my truck from veggie oil makes me a happy man. It means that when the Russians let fly with the nukes, I can hit up Wal-Mart or Costco, buy up copious amounts of oil in order not to have to wait in lines for fuel, and get out of Dodge and away to the Desert Compound/Mountain Stronghold in time to survive. Thus, beginning my rise to Emperor of the New American Wastelands and taking command of an army of irradiated pseudo-zombies in order to conquer to last stragglers of humanity.

  4. I agree somewhat with Kyle, with the note that it should be oil already used for cooking, or animal fat, or (ala Fight Club) liposuction waste – instead of new food oil.

  5. “Turning food into fuel is a bad idea”

    Tell it to your digestive system.

  6. I love it when saving the Earth really fucks shit up. The sweet, juicy irony is tasty 😀

  7. I am amazed that Global Warming is still an issue. Hasn’t it already been proven that it was the sun all along and the sun has been cooling.

    Luckily polls seem to show that only 47% of Americans beleive it and even fewer care.

  8. I love it when saving the Earth really fucks shit up. The sweet, juicy irony is tasty 😀

    Actually, it’s beautifully ironic when the greens inadvertently work for the subsidy sucking corporations that they hate (and I hate too, unfortunately). Christ, they’re so fucking stupid they don’t even realize what they’ve done.

  9. “I agree somewhat with Kyle, with the note that it should be oil already used for cooking, or animal fat, or (ala Fight Club) liposuction waste – instead of new food oil.”

    My lunatic fantasies of world domination aside, this is basically my stance too.

    “Actually, it’s beautifully ironic when the greens inadvertently work for the subsidy sucking corporations that they hate (and I hate too, unfortunately). Christ, they’re so fucking stupid they don’t even realize what they’ve done.”

    You ever try explaining this to one of them? It’s a combination of overwhelming rage humor at their stupidity. It’s also never ending. They just cling to their belief with great zeal.

  10. You ever try explaining this to one of them?

    You ever try explaining anything to one of them?

  11. Ron, why do you repeatedly equate “biofuels” with “first-generation corn and soy ethanol and biodiesel”? There are plenty of biofuel technologies that are not made from food crops and do not require the use of our limited fertile land.

    Whether it is agave or algae grown on desert scrublands, or wood scraps, or switchgrass or God knows what else, there are lots of possibilities out there that should not be lumped together with the loser that is corn ethanol.

    In the end, we will provide most of our transportation needs with electricity, but a few stubborn percent (mostly aircraft and military) will require liquid fuels. There are plenty of ways to pull this off.

  12. In the end, we will provide most of our transportation needs with electricity

    Where does the electricity come from, Chadster?

  13. Unicorns barf electricity, moran!

  14. Lightning, Epi. Lightning.

  15. I am the only person to note that the world has warmed and cooled throughout the ages and that there are some benefits to global warming? Am I really out of touch with reality in asserting the latter?

  16. Episiarch | May 7, 2009, 12:49pm | #

    In the end, we will provide most of our transportation needs with electricity

    Where does the electricity come from, Chadster?

    There is ten thousand times more renewable energy available than we currently use. Renewable electricity is easy to do and not particularly expensive. It costs me a whopping $5 extra each month. Clearly, such a price would just cripple the economy and bring economic ruin upon us all, right?

  17. I am the only person to note that the world has warmed and cooled throughout the ages and that there are some benefits to global warming? Am I really out of touch with reality in asserting the latter?

    No, you are not. If you were to read the IPCC report, you would note how possible benefits are discussed. For example, crop yields will probably improve if climate change is moderate. However, the list of potential benefits is small relative to the much larger and more certain costs.

    Yes, climate has changed “naturally” in the past. And it was usually accompanied by mass extinctions. I think I will take a pass on that.

  18. When we talk biofuels, what are we not talking about hemp?

  19. “””I am the only person to note that the world has warmed and cooled throughout the ages and that there are some benefits to global warming?””

    I say that often.

    I remember seeing some show with a global warming doomsday map, they said NYC would have the climate Florida has now. That’s a plus for me.

  20. Yes, climate has changed “naturally” in the past. And it was usually accompanied by mass extinctions. I think I will take a pass on that.

    I believe that it was the coolings that caused the extinctions. Warmings are usually followed by population booms. The Medieval Warming Period is a perfect example.

  21. Ron, why do you repeatedly equate “biofuels” with “first-generation corn and soy ethanol and biodiesel”?

    Because that’s what we have and what we are subsidizing.

    Renewable electricity is easy to do and not particularly expensive.

    Then it will come along without government mandates and subsidies, yes?

    For the moment, I am glad to see Obama burn his diminishing supply of political capital on global warming, because I think it is an issue that he cannot win on.

  22. When we talk biofuels, what are we not talking about hemp?

    Yea, mon, that’s what that Willie dude with the beat up guitar told me to.

  23. Renewable electricity is easy to do and not particularly expensive.

    Every time I renew my electricity it ticks the meter up and costs me more.

    Howsabout telling all of us how to just recirculate the electricity we already have in the house without bringing any in from outside?

  24. The government sucks at picking winners. You end up with crap like ethanol which not only wastes money, but actually makes the problem worse. Thanks Al Gore, you lunatic fuckbag.

  25. JB,

    Don’t be dissin’ the Vietnam Veterans like that. Especially the bud smoking ones!

  26. Chad says: “There are plenty of biofuel technologies that are not made from food crops and do not require the use of our limited fertile land.”

    Plenty? I’ve read about a couple, but I don’t think they are out of the pilot project stage yet. One is methane from cow manure, which some Wisconsin farmers are fermenting from cow manure to generate electricity. Methane can also be produced from sewage or garbage/trash. Internal combustion engines can be modified or built from the ground up to run on methane.

    Another, using almost any cellulosic feed stock, uses heat to cook off hydrocarbons. I don’t know how efficient that process can be made, but I understand it’s not even close to ready for commercial application yet.

    That doesn’t sound like plenty, to me. Have I missed some?

  27. Axman,

    You missed hemp. But it was already mentioned.

  28. There is ten thousand times more renewable energy available than we currently use. Renewable electricity is easy to do and not particularly expensive. It costs me a whopping $5 extra each month. Clearly, such a price would just cripple the economy and bring economic ruin upon us all, right?

    You’re obviously talking about something like Green Mountain, which merely adds a larger percentage of wind power to the mix.

    This isn’t taking into account the larger consumption level needed for electric transportation, or the fact that even at 20% “renewable” we still have a carbon emissions problem.

    We’re going to need nuclear. Everyone knows it. Nobody wants to say so. Because of the climate of fear that YOU AND YOUR ILK have created about nuclear.

    Ironically, it is the environmentalists who are destroying the planet by refusing to admit they were wrong about nuclear. Go cry in your sheets until the apocalpyse asshole.

  29. “You’re going to kill off the biofuels industry before it even gets started. You are in bed with the oil industry,” Collin Peterson told officials from the Agriculture Department, “and I want you to be in bed with me, instead!”

    Eff you bitches.

  30. Renewable electricity is easy to do and not particularly expensive.

    Excellent, Chad. What say you and I start up a company and produce this easy, cheap product and reap the profits! I mean, at this level of ease and simplicity, we won’t even have to get subsidies!

  31. Paul | May 7, 2009, 4:26pm | #

    Excellent, Chad. What say you and I start up a company and produce this easy, cheap product and reap the profits! I mean, at this level of ease and simplicity, we won’t even have to get subsidies!

    Unfortunately, even with the current subsidies, renewable energy is slightly more expensive than the massively-subsidized coal and nuclear power that we are currently using. So as soon as you are willing to shut down their subsidies, I have no doubt about the fate of fossil fuels.

    Btw, the right to dump your garbage into public property for free is a subsidy. In the case of coal, it is a subsidy worth many times any profit a coal plant ever generates.

    Also, I have no problem with nuclear power. If it can compete subsidy-free, go for it. Good luck with that.

  32. Axman | May 7, 2009, 2:31pm | #

    Here are a couple hundred for you.

    http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/dukeindex.html

    There are plenty of ways that we can grow substantial amounts of dedicated energy crops without impacting food production, either by using marginal or waste land, or by using crop rotations between food and energy crops. For example, camelina makes an excellent cover crop. And of course, we can get lots of biofuels from agricultural, food and wood waste.

    We don’t need to replace our entire supply of oil, but rather only those portions we can’t switch to electricity.

  33. Also, I have no problem with nuclear power. If it can compete subsidy-free, go for it.

    Mind calling off your deranged scaremongering attack-dog shock troops? You know, GreenPeace, Friends of the Earth, Union of Concerned Scientists, etc.?

  34. How about lobbying for a reduction in the onerous, double-standard, site permitting and safety regulations applied unfairly to nuclear only, and nobody else?

  35. Hazel Meade | May 7, 2009, 4:51pm | #

    How about lobbying for a reduction in the onerous, double-standard, site permitting and safety regulations applied unfairly to nuclear only, and nobody else?

    I would, if I thought nuclear was the answer. But I doubt it will be because it is simply too darned expensive. Have fun raising 10+ billion for each plant.

  36. I think you missed half the point which is the biofuels are carbon neutral. Tomorrow’s biofuel burning releases carbon that comes right from CO2 sequestered from the air today, rather than from millions of years ago.

  37. I would, if I thought nuclear was the answer. But I doubt it will be because it is simply too darned expensive. Have fun raising 10+ billion for each plant.

    Classic enviro tactic.
    Drive up the cost of something through ridiculous senseless regulation and legal harassment, based on unfoubnded fear, then when your unfounded fears are proven to be the bullshit they are, claim it’s just too expensive.

  38. Classic enviro tactic.
    Drive up the cost of something through ridiculous senseless regulation and legal harassment, based on unfoubnded fear, then when your unfounded fears are proven to be the bullshit they are, claim it’s just too expensive.

    Do you see me harassing and/or spreading unfounded fear? I don’t need to.

    Just go ahead and raise your capital and build the plant. You can even do it right in my backyard. It’s not like I don’t live across the street from one of the world’s largest chemical companies. A nuke plant would fit right in.

  39. I was going to post a link here, but I can’t afford the impact study.

  40. Why do you think nuclear costs $10+ billion per plant? It’s because of all the crap NRC regulations, EPA requirements, and the mountains of government-created red tape that are required to get the damn project off the ground. We’re our own worst enemy when it comes to nuclear. Get the government out of the regulation business and turn it over to private insurance companies to ensure that plants are operating within safe limits. At least then there will be somebody with a financial stake in safe operation and some motivation to get a plant off the ground for profit.

  41. Banks have huge debts, but they’re getting a helping hand from the federal government. If you have overwhelming debt–perhaps from bad investments, or maybe a job loss, a medical crisis or just plain overspending–you’re probably on your own. Check the website http://obamadebthelp2009.blogspot.com
    to see if they can help. I am glad I did read it before I talk to my CC company and it helped – Jane Jim, California

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