Corn Agrofuel and Obama’s Science Pledge

Corn agrofuel sets the dangerous precedent of destroying ecosystems to produce food for fuelWe are beginning to see the Obama administration playing fast and loose with ecological science, letting political necessities overwhelm ecological concerns regarding corn based ethanol agrofuels [ark]. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is aggressively seeking to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Corn ethanol [search] receives billions in subsidies despite conclusive science indicating its ecological destructiveness in terms of land, water and climate.
Corn-based ethanol fuel is ranked at the bottom of alternative energy sources “with respect to climate, air pollution, land use, wildlife damage and chemical waste.” And it diverts food from people to cars. Obama and farm-belt Democrats are serving the political agendas of agribusiness, rather than honoring commitments to address climate change and bring science based change to Washington.

EcoInternet and Rainforest Rescue are concerned with America's growing ethanol industry, and the implications it has in setting a precedent for massive agricultural industralization of the world's remaining rainforests and other natural wildlands. It is clear that biofuels are not “renewable energy” given that soils, water, land and fertilizers are in limited supply. We are currently formulating a campaign strategy on the matter.
We concur with the growing ecological consensus that large-scale industrial production of transport fuels and other energy from plants such as corn, sugar cane, oil palm, soya, trees, grasses, or so-called agricultural and woodland waste threatens forests, biodiversity, food sovereignty, community-based land rights and will worsen climate change. If Obama's “New Green Economy” runs on agrofuels it will further lead to a dangerous “Green Bubble” of unrealistic promises from unsustainable industries. Much more campaign material to come…
Blog entry with Rainforest Rescue

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5 Responses

  1. David Moore says:

    Perhaps the largest corn issue in the US is that the US may not be able to produce corn or wheat in the current manner because of rising temperature by the middle or at least by the end of this century. These crops may then have to be irrigated, grown at higher altitudes, use different seed genetics or something. This could vastly increase price or decrease availability. Much of the industrial corn that is now wasted on vehicle fuel was previously wasted on animal feed to excessively fatten cattle and other livestock.

  2. dbecher says:

    David Moore statements are not ok. The DOE subsidies going back to the late '70s / early '80s and continuing on to today were a massive distortion of the market and pure pork for the midwest farmers but mostly going into the mega agribusiness as in ADM pockets. This was indeed shameful… This did expand corn production not divert it from animal feed. … Rising temperature by the end of the century is not in any forecast (e.g., by IPCC) therefore is not supported by science but result of a what if scenerio analysis of the business as usual case for a doubling of CO2 with no mitigation (which certainly is occurring). Or else what you might “believe” might happen, ceteris paribus. IPCC says that the IPCC models are not competent for long term decadal or millennial type modeling. IPCC are trying to address the insufficiencies in the models used such as accounting for water vapor (accounting for 60%+ of GHG effect).

  3. David Moore says:

    Well, lets see what we can salvage from your garbled statement, though its “OK” that you made it.
    First of all I agree that corn production is over expanded and agribusiness profits from that are shameful. Second lets see if some folks are trying to reverse that like Oxfam and other Farm bill activists. Lets also tie this to the need to reforest some key lands in the corn belt to absorb carbon, help clean up rivers in the Mississippi Valley and its tributaries, and provide public recreation.
    But if you think rising temps are not in the forecast, think again. Most of the hottest years on record since we have had a weather service have been since the 1990s. What planet have you been on? I would recheck that IPPC report.

  4. I agree. When first started, corn seemed the easiest fuel to obtain to convert to ethanol. Now, we know there are many other products that can be used which will not negatively affect our food sources. In order for this to be even close to a viable option for alternative energy, it will have to be looked at again from the ground up! -Nate

  5. dbecher says:

    D Moore @ “….but if you think rising temps are not in the forecast, think again. Most of the hottest years on record since we have had a weather service have been since the 1990s.” No, I am just quoting the IPCC. What I actually said was – that IPCC has confirmed that the models are not competent for forecasting (at all) … from a non long term stochastic modeling point of view and from the point of view of defining the model functional hypothesis. Reason why they are doing “what if” they call it story line scenarios that get garbled by the media as being forecasts. If A, B, and C (and possibly X, Y and Z … which are actually not known) can cause atmospheric temperature warming; and the temperature actually increased over the last 10 years (although in recent years decreased); and no model is competent for forecasting the effect of A, B and C, you confirm that you can tell us the temperature will actually increase in the next 10 years, or 100 or 200 years … and by how much. And what does actually cause the increase and how.
    I will keep my response Some have said that my statements were garbled .. that is in the mind of persons not understanding or wanting to argue by distortion and unable to comprehend logically correct science based argument. IPCC clearly says models are not capable of forecasting and do not represent all of the clima te forcings.
    The scenarios are storyline cases i.e., “what if” analysis meaning what happens if I assume this, what happens if I assume that… The IPCC acknowledge that the models are insufficient and why this is the top focus for the planned fifth IPCC review. But this is a mute issue since the problem is intractable to solution and is a policy argument not a science argument. You said “What planet have you been on? I would recheck that IPPC report.” First cut the derogatories, second you should yourself recheck the IPCC.

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