Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Tagged with ethanol

Comments

Critical List: Global warming — it's happening; Exxon funds climate deniers

In case you hadn’t heard … the world is warming up. Exxon just can't quit climate deniers. The Supreme Court thinks that the EPA must regulate carbon under the Clean Air Act; now it will decide if it can regulate wetlands on private property under the Clean Water Act. Gas stations can now sell a 15 percent ethanol blend. If you drive an old clunker, stay away from the E15 -- it'll screw your engine up. The Sierra Club has to sit back and let the U.S. government take BP to court for the Macondo spill. The Railroad Park in …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Why the Senate ethanol vote doesn't matter much

Photo: Daniel LeiningerCross-posted from Mother Jones. I have a really bad idea. Let's push farmers to plant as much as they possibly can of our most ecologically devastating crop. Maybe we'll even get them to plow up some erosion-prone grasslands to do so. Then we'll take a huge portion of the bounty (say, 40 percent) and subject it to a Byzantine, energy-intensive process that will turn it into something (barely) suitable for internal-combustion engines. (Never mind that internal-combustion engines, powering private pods over roads always in need of extravagant maintenance, are a rotten way of converting energy into mass locomotion.) …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Corn, Food

Comments

The Senate likes ethanol slightly less than it used to

For years, Washington has been really gung-ho about putting corn (America’s crop!) into cars (America’s bikes!), and has supported corn ethanol production with a suite of subsidies. But now senators are ready to say: “With food prices rising, we're not so comfortable with that! Maybe people should eat the corn instead, in the form of some kind of high-fructose syrup.” Yesterday, the Senate passed a measure that would end a 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit for ethanol producers. What’s crazy about this is that, unlike most cuts to alternative energy, this was not a Republican-only party. The yea votes came from 33 …

Comments

SciAm op-ed: Kill biofuels to solve the food crisis

With the Senate, on a second attempt, successfully passing an amendment to end the 45-cent-per-gallon ethanol subsidy for American refiners and the 54-cent tariff on imported ethanol, I thought I'd point to this terrific op-ed in Scientific American on how to solve the food crisis. According to author Timothy Searchinger of Princeton University, it's the biofuels, stupid. The crisis certainly isn't due to a lack of agricultural productivity, no matter what agribusiness and the USDA say. Searchinger claims: [T]otal world grain production last year was the third highest in history. Indeed, it has grown since 2004 at rates that, on …

Comments

Critical List: Floods herald largest Gulf dead zone on record; the Senate hearts ethanol

Louisiana fishermen can't catch a break. Flooding on the Mississippi River could create the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico on record. Louisiana, in general, can't catch a break. A plant that blends chemicals used in oilfields exploded on Tuesday. The Senate decided against ending subsidies for corn-based ethanol in a vote that split, not just along party lines, but also between Big Ag states and everyone else. Google's newest clean energy investment hands $280 million to a solar company that leases panels to customers. And Japan's richest man is promising to invest some of his telecommunications company's …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Food

Comments

Critical List: More Midwest deaths after storms; White House, NASCAR go green

More deaths in the Midwest after storms hit Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Some areas of Texas have received less than one-fifth the normal amount of rain in the last six months. The drought has cost $1.5 billion so far. But these catastrophes are totally unrelated, right? Bill McKibben takes his sarcastic stick to anyone who'll deny climate change might have a role: "It is far better to think of these as isolated, unpredictable, discrete events. … [D]o not wonder if they’re somehow connected." A rain forest activist in Brazil was killed, after receiving frequent death threats. The country's lower house …

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Tim Pawlenty is not interested in winning Iowa

Here’s a great way to start your campaign in Iowa: Tell them you want to phase out ethanol subsidies. Classic Tim Pawlenty! Does he even want to be president? Grist is no fan of corn ethanol, mind you -- if you have a spare moment you should get Tom or Dave started, it’s super entertaining. Pawlenty was a fan, though, when he was the governor of Minnesota. But now that he’s running for president, he has the freedom to throw ethanol under the bus, because instead of trying to get people to vote for him for governor of a Midwestern …

Read more: Election 2012, Politics

Comments

Government-backed corn ethanol lurches on, paving a road to nowhere

During the Bush II administration, I used to groan that the closest thing we had to a concerted policy response to climate change was the federal government's slew of goodies for corn-based ethanol. It was a monumentally depressing situation, because propping up corn-derived fuel is expensive and (despite industry hype) doesn't actually do much, if anything at all, to mitigate climate change -- but contributes actively to ecological disasters like the Gulf of Mexico "dead zone." Now, two years into the Obama administration, we still have no concerted policy response to climate change, and the corn ethanol program abides, sucking …

Read more: Corn, Food, Politics

Comments

Ron Paul hates energy subsidies, doubts climate change, and loves riding his bike

No war for oil, and no action for climate, says Ron Paul.Photo: Gage SkidmoreRon Paul kicked off his presidential bid on Tuesday, in the customary loosey-goosey exploratory-committee way. As standard-bearer for the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, the U.S. rep from southeast Texas has a small but diehard following. His fans will make some racket in conservative circles, as during his 2008 run, and he still won't have a chance in hell of winning the GOP nomination, as during his 2008 run.  Paul's government-can-do-no-right philosophy leads him to oppose energy and farm subsidies -- something many green-minded people can …

Comments

Europe to turn Africans into fuel

After discovering the disastrous consequences of turning its own food crops into fuel, China has turned to cassava -- mostly from southeast Asia -- as a source for biofuels. Europe, meanwhile, is buying up tracts of "marginal land" in Africa in order to grow jatropha for biofuels. In the U.S., of course, it's corn for ethanol. The developed world's modest proposal is this: Take calories that might otherwise have gone to feed humans or their livestock, and turn them into energy to fuel our motor vehicles instead. In theory, say advocates of biofuel, next-generation fuels will be made from crops …