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February 08, 2008

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BOATBUILDER

Hillary's commitment to bio fuels was for the consumption of the Iowa caucus voters (not that it did her much good). Now she has cover to bail on that promise and move on to her next energy position as needed. I question the timing.

DrJ

There is actually not as much inconsistency as you might think between Hillary and the article you cite. I'll ignore the greenhouse gas stuff (I don't comment on religion), but ethanol does indeed reduce foreign oil consumption. It is more expensive (on any basis you choose) and does increase the price of food. But the amount of *oil* used goes down. Instead, *coal* is used, and the US has a lot of that.

Grain-based ethanol also will never provide a significant amount of the fuel used for transportation purposes. We just don't have enough land, and corn is a pretty poor source for ethanol.

syn

I thought the idea of plowing under our land to grow fuel for cars instead of food for people was a sane enough reason not to move in the Global Greenie direction.

but now biofuels cause more greenhouse gasses.

Global Greenies are just plain mad; as in insanely mad.

syn

One more thing, plowing under the land to grow fuel for cars is just as insane as the '1 billion new-age mercury light bulbs in America' campaign.

clarice

Well, perhaps instead of asking her how she manages such a rigorous schedule, some smart person will ask her why she wants to increase the use of biofuels which are more costly, raise food prices and are more harmful to the environment. I will contribute $10 to your favorite charity to the first person who can find her being asked that question publicly by a reporter or debate moderator.

rogera

I will have to read the Shackelford study, but I am going to proclaim my skepticism. If the blurb I heard on NPR this AM was any indication, his study makes some assumptions about substitution of crop land in other areas to make up for the loss of food crops in the US. The first question would be: how much food does the US export? how much of that figure needs to be replaced by foreign consumption? what countries are dependent on US food imports? and finally, did he control for population increase which always increases demand for food production.
I didnt have anything else to do today so will start poking around.

rogera

OOPS--A princeton researcher named Searchinger is the author of the study that Shakleford cites. Damn--first mistake since 1947. :(

anduril

OT OT OT OT

This from Belmont Club:

I'll bet that when Donald Rumsfeld warned America would face threats from "unknown unknowns" he never imagined this new menace unearthed by the Swedish police.

The Register reports:

Swedish police are quizzing "people of limited stature" with criminal records following a spate of robberies from the cargo holds of coaches - possibly carried out by dwarves smuggled onboard in sports bags. According to the Sun, the gang responsible pack their vertically-challenged accomplices into bags and stick them in with other passengers' luggage. The undercover operatives then rifle the hold for valuables before resealing themselves in their hiding place, to be extracted later by another gang member at the coach's final destination. ...
DrJ

An interesting and useful article can be found at:

http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/85/8551cover.html

The article is somewhat technical, but it is pretty accessible. It was published in Chemical & Engineering News," the weekly publication from the American Chemical Society.

kim

Investor's Business Daily had a nice article yesterday about the 'hibernating' sun. Nothing novel in it, but it is nice to see the 'news' in a leading journal.

Buy a gallon of ethanol, starve a dozen children.

We are cooling, folks; for the next half century, CO2 and its small warming effect will keep people from starving and freezing. Lots of 'em.
==============================

kim

I should say, CO2's small warming and large fertilizing effect. In a half a century we'll face the dilemma of feeding people or keeping them cool.

Oh, well, the Chinese by then will have franchised pebble bed nuclear reactors all over the world, will control energy production everywhere, and we'll do what they say.
=======================

Neo
Now she has cover to bail on that promise and move on to her next energy position as needed. I question the timing.

This has been coming for a while now.

Just a few weeks ago the EU Commission got a report saying the same thing, but found it politically distasteful, so they did their best to ignore it.

I guess it was one of those "inconvenient truths".

kim

Gore's movie is correctly labeled "A Convenient Untruth'.
==================================

Neo

Just a few weeks ago the EU Commission got a report saying the same thing, but found it politically distasteful, so they did their best to ignore it.

anduril

I just finished reading Tim Weiner's "Legacy of Ashes." I kinda skimmed the last hundred pages, but still caught these tidbits:

"But in the fall of 1989 a CIA clerk [made a big mistake]. Every one of the CIA's Iranian spies was imprisoned, and many were executed for treason. 'The arrested agents were tortured to death,' said Phil Giraldi, then the deputy chief of base in Istanbul."

I'd never read anything about that guy's bio before, but that led me to fire up Google. According to Wikipedia:

Ambassador [Marc] Grossman was U.S. Ambassador to Turkey from 1994 to 1997. In Turkey, he promoted security cooperation, human rights and democracy, and a vibrant U.S.-Turkish economic relationship. Ambassador Grossman had previously served as the U.S. Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission from 1989 to 1992.

The Embassy would presumably have been in Ankara, but they probably knew each other.

This tidbit comes from the mid 1990's, sourced to a 1996 article by the author. It was probably posted here before, and I'm too lazy to try to identify the officer, but it's worth a reread:

The French interior ministry ran a counterespionage operation that included the seduction of a CIA officer working under nonofficial cover as a businesswoman. There was pillow talk and secrets were spilled.

And this gem, which I recall from years ago:

[The Guatemalan military, in cahoots with the CIA, had bugged the bedroom of the US Ambassador, Marilyn McAfee, and recorded her "cooing endearments to 'Murphy,'" presumably her secretary Carol Murphy. The CIA spread the rumor back home that the Ambassadress was a lesbian.] "'Murphy' was the name of her two-year old black standard poodle. The bug in her bedroom had recorded her petting her dog."

PeterUK

US biodiesel gets EU sudsidies Just add a drop of real diesel - a nice little earner - subsidies being subsidised.

Neo

The interesting "untold" story that connects the dots together with this story, appeared on the History Channel a week or two ago.

The story went that these former oil exploring geologists indicated that they believe that we are now (or just a couple of years ago) at the all time peak of oil production. They only see decreasing oil production ahead.

I took this to indicate that the "bio-fuels" subsidies to "Big Corn" as a strategic investment to help bridge the declining oil production.

If this is all true, just how could you not go ahead with ethanol ?

Cecil Turner

But they make some of us feel virtuous.

Man, no kidding. The utter vapid stupidity of some of these "green" positions--and the pusillanimous pandering by politicos--is enough to drive me to drink (admittedly not a very high bar). If they really can't find the canastas to promote nukes (and study fusion), then don't bother me with biofuel or windmill proposals. Similarly, until one is ready to use DDT to combat malaria in Africa, don't ask for donations for mosquito netting.

The 2001 National Energy Policy recommended the obvious:

Provide for the safe expansion of nuclear energy by establishing a national repository for nuclear waste, and by streamlining the licensing of nuclear power plants.
Seven years later, we're still dithering on the main event, arguing over who went to what meetings, and puttering around the margins on energy production.

Lyn

It's an interesting article. How many people remember gasahol? This biofuel movement may be just another fad.

Seriously, though, I have doubts about the ability to bring to market more and more biofuels. Yes, it will drive up food prices. But just growing the amount of corn - and whatever other crops they decide to start using - is going to be a challenge. If we are experiencing global warming then shouldn't we expect reduced crop yields?

Some of the proposals I've read - and not just Senator Clinton's - are starting to sound as unrealistic as the Five Year Plans the Soviet Union and China used to promote.

clarice

Cecil, I can go back 30 years when I was promoting the same stuff--and new refinery capacity only to hear in return a chorus of windmills and wishes.For thirty years we've known what we must do and for thirty years no one has had the canastas to do it.
(The only thing that's changed is now that some alternative sources are online with some real capacity the greenies are finding fault with those facilities, too.)

DrJ

Seven years? Oh heavens, we have dithered for much longer than that.

I did my doctoral work in the performance of one component of the scheme to store nuclear wastes in underground geologic repositories -- in the early 1980s. According to the High-Level Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the date set for the opening of the first full-scale, operational repository was 1998. Here it is, ten years later (or 16, from the date of the Act), and we still do not have the political will to open one.

Instead, we have all of this bio-nonsense. In fairness, some of this might work -- eventually. In the mean time, we have a lot of oil that is counted as unrecoverable (but it can be with enhanced oil recovery techniques), many oil fields waiting to be developed, and there are huge amounts of oil shale that are available. I don't think the Episcopal people of pallor to our north will give us the sort of political issues that our current suppliers do.

Rick Ballard

"If this is all true"

EIA long term peak oil projections

short term projections

and if those projections are true instead? It's particularly interesting to look at the page with the 36 studies dating back 1972 to and note how the peak year continues to move into the future. 2020-2037 looks like the consensus period for the last ten or so studies.

I'd ask how much time the History Channel piece spent on explaining what the EIA and USGS thought but I believe I already know the answer.

PeterUK

Throughout the history of the human race there has always been a technical solution.Flint gave way to bronze,iron and steel followed,now we live in the age of amazing alloys,plastics an composite materials.
In transport we have developed from walking,horseback,wheel carts,steam driven vehicles to automobiles and flying machines.
On water the development has been from swimming,rafts,rowed boats,sailing ships,steamships to nuclear powered behemoths.
And so it goes throughout all the fields of human endeavour ,yet, for some inexplicable reason,in the twenty first century,the human race has lost all confidence and has crumbled to the Luddite left.

cathyf

This one doesn't pass the whiff test:

Cropland also absorbs far less carbon than the ... scrubland that it replaces.
A cornfield goes from bare dirt to 10-feet tall, and that absorbs less carbon than a couple of inches of grass?

Not buying it...

DrJ

Seven years? Oh heavens, we have dithered for much longer than that.

I did my doctoral work in the performance of one component of the scheme to store nuclear wastes in underground geologic repositories -- in the early 1980s. According to the High-Level Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, the date set for the opening of the first full-scale, operational repository was 1998. Here it is, ten years later (or 16, from the date of the Act), and we still do not have the political will to open one.

Instead, we have all of this bio-nonsense. In fairness, some of this might work -- eventually. In the mean time, we have a lot of oil that is counted as unrecoverable (but it can be with enhanced oil recovery techniques), many oil fields waiting to be developed, and there are huge amounts of oil shale that are available. I don't think the Episcopal people of pallor to our north will give us the sort of political issues that our current suppliers do.

DrJ

Where on earth (no pun intended) did this last one come from? I didn't re-post it!

clarice

Gaia was pissed,DrJ

Topsecretk9

On Shuster
via newsbusters

Appearing on Tucker Carlson's show a few days ago, Hillary fan Lanny Davis observed that Tucker's is "about the only show on MSNBC that consistently allows a Clinton perspective to be expressed." But maybe not so much when, as this evening, David Shuster is the guest host. Employing one of the more graphic metaphors to be heard about a Clinton from the MSM, Shuster tonight claimed that Chelsea Clinton is being "pimped out" by her mother's campaign.

Recall the last time Shuster had to issue an apology he was "guest hosting" Tucker's show

(when he railroaded the TN congresswoman for not knowing the name of the last soldier to die in someone else's district)

Hint to MessNBC - Shuster can't host shows.

PaulL

The carbon offset article at wikipedia is interesting, especially concerning the issue of planting trees. It's not all that it's billed to be.

Although, as a carbon-base-unit myself, I have no problem with carbon in the atmosphere.

JM Hanes

I ran across a handy summary of biofuel options and issues in an August item at 3 Quarks Daily: Biofuels: All You Need to Know for a Bar Discussion. In light of the role assigned to "advanced biofuels" by Mrs. Clinton, the author's comment on cellulosic ethanol is particularly amusing:

Cellulosic ethanol is to biofuels what Barack Obama is often portrayed as being to Democrats: the new shining hope that will fix everything and solve everyone’s problems.
Check out the comments too, where you'll discover all you need to know about corn subsidies and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

I'd give McCain major props for his stand on ethanol subsidies, if I didn't think he'd drunk a little too much green tea on the policy front. Oddly enough, I could have sworn his issues page included a section on energy policy when I paid a visit yesterday. I could certainly be confused about where I read it, but then again, maybe Hillary isn't the only one suddenly in need of a make-over. I hope he did pull it, because it would certainly be encouraging to think that his team can respond quickly to new info.

In any case, it seems to me that finding the perfect biofuel crop has a serious downside all its own. The world is one big, government mandated, monoculture of, say, corn, and then Oops!, oh No!. Years ago, I was watching the evening news (yes, it was that long ago!) with a farm manager when they showed a clip from some championship high stakes poker game; he turned to me and said, "Those guys don't know what real gambling is."

gupps

(Longtime lurker, first time poster) Out of curiosity, why isn't thermal depolymerization even being considered? IIRC, if used on raw sewage the return in oil is ~30%. In large cities I would bet that it would have a two fold benefit producing relatively cheap oil and cleaning up the environment at the same time. I'm picking on sewage as a raw material since it doesn't have to be transported by anything, doesn't require anything special(well, maybe a national all you can eat burrito night) and,lets face it, what else you gonna do with it?

gupps

(Longtime lurker, first time poster) Out of curiosity, why isn't thermal depolymerization even being considered? IIRC, if used on raw sewage the return in oil is ~30%. In large cities I would bet that it would have a two fold benefit producing relatively cheap oil and cleaning up the environment at the same time. I'm picking on sewage as a raw material since it doesn't have to be transported by anything, doesn't require anything special(well, maybe a national all you can eat burrito night) and,lets face it, what else you gonna do with it?

DrJ

> Gaia was pissed,DrJ

Seems she is tough taskmistress -- she didn't deign to correct my math typo...

narciso

Wait the story gets more interestingthough; the CIA operation was out of Frankfurt,the major base for Iranian exiles in Europe and the chief of the Frankfurt station in 1988-1989 was Steven Kappes, one of the anti-Goss
mutineers who's now deputy director,
Central Intelligence Agency. Gentleman, I give you the apotheosis of the Peter Principle. Ankara base has been uneven in the quality of its personnel, Clair George;
one of the first to systematically deal with Arab terrorism in the '70s, at his posts in Athens,& Beirut, who would rise to head the Operations Directorate. Dewey Claridge, who had Ames's number right off the back. Reul Gerecht, who knows more about Islamic culture and languages than most; he quit in the 90s, penetrated Iran on a lark and then wrote a book about it.
Paul Henze, who detailed the KGB/Bulgarian
services operationa against the Pope. Then there's Ames, and apparently this Giraldi character on the other side; the fact that he first came to light as a source for Sy
Hersh, 'rationalizing the Damascus/AlQuaim
Salafi/Wahhabi pipeline into Iraq, then really got underway sliming Ledeen with the
Niger forgeries and freelances on every publication this side of Depleted Uranium (D.U) is all you need to know about him.

Relying on Wiener as a source is a double edged sword at best. On the positive side
he along with P.J. O'Rourke, did point point out Hekmatyar was a rough customer.
On the other hand, he was one of those who threw around the term 'blowback' too frequently back in the day. His most contentious reporting involved the CIA's
anti-Soviet operations in Japan; which he painted as some notorious plot. And he basically owned the Bamaca/Harbury guerilla
story, which was the pretext that Deutsch used to reprimand and/or fire several high
ranking CIA personnel and purge the list of Company assets

Pofarmer

A cornfield goes from bare dirt to 10-feet tall, and that absorbs less carbon than a couple of inches of grass?

It all has to do with yield, and root mass, and tillage, and a host of other things. Do you want the short course or the whole seminar?

Oh, and most hayfields, natural prairie, etc, etc, will have a dry matter yield over the course of a year roughly approaching a cornfield. Canopy Density.

Pofarmer

Oh, and by the way, we've been cooling since the high in 1998, what are they gonna do if it's still cooling in 2012? 2020? 2030???

Pofarmer

, whoops

Pofarmer

If this is all true, just how could you not go ahead with ethanol ?

The problem is, it probably isn't true. They keep finding more oil, it's like the earth is making it or something.

Pofarmer

Out of curiosity, why isn't thermal depolymerization even being considered?

They are doing it at a Turkey processing plant at Joplin, MO, and they are about to shut it down. Stench is horrendous.

Pofarmer

Hello???

Bill in AZ

sshhhh, Pofarmer, lib heads will explode when it leaks that oil is mineral based, and we don't really know how much is down there...

kim

Didn't they start that over ten years ago, Pf? There was big roadside ballyhoo off 71.
===========================

kim

Obviously, the stench didn't smell enough like money.
===============================

cathyf

The turkey depolymerization plant has another problem... In Europe, it is prohibited to feed the scraps from meat processing to animals -- because processing beef and sheep offal into cattle feed got us mad cow disease. In the US, it's prohibited for beef and pork, but not poultry. So the company that built the depolymerization plant is building the next one in Ireland, because in Europe they pay people to haul away the offal. Not getting paid for the waste disposal messed up the economics of the plant in the US.

The smell story is a bit more controversial. The depolymerization plant was located next to a turkey processing plant in order to have the feedstock conveniently located. Lots of people in town claim that a significant amount of the smell was coming from the turkey plant, and that the depolymerization plant was being made a scapegoat. And they did solve a lot of the smell problem, too.

kim

Also, Pf, I think there is a tipping point soon on the AGW hoax. There is a gathering critical mass of skeptics, and the sun-climate connection will become obvious, even to journalists, soon.
=============================

kim

Oh well, as usual, cf has it.
================

Rick Ballard

"and we don't really know how much is down there..."

Well, Tupi just doubled and there are strong hints that Sugar Loaf is its big brother so we know that the projections can be extended another year or two.

For about the fiftieth time.

Kim,

Maybe there will be a study some day as to whether warmerists are dumber than peak oilers. I really can't tell from reading them...

cathyf

About 20-30 years ago I saw a graph of predictions for how much oil the world had left, graphed against time since about 1870. It went up and down between about 10-15 years. According to the graph, the first time that we were "supposed to" run out of oil was in the 1880s. Basically, every year since has been at some point the predicted run-out year.

RichatUF

Rick-

Interesting find on the Brazil discoveries. I don't really know where to look, but I googled this map, and was wondering if companies are exploring the SE US continental shelf. Oil has been found in the deep off West Africa, Brazil and around the Carribean Sea-might be a promising area to look.

Also the peak oil "theorists" and enviro-kooks feed off of one another: "sustainability" is their watch word. I read on another forum that the curve 'peak oilers" use is "recoverable barrels" from the SEC definition and that it doesn't take into account the effects of state-ownership of oil assets [ie: state ownership will cause the oil production to peak faster because maintence, exploriation, and expansion become political hostages to other, more easily done, political priorites. Venezula and PSVSA is the latest victim]. In short the "peak oil curve" will always will occur 10-15 years out because technology costs decrease in time, the infrastructure has yet to be built, and oil classified as "potential" moves to "recoverable". It also helps having screaming harpies pass mountian loads of environmentlist regulation that importing is easier and cheaper.

RichatUF

cathyf-

Here is an article

and more exploriation of the site yields this

hit and run

TM:
The Times tells us that biofuels are an environmental threat

This isn't new news, of course.

And while Tom went straight for Hillary, someone else saw Obama as a target-rich candidate, back in May of last year...

The Tyranny of Corn

clarice

TM's right, shameless self-promotion is a hallmark of JOM. :)
Smooches, Hit.

Rick Ballard

Rich,

I've always enjoyed looking at that Pangaea map and mentally overlaying the oil fields. It looks like Ghana has reached oil independence, joining Nigeria, Angola, Cote d'Ivoire et al.

I'm betting that the Kazakh play may be somewhat larger than admitted - like 2-3 times larger.

I wonder if the oil companies send thank you notes to the neo-Luddite peakers and warmers?

willem

The "Green" slant on bio-fuels has always been specious. There are better sources than corn, and that, perhaps, is the elephant in the room regarding biofuels.

The strategic value of having a robust biofuel capacity still matters very much. We can make liquified bio-fuels here, at will, pump them into our tank and still drive our cars. It cannibalizes most all aspects of the current gasoline distribution system and has few barriers to mass distribution.

So, bio-fuels are dirtier, more expensive and not efficient.. not the perfect liquid hydrocarbon fuel. But ethanol works damn well. Given our system of liquid fuel distribution it is a near perfect plug in. When Saudi Arabia implodes we'll be glad we were ready.

Wherever fuel cell and other motive technologies take us, liquid phase fuels have a role. We need the infrastructure.

But no so much corn. There are sturdy mold-derived molecules (like trichothecene toxins) which are potentially concentrated in distilling and may well survive the combustion process to become airborne. There is much yet to be learned.


Pofarmer

willem, the problem is that we simply can't supply a volume large enough to really matter. We are currently supplying something like 2% of our transportation fuel needs. To supply even 10% takes a tremendous amount of our crop base. Some folks are talking 30%, but I don't think anyone serious is thinking that.

making biodiesel

However, consider the very small niche in the biofuel economy which plans to use non- food raw materials to generate energy, even though that by itself can never solve our energy needs. False A lot of these videos are full of green goodness but let this criterion guide your voting and rate below. gr, remcowoudstra

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