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Tagged with ethanol

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Critical List: Turkeys to be pardoned; Bill O’Reilly can totally get solar if he wants it

President Obama will pardon two 19-week, 45-pound turkeys from Minnesota today. Their names are Liberty and Peace. It is possible to have Thanksgiving without turkey or turkey-shaped soy loaf. Here are a few ideas for what to serve instead. We're sacrificing holiday time to commercialism for no reason. Longer Black Friday sales don't increase stores’ take; they just spread purchases out over longer periods of time. Bill O'Reilly said he couldn't find someone to help him go solar. Now solar companies are falling over themselves to give him a hand. Drilling for shale gas will ruin the U.K.'s chance of …

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Ethanol is making crap food more expensive than ever

If you're a fan of Uno's pizza, O'Charley's, White Castle, or, god forbid, P.F. Chang's, you have only our government's stubborn love of ethanol subsidies to blame for the increasing cost of your favorite meals, report the gumshoes at Nation's Restaurant News. If you’re not a fan, though, don’t go celebrating with a delicious home-cooked meal just yet. It's actually even worse if you're buying your food at the grocery store and cooking at home. But even though the diversion of corn for ethanol use is contributing to higher food costs throughout the country, the restaurant industry is not passing …

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Critical List: Spilt oil tars New Zealand shores; climate change is a top issue for Europeans

Oil has reached New Zealand beaches, after an oil tanker ran into a reef last week. The tanker was carrying 1,700 tons of oil and 200 tons of diesel. All these attacks on obscure regulations about boilers and concrete might seem boring, but in reality, they're part of a campaign that could destroy decades of environmental progress. Europeans think that climate change is one of the top two issues facing the globe. (Although the No. 1 concern was a sort of Voltronesque mega-problem: poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water.) Rick Perry used to be against ethanol, but now he's …

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Wall Street and ethanol cause starvation, say scientists

Today's supervillains are soooo boring. If only they'd wear tights and touch entrapped damsels’ hair in a way that made us uncomfortable, we'd be up for patriotically pistol-whipping them, Captain America style. Instead we find out that Wall Street and ethanol -- a diffuse network of trading computers and a colorless inebriant, respectively -- are the reason billions are going hungry in the developing world. How are we supposed to launch a hideously expensive vendetta-war against that? The takeaway from Brandon Keim's excellent writeup of a study conducted by researchers at New England Complex Systems Institute is that if you …

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Company makes fuel from wood using nothing but water

A company called Renmatix says it can make ethanol from wood and woody biomass using nothing but water. If they're right -- and they just cut the ribbon on an R&D facility in Pennsylvania in order to find out -- it could mean the unlocking of a vast reserve of biomass previously untouched by the cleantech industry. The cellulose in trees and other woody biomass is so tough that its has so far been impossible to turn it into ethanol at a commercially viable scale -- despite a congressional mandate for the production of cellulosic ethanol. Renmatix's process gets around …

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In battle between fuel and food, food is losing worse than ever

Despite the backlash against ethanol in the U.S. and biodiesel in the E.U., global production of biofuels was up 17 percent in 2010. That's 27.7 billion gallons of liquid fuel for the year. (For reference, the U.S. uses 137 billion gallons of gasoline per year, though that's not directly equivalent because biofuels include biodiesel, and ethanol contains slightly less energy than regular gasoline.) What's driving this bumper crop? High oil prices, "which encouraged several large fuel companies, including Sunoco, Valero, Flint Hills, and Murphy Oil, to enter the ethanol industry," according to the WorldWatch Institute. Same thing's happening in Brazil, …

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Panda poop could revolutionize biofuels

One down side of biofuels like ethanol is that they rely on easily processed crops that are also staple foods. The more farm space is given over to raising corn, soybeans, and sugar for fuels, the less is available for raising those crops to feed humans. Luckily, scientists have just discovered microbes that could help turn waste plant matter like corn stalks and wood chips into fuel. All they needed was a little bit of panda poo. Pandas, as any first-grader knows, eat basically nothing but bamboo, and bamboo is tougher to digest than the concept of President Bachmann. They …

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Ethanol is now a matter of national security

Battle-corn: A tank prepares to refill on cheap biofuels. Opponents of using food for fuel, I've got good news and bad news. First the good: It appears that Congress is finally willing to kill two of the ethanol industry's main government supports -- the 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol tax credit worth about $6 billion per year, and the 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol. Now the bad: The Obama administration (which has been as aggressive an advocate for ethanol as any corn-state Senator) isn't going to let the ethanol industry down -- even if it means using federal dollars to ensure that 40 …

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Critical List: How to support Tim DeChristopher; white dudes think they're smarter than science

Want to support Tim DeChristopher? Go to Washington in August to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. "Consider this your call to action," said Peaceful Uprising, the group DeChristopher founded. BREAKING: Conservative white dudes (aka the Jim Inhofe Fan Club) are most likely to think they're smarter than science, i.e. doubt the existence of climate change. In California, though, everyone -- even conservatives -- supports cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Europeans want their own fracking boom. In Montana, 60 percent of inspected Yellowstone River shoreline has oil on it. In Michigan, a year after the oil spill there, workers are still working to …

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Critical List: $6 billion ethanol subsidy to end; Wyoming wolves screwed by Senate politics

The Senate is ending a $6 billion subsidy program for ethanol; anti-ethanol food and environmental groups say it's "not a perfect comprise" but that they're "encouraged" by the step. Carbon captured from coal plants can feed biofuel-producing algae. Which is awesome because nobody else wants to eat it. Put that tuna burger down! Overfishing could extinguish five out of eight tuna species. Can renewable energy keep up with Japan's demand for fuel-suckers like heated toilets? Former New York Gov. George Pataki said he might run for president because he doesn't like the White House's energy policies. Um, okay. The Interior …