JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).



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Killing people with “concern”? Biofuels led to nearly 200,000 deaths (est) in 2010.

The precautionary principle is exposed again for the insidious mindless posturing that it is.

Biofuel policies push more people into poverty as food prices rise and the poor are forced to spend more of their income on food. In a study  published in  Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, Indur Goklany calculated the additional mortality burden of biofuels policies and found that nearly 200,000 people died in 2010 alone, because of efforts to use biofuels to reduce CO2 emissions.

Bad Government is a killer.

“Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries?

Goklany (2011) estimated that the increase in the poverty headcount due to higher biofuel production between 2010 and 2004 implies 192,000 additional deaths and 6.7 million additional lost DALYs in 2010 alone.

He compared this death tally to the WHO figures for deaths attributed to global warming and finds that the biofuels policies are more deadly. (And he is not including any increase in poverty due to other anti-global warming practices).

1. Biofuel policies are retarding humanity’s age-old battle against poverty.

2. Since according to the World Health Organization’s latest estimates, 141,000 deaths and 5.4 million lost DALYs in 2004 could be attributed to global warming (WHO 2009), biofuel policies may currently be deadlier than global warming, especially since the inertia of the climate system means little or no reduction in these numbers from any slowing of global warming due to any increase in biofuel production from 2004 to 2010.

How many times do we hear that “it can’t hurt to reduce ‘pollution’ (sic)”?

Even if CO2 was a form of pollution there is little justification for trying to reduce it.

There are many ways that poverty kills:

In order to identify diseases of poverty, Goklany calculated for each risk factor, the ratio of its burden of disease per capita for low-income countries compared to that of lower-middle-income countries. In order to develop a conservative (lower bound) estimate for the effect of biofuel production on death and disease, it was assumed that if the ratio exceeded 5, then the risk factor was poverty dominated. Six risk factors met this criterion: global warming; underweight (largely synonymous with chronic hunger); zinc deficiency; Vitamin A deficiency; unsafe sex; and unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. These six factors accounted for 7.7 million deaths and 268 million lost DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Years) worldwide for 2004. Of these, more than 99.3% of the deaths and lost DALYs were in developing countries.

Using a less restrictive criterion for the ratio of 2 would have added four more risk factors to the above list, namely: unmet contraceptive needs, indoor smoke from solid fuels, sub-optimal breast feeding and iron deficiency. Many consider these to be poverty-related (Brundtland, 2003). Including these in the list would increase their cumulative toll of poverty-dominated risks in 2004 to 11.3 million deaths and 384 million lost DALYs. However, to err on the side of conservatism, the more restrictive definition of “poverty-dominated” was used.

Methodology
The methodology used by Goklany (2011) is as follows:

  1. Obtain estimates of the increase in the current headcount for absolute poverty in the developing world due to increased biofuel production.
  2. Develop the relationships (or “coefficients of proportionality”) between the poverty headcount on the one hand, and the global burden of death and disease attributable to “diseases of poverty” on the other hand. The headcount and the burdens of death and disease should be for the same time period.
  3. Apply the coefficients developed in step 2 to the increase in poverty from step 1 to estimate the increases in death and disease from the increase in biofuel production.

For more information see NIPCC

Goklany, I.M. 2011. Could Biofuel Policies Increase Death and Disease in Developing Countries? Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons 16: 9-13. [PDF]

UPDATE: Richard Courtney writes to add –

‘Waffle’ (#1) disputes this post by claiming excess corn in the EU and US is mostly used for biofuel production so there is little or no effect on food production.  But the Golkany study is right and he is wrong.

I investigated the matter a few years ago.  The latter of my two papers was published in 2008 (at the Science and Public Policy Institute).

Its synopsis says:
This paper reviews effects of large use of biofuels that I predicted in a paper published in August 2006 prior to the USA legislating to enforce displacement of crude oil products by biofuels. The review indicates that policies (such as that in the EU), subsidies and legislation (such as that in the USA) to promote use of biofuels should be reconsidered. The use of biofuels is causing significant problems but providing no benefits except to farmers. Biofuel usage is a hidden subsidy to farmers, and if this subsidy is the intended purpose of biofuel usage then more direct subsidies would be more efficient. But the problems of biofuel usage are serious. Biofuel usage is:

• damaging energy security,
• reducing biodiversity,
• inducing excessively high food prices, and
• inducing excessively high fuel prices, while
• providing negligible reduction to greenhouse gas emissions.

All these effects were predicted in my paper on the use of biofuels that was published in August 2006.

My 2006 paper also predicted objections from environmentalists if large use of biofuels were adopted although this then seemed implausible because many environmentalists were campaigning for biofuels to displace fossil fuels. But this prediction has also proved to be correct.

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Killing people with "concern"? Biofuels led to nearly 200,000 deaths (est) in 2010. , 10.0 out of 10 based on 5 ratings

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113 comments to Killing people with “concern”? Biofuels led to nearly 200,000 deaths (est) in 2010.

  • #

    The biofuel industry in mostly to do with the US and EU corn surpluses. Their corn is so heavily subisdised that they would throw it away if not using if for biofuels. In many respects this highlights the flawed argument for any market regulation in relation to price fixing.

    The main problem with biofuels is the wear and tear on ICE engines. Oh, and the ridiculous cost per barrel of maizoline. If you look at arable land use globally the issue is not lack of food. It is the lack of means by which people can grow their own food. Which, is quite easy to fix by selling farm equipment on lay-by(does that make me sound old?) so the third world can get on with the business of growing their own food more efficiently.

    The ‘biofuels are killing the (poor)children’ argument doesn’t really have any weight which will convince those that have a reasonable amount of knowledge about global agricultural concerns.


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    • #
      feliksch

      Waffle, concerning EU corn, your’e dead wrong. Farmers now use land unsuited for biofuel-corn, because it pays so much more than growing other crops. In Northern Germany much soil is lost and people die on the roads because sandstorms obstruct their sights. Feed prices rise, because of the new competitor. Ultimately, the “little man’s” taxes pays the fat-cat farmers and agro-businesses. Of course, he does that already in the EU farm-subsidy rip-off, but bio-fuel and subsidized solar panels on the farms’ roofs makes it even worse.
      Yes, there are manyfold ways to improve farming here, there and everywhere. Alas, the people who ought to tend to that are wasting their time “protecting the climate”.


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  • #
    Roy Hogue

    Only one word is necessary to describe this nonsense. Stupidity!

    But of course when all you care about is your own ego trip or financial gain you don’t have to worry about anything else.


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  • #
    Lionell Griffith

    Full disclosure: I receive a significant fraction of my annual income from grain production: corn, wheat, and soybeans.

    I object to food being transformed into fuel when perfectly good fuel is available by drilling, pumping, and refining it. I am also strongly opposed to farm subsidies. A farmer should make his money off of the value of what he produces. If he produces too much, he needs to accept what he can get, switch to a more valuable commodity, reduce production, or go out of business. As should any business in any line of production. It is obscene to use the force of government to make a living from doing the wrong things in the wrong way.

    The romance of a family farm is BS and seems so only by people who have never lived on a farm and tried to make a living from one.


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  • #
    Treeman

    The chances of science not being settled
    Are a million to one they said
    The chances of sceptics being correct
    Are a million to one they said

    Belief in made made climate change is a bit like coming from mars
    And still they come!

    I awoke to alien sounds of food burning fuel
    and hurried to the railway station to buy the paper
    Around me the daily routine of life
    working-eating-sleeping
    was continuing serenely as it had for countless years
    On Planet Earth
    the Greenies continued shrilling and alarming
    sleepless indefatigable at work on the dream
    they where making
    To make the planet clean
    like the beam of a warship’s searchlight
    the eco police came
    In the afternoon knocking at my door
    and employed the science is settled
    The science is settled

    That evening there was a violent crash
    and I realized with delight
    that Albedo had come to to the rescue
    Trailing a green mist behind him
    landing with a flash like summer lightning
    And destroyed the myth of man made global warming


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Treeman: #4

    That is very good – have a tick.


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  • #
    Treeman

    Cheers Rereke

    Poor CCH hit again, thinking about a friend there and Kiwi mates.


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  • #
    Bulldust

    Waffle – you might want to read up on the impact of elevated corn prices and civil unrest. This was partly due to the biofuels policy in the US and later due to the Fed debasing of the US currency. Any country pegged to the US dollar (or coincidently moving in the same direction) would have seen food prices rise as a result. Higher food prices are a major trigger for the unrest we are seeing across the Arab states and north Africa right now. How many lives has that cost?

    I don’t disagree that US corn is heavily subsidised BTW. But a gradual weaning off the subsidy and gradual introduction of the biofuels policy might have prevented a lot of unneccessary deaths.

    See, for example:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2011/02/food-prices-spike.html

    If you read around the desperate attempts to associate the shortages with weather events (presumably to tie in with climate alarmism) there are some grains of truth exposed (pun noted):

    A record high price in many food staples is pushing millions into poverty and contributing to unrest in countries like Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt and Yemen, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said this week.

    and

    High prices of oil also made producers consider biofuels as an alternative source of fuel, further driving up the prices of food. And export restrictions imposed by governments across the globe also reportedly contributed to the price surge, according to the U.N.


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    I made the following observations, in response to a link provided by MemoryVault on the last thread:

    The Epidemiologists have been running their models searching for a “source” of the outbreak; arbitrarily shutting down food producers across Europe, as they went.
    Of course, what they should have been looking for, with an e-coli outbreak, was the vector for the transmission of the bacterium. They don’t walk very far under their own steam.
    It looks as though the vector was hiding in plain sight all along. It is a pity they didn’t bother to do a media search.

    Once again, the common factor is the over-reliance on computer modeling as if they were THE TRUTH. We are witnessing the emergence of a new religion, with all of its evangelical fervor.

    The discordancy is that the Greens want want to go back to a simpler way of life – one more in tune with Gaia (whatever that means) – but they do by actively doing new stuff that is essentially untested and unmonitored. If they want a simpler life, why don’t they move to a community with no electricity?

    Oh yes, of course, if they did that, their computers wouldn’t work, and they wouldn’t be in touch with the next potential to create mayhem and disaster.


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  • #

    “I’ve never viewed fighting the perversion that environmentalism has become as some sort of intellectual wrestling match waged in the blogosphere. It’s a real war against a malign anti-human movement that in reality is killing people right now, this moment, this morning, afternoon, evening and night.”

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/the-big-green-killing-machine-what-is-vad/

    Pointman


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  • #
    Rereke Whakaaro

    Treeman: #6

    Poor CCH hit again …

    People are very resilient. A friend, whose parents have lived in Christchurch for all of their lives, sent me a photograph of a convenience store with a sign reading, “Free Milkshakes – bring your own milk”.


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  • #
    David, UK

    @ Jo: Can I just suggest a correction of a typo in the title? I’m sure you meant to use the past tense “led” rather than “lead” – sorry for being a pedant!

    [REPLY: Thanks... yes I did change the tense of the header in a late edit... oops. JN]


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  • #
    pattoh

    Yet again:-

    Where is the dialogue about Coal to Gas / GTL & its relative costs in all the fuel sourcing dialogue?


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  • #
    Speedy

    Yet another example of where the greens only tell the convenient side of the story, and/or are blissfully unaware of the unwelcome outcomes of their actions.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
    Bulldust

    ACIL Tasman has done a study on the impact of the “carbon price” on coal mining in Australia:

    http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/national/9634359/carbon-tax-will-end-coalmining-industry/

    Needless to say they found a negative impact and they project 14,000 jobs lost in coal mining and related industries (multiplier effect).


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  • #
    gnome

    Roy (No2)No, there are more words needed- work down from “lunacy”, through “criminal”, down to merely “irresponsible” and throw in a few more adjectives like “grossly” and “heinously”. And if that upsets anyone, use the Scott Adams apology- “sorry for peeing in your cesspool!”


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  • #
    theRealUniverse

    Its hilarious when you think of it..THEY need more biofuel to reduce use of fossil fuel that produces CO2 BUT they need more CO2 to produce enough biofuel! Methinks they got a problem…


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  • #
    John Brookes

    What a pitiful argument. There are limits to how low and stupid you should be, but you’ve gone lower and stupider.

    You can use the same argument to show that chocolate causes many deaths. Why? Because land which could be used to grow food is instead being used to produce an export crop with no nutritional value.

    In the potato famine, Ireland was exporting food while its people starved. It wasn’t about a shortage of food, it was about economics and power. It is the same today.

    So go to it, you crusaders against hunger. Convince the wine grape growers of Margaret River, the Barossa and the Hunter to start growing corn and sending it to the world’s poor.


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    • #

      The potato famine in Ireland was due to potato blight. This occurred because they cloned the potatoes (cut pieces around the “eyes” and planted them) so that once the blight started there was no immunity throughout the crop.


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  • #
    zorba

    I think you will find, if you look, that there is a lot of opposition to palm derived biofuel among environmentalists


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  • #
    zorba

    theRealUniverse 16

    Biofuels are carbon neutral. Have a think about it.


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  • #
    MattB

    These kinds of studies are tricky… as a reference I point to the range of “studies” on deaths relating to the Chernobyl accident. Some (official) say 50 direct deaths with a few thousand extras likely but essentially indecipherable to background noise. Others say closer to 1 million deaths. That is to say – if you want to make biofuels (or Chernobyl) look bad then there is a certain method to apply. As such I’m highly suspicious/skeptical of this study. (heck it is in peer reviewed literature therefore you guys know it is dodgy!).

    That said, unless it is recycled oil from the fish and chip shop, or a genuine “waste” product, then biofuels are a sham. And if you look carefully it is often a handout to western farmers. This is equivalent to the old EU butter mountains as the poor of the world starved.


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  • #
    incoherent rambler

    The political problem seems akin to the king appearing on the balcony as the crowd chants “burn the witch”. The king knows that it is bulldust, but cannot run the risk of having a disgruntled bunch of uneducated peasants being upset about the king not sharing their belief in witches. So he gives the thumbs down to the unfortunate witch.

    Biofuels, solar and wind are popular with the crowd.
    Coal , oil and nuclear have the peasants chanting.


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  • #
    Paul S

    Matt B @18; I agree with you in that this study is essentially an piece of statitical modelling and as such its outcomes are determined by the assumptions made at the outset. There are no observed and recorded deaths from biofuels – just inferred ones. Much the same as the deaths that are claimed to be caused by global warming. These things may or may not be occurring but, as there is no direct observation of them, it’s anyone’s guess to what extent. Your comment about data being lost in background noise reminds me of a comment made to me by a geologist about seven years ago, that the temperature changes measured over recent decades (assuming they’re accurate)get lost in the noise when one looks at geological time.


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  • #
    MattB

    Absolutely Paul, I’m equally skeptical about claims of X deaths per year at present due to global warming. I’m concerned about future impacts of significant temperature changes.


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  • #
    The Loaded Dog

    John Brooks @ 17.

    Thanks for that pearl Comrade Brooks…


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  • #
    John Brookes

    Thanks for the appreciation, Comrade Dog.


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  • #
    Damian Allen

    Beware the Precautionary Principle !!

    http://www.sirc.org/articles/beware.html


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  • #
    Damian Allen

    The latest BS from tim flannery….

    Which islands have been evacuated, Tim Flannery?

    http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/which_islands_have_been_evacuated_tim/


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  • #
    Mark D.

    MattB, more thumbs up. I think you are about to turn, your “education” here is almost complete.

    Brookes, sorry you have to go through more “training”. LOTS more training. We could offer an expedited “solution” if you are willing to have some lobes pureed……..


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  • #
    Speedy

    A lot of being green is just tokenism. You drive a Prius because it’s supposedly green. Who cares that it uses a lot more resources to build, and that the fuel economy is no better than a basic diesel or LPG fueled vehicle – it’s green! You put solar panels on your roof – the mere fact that they only deliver 4 kWh/day per installed kW is irrelevant – it’s green. Biofuels might not deliver a lower carbon footprint – but that doesn’t matter.

    Even assuming that the lower carbon footprint had any significant impact on global climate. Which is extremely doubtful.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
  • #

    Bulldust @ 7:

    Waffle – you might want to read up on the impact of elevated corn prices and civil unrest. This was partly due to the biofuels policy in the US and later due to the Fed debasing of the US currency. Any country pegged to the US dollar (or coincidently moving in the same direction) would have seen food prices rise as a result. Higher food prices are a major trigger for the unrest we are seeing across the Arab states and north Africa right now. How many lives has that cost?

    High food and oil prices are a direct result of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000. This overturned the hard lessons learned in the Great Depression about market fixing which resulted in the Commodity Exchange Act of 1936. The 2000 legislation allows financial institutions to speculate on commodities once again which, was one of the fundamental causes on the Great Depression. Food and oil are prime targets of this new legislation because their production levels are fixed. This creates the perfect conditions for robber barons such as Goldman Sachs to corrupt the market with artificial boom-bust price cycles.

    Any notion that high food and oil prices are the result of commodity shortage is MSM propaganda. We must be vigilant about the creeping fascism which is consuming our society. That means getting educated about what is really going on not just blindly repeating slogans and political untruths.


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  • #
    JPeden

    Brookes pro forma, repeats the usual mindlessness as to “nutritional value”:

    You can use the same argument to show that chocolate causes many deaths. Why? Because land which could be used to grow food is instead being used to produce an export crop with no nutritional value.

    Sorry, Brookes, chocolate does indeed have a significant amount of concentrated “nutritional value”. They’re called “calories”. Or else try going without them.

    Otherwise, he does still seem to have quite an excessive load of unhinged self-anointment on board.


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  • #
    Paul S

    Matt B; future significant temperature changes are hypothetical and. if one follows the logic that C02 released by human activity is the cause, would require us to halt the world’s industrial activity in it’s tracks – something that is neither feasable nor, because of the sociopolitcal consequences, desirable. Of far more concern is the risk to water security, chemical pollution of the environment, the appaling waste of resources encouraged by consumerism, etc. Issues like these are often conflated with global warming as if they were mutually inclusive. They are not. These concerns are real and immanent, and existed well before AGW appeared.


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  • #
    John Brookes

    I knew there was a reason I visited here, to read the excellent work of waffle!


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  • #
    memoryvault

    John Brookes @ 34

    I thought you’d come to give us your Plan B.


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  • #
    pat

    first time i’ve visited the following site, and the last….

    13 June: The Conversation: Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community
    Today, The Conversation launches a two-week series from the nation’s top minds on the science behind climate change and the efforts of “sceptics” to cloud the debate….
    Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now…
    At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes.
    Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “sceptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny.
    Australians have been exposed to a phony public debate which is not remotely reflected in the scientific literature and community of experts.
    Beginning today, The Conversation will bring much-needed and long-overdue accountability to the climate “sceptics.”…
    The signatories below jointly authored this article, and some may also contribute to the forthcoming series of analyses.
    Signatories
    Winthrop Professor Stephan Lewandowsky, Australian Professorial Fellow, UWA…ETC ETC ETC
    http://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808


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  • #
    Andrew Barnham

    John Brooks.

    A distinction exists in this case. The decision to purpose land that is not the issue; i.e. to grow a cash crop or to grow a staple. It is the re-purposing of staple crops from food production to to fuel which, is asserted, impacts the price of the staple, irrespective of how the crop is to be used.

    Now this point of distinction may not modify the eventual conclusions of your argument; but it does invalidate the examples you put forward. As such your polemic needs to be reframed. Now I am not sure if your argument has some validity of not; the problem does not appear to me at least to be a straightforward as you imply (with unnecessary rudeness). But if you feel your argument is still broadly valid, please elaborate how economics of food production is not impacted by repurposing of food for things other than human consumption.

    Reminds me of a sci fi story I read years ago, cannot remember the name. Characters were complaining that in the old days people used to wastefully burn fossil fuels for energy (in the story fossil fuels were converted into food).


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  • #
    Andrew Barnham

    Correction, grammer in first paragraph above is awful and confusing.

    A distinction exists in this case. The decision to purpose land that is not the issue; i.e. to grow a cash crop or to grow a staple. It is the re-purposing of staple crops from food production to to fuel which is claimed to impact the price of the staple overall.


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  • #
    Speedy

    Pat @ 36

    I noticed the internet address – suffix .edu.au. Not a government institution, perchance? It seems the money tap for this little fiasco has been opened wide open.

    Cheers,

    Speedy


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  • #
    will gray

    In the recent oppurtunistic frenzy of Amazonian rainforest clearing, blamed on the Govt’s policy stalling- the main crop planted was Soya bean.
    From this Guardian piece Quote: Officia…ls said the most dramatic situation was in the soy-growing state of Mato Grosso, where farmers are said to be using tractors and giant chains to rip up vast tracts of native forest.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/20/brazil-crisis-cabinet-amazon-deforestation
    Here the palm oil rush of destruction. SORRY THIS IS PAINFULL.
    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_cost_of_the_biofuel_boom_destroying_indonesias_forests_/2112/

    This report on a published Paper discusses different fuels. Soya Bean is KING.
    http://news.mongabay.com/2006/0711-umn.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150185261874940_16928488_10150217190359940#f3994df8c5fb714

    This details the scale of Brittish firms BIG BUY UP to produce- Bio DIE sal.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/31/biofuel-plantations-africa-british-firms
    Quote: Crest Global Green Energy has the largest recorded landholding, 900,000ha in Mali, Guinea and Senegal. Tom Stuart, the chief executive, said: “It is true in some cases [that biofuels displace food], but in our projects we ‘inter-crop’, planting as much food as biofuel on the marginal land we have brought into agricultural use.
    Quote: “Growing jatropha in a profitable way on dry lands is a myth. It needs water, fertilisers and pesticides to provide high yields,” Auge said. Jamidu Katima, at the University of Dar es Salaam. End quote.
    One paradox is that dissplaced local farmers clear more land. Good read.
    Thanks. Will Gray.


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  • #
    Graeme Bird

    “The biofuel industry in mostly to do with the US and EU corn surpluses. Their corn is so heavily subisdised that they would throw it away if not using if for biofuels. In many respects this highlights the flawed argument for any market regulation in relation to price fixing.”

    Totally wrong. They wouldn’t throw the corn away. They would sell it. The low price would lead to a substitution back to wheat.Stored wheat is our traditional way of storing food value and alleviating the risk of severe food stress. The substitution would also be in land use. There is no excusing this menace, which also leads to more hydrocarbon usage, but for no good reason.

    When you burn food instead of selling it you will be killing an indeterminate amount of people every time.


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    Paul S

    A bit off thread, but I see the ABC in WA has had the temerity to interview a Dr Geoff Deacon PhD, who states categorically that current sea level changes have nothing to do with human activity.


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    Graeme Bird

    Thats great that your ABC in the West can lash out like this. It must be that Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world. Was anyone fired over this?


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    cohenite

    pattoh@12; for all cost comparisons between gas/coal/nuclear/renewable TonyOZ has and is doing some great work; see page 3 at Jennifer’s for some of Tony’s F&F:

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2011/06/how-others-price-carbon/?cp=3#comment-484040


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  • #
    Dave

    World Biofuel needs?

    Currently there are estimated 1 billion cars, light trucks and buses world wide & expected to grow to 2.5 billion by 2030. They use now 350 Billion US gallons of fuel P.A. Converted to ethonol they will need approximately 1.5 times this (energy) – and 1 hectare of good ethanol producing crops produces 5,000 litres per annum.

    This requires 2,000 billion litres of ethanol PA which in turn needs nearly 400 million hectares of good farm land. World farmable land area total is approximately 10% of total land area = 1,300 million hectares.

    So John Brookes and Waffle – by 2030 we need all the farm land for biofuels – smart people the greens.


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    MattB

    Do they give PhD’s away for free nowadays. Everyone knows water levels have been higher and lower in the past. Everyone knows it has been warmer and cooler. It is hard to tell from an interview if Geoff has anything more than a few glib statements to back up his opinion. You’d have to have been pretty stupid to be getting a PhD in 2000 and have no idea it was relevent to climate change!


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    Pete H

    John Brookes: @ 17 ..11:05 am
    One wonders why you have to resort to insults by the reproduction of a scientific paper (2 if you also count the one Richard Courtney introduced). Then again, you always run away from the scientific principle huh!


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    Graeme Bird

    Everyone knows these things? Always when pointing out the truth you have the likelihood that people will have pointed it out before. I don’t think any famous speech would pass muster under your criterion. If you know these things then why are you still a CO2-bedwetter? Why do you support the goals of the society for colder winter mornings for the Laplanders?

    Its your ugly, meanspirited nature that disturbs me most Matty.


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    will gray

    Well I would pay Mattb and luke and John and Waffle to post here because they engage this blogs narrative.
    This is good and bad as it can derail good discussion.
    Actually One question to all metioned above.
    Q. If ‘CAGWarming’ turned out to be nonsence would your present income stream suffer?


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    Jenness Warin

    Reke @8
    If they want a simpler life, why don’t they move to a community with no electricity?

    Some of the people that control the funding, data collection and reporting of the central/northern Aboriginal communities live in Tasmania or the other states of Australia.
    They have it ‘both ways’, but continue their experiments in third world technology, rent seeking and governance models in the remote reserves.


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    Bob Malloy

    Pat 36, Speedy 39:

    Under Founding Partners, bottom of home page.

    * Australian National University
    * CSIRO
    * Monash University
    * University of Melbourne
    * University of Technology, Sydney
    * University of Western Australia

    All the usual suspects.


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    Dave

    Rereke Whakaaro: @ 8

    The discordancy is that the Greens want want to go back to a simpler way of life – one more in tune with Gaia

    The total land area of the world is 13,056 million hectares. Divided up equally that would be 2.1 hectares for each person. I’m going to Bob’s Greens place and grab my 2.1 Hectares now.

    My green pegs will be 144.9 meters in a square and that’ll do me.

    How much land have you got Waffle – may be a better place for me!

    I going to your place Waffle and stake my claim –

    We must be vigilant about the creeping fascism which is consuming our society


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    MattB

    Will… not as much as it would suffer if it is real and we do nothing about it:)


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  • #

    When you burn food instead of selling it you will be killing an indeterminate amount of people every time.

    This is like saying if you stop blowing your nose your won’t ever have the flu. This cause an effect is unrelated. It is agricultural subsidies which creates market dumping of food which prevents the development of the agricultural industries in third world countries. It also multiplies the food waste problem. For your consideration take a look at the following statistics:

    Fertilizer consumption > 100 grams per hectare of arable land (most recent) by country
    Agricultural machinery > tractors per 100 hectares of arable land (most recent) by country

    The two things to note is the massive excess of production capital applied to the arable land of countries with subsidies and the under-utilisation of capital in third world countries. Australia, with a deregulated sector, is good benchmark. Notice how we are about two thirds of the way down on the both charts?

    If developing countries were given the opportunity to invest in their primary sectors they would be able to achieve equivalent levels of productivity that our farmers achieve. As you can see by our numbers, it doesn’t take a great deal of capital to have a high yielding primary sector. But it does take more than the pitiful amounts that are currently deployed in those economies.

    Now go ahead and look at the arable land by country:
    Arable land > hectares (most recent) by country

    With this in mind look at the crop yields per country. This ain’t rocket science, just the effect of not letting free markets do their job.

    I also dug up that interesting Rolling Stone article which is a bit of a hit and a giggle against Goldman Sachs. As radically overstated as it is, some solid points are made. The Great American Bubble Machine


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    theRealUniverse

    @ zorba: Thats precisly it..Biofuels need CO2 to grow!!!Many studies show that INCREASED CO2 increases plant growth.
    @ Waffle
    Also “robber barons such as Goldman Sachs” are part of the criminal Wall St bankers cartel that WANT Carbon trading etc etc.


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    Jenness Warin

    Andrew Barnham: June 14th, 2011 at 3:53 pm
    Correction, grammer in first paragraph above is awful and confusing.

    A distinction exists in this case. The decision to purpose land that is not the issue; i.e. to grow a cash crop or to grow a staple. It is the re-purposing

    I am commenting on the comments having not read Goklany paper as yet.

    In Australia state and local governments classify the land use purpose. This classification is not clear nor arguments for change, as seen in the Thompsons case and Peter Spencer for eg. Or at least these classifications and underpinning evidences are not easily available.

    These same govts also apply legislature and bylaws controlling vegetation clearing, water extraction and usage, state and native title alienation of lands (watersheds inc). Road and rail.
    There is currently a debate on the sustainable population that Australia can accomodate.

    Much of Australian land is also locked up in native title (reserves with communal stakeholders) to the centre and north. cf Wild Rivers legislation in Qld for a recent example.
    While not pertinent to the comments but perhaps the Goklany paper, private property rights are NOT de rigeur in the nations where mortality/morbidity per/100,000 is rated highest. Nor are rights for ALL women of equal value to ALL men I expect. Small subsistence farming and lack of individual rights (human and property) likely contributes to the high death and disease rates. Including the distortion promulgated by radical environmentalists for tribal people to maintain subsistence farming, create carbon-exchanges of their undeveloped [and oft feral ridden] land holdings and general tribal mores that haev a direct outcome in gross human suffering.

    Transparency International may hold some discussion on the corruption associated and correlated to land and mortality rates.

    Waffle, thank you for your comments.


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    Graeme Bird

    No waffle. When you burn food you will kill people as a direct causal effect. Nothing mystical about it. People live in the balance in very poor countries, and other events will intervene to push the matter into one where people are dying.


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    Bulldust

    Waffle:
    One must be careful looking simply at the quatity of factors of production used in agriculture. Your analysis does not address the relative costs. It is obvious that the cost of labour in the developing countries is extremely low compared to the cost of capital equipment. While it is true that more capital investment can increase productivity per hectare, it may not necessarily be the most economic option.

    Then there are the differences in agricultural produce between countries. Some types of agricultural activity are inherantly capital intensive per hectar and others are not. How much capital do ranchers up north use per hectare? Not a lot obviously. That doesn’t make their approach any less sophisticated, it simply requires less capital per hectare. Intensive horticultural/greenhouse farming is on the other end of the spectrum.

    The true picture, as with climate change, is always a lot more complicated than a couple statistical series.


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    manalive

    Re: John Brookes (17),

    Of course the use of biofuels for road transport has been around for a century or more and the oil shocks of the ’70s gave them a nudge along, but only the influence of the climate hysterics can explain the amazing growth since ~2002 (a rate over ten times that of oil) but, like the malaria deaths due to the DDT ban, the Greens now try to distance themselves from the dire consequences of the policies they push — shameful really.


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    manalive

    A more up-to-date graph of the global biofuel production to 2009.
    The implications are clear.


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    Bulldust @ 59:

    It is obvious that the cost of labour in the developing countries is extremely low compared to the cost of capital equipment. While it is true that more capital investment can increase productivity per hectare, it may not necessarily be the most economic option.

    This is the crux of my argument. People are resources which can be freed up when more appropriate use of capital is applied to the agricultural sector. To do this capital investment is required. But, when other countries flood your market with cheap subsidised produce that investment will not be made. I provided fertilizer statistics because we need to also look at crop yields per hectare, as evidenced by current low yields in developing countries.

    Business 101, people are capital, not costs.

    @Graeme Bird: The US, or any other countries for that matter, are not responsible for feeding the world’s poor. If they want to burn their crops, so be it. They are, however, responsible for distorting global by using gains in other sectors of their economy to prop up their primary industries and suppress competitors in other more vulnerable countries.

    @Richard Courtney:

    Corn for ethanol currently accounts for 13.5 per cent of all corn production in the United States, yielding roughly 6.2 billion gallons of ethanol which is equivalent to only a one percentage point reduction in US gasoline consumption. Even if the United States achieved President George W. Bush’s 2017 target, “that would only reduce gasoline consumption by an estimated 6.5 per cent”, Rubin said. And he added, “Ethanol indeed has certain benefits, but only for those who grow corn and distill it into alcohol. The only thing Bush’s renewable energy policy will fuel is inflation.”

    US corn production is 259,273 thousand metric tons and the consumption is 207,020 thousand metric tons. How is that 13% not just an absorption of the 25% of excess corn that America produces?

    As for your argument that creating more energy damages energy security and increases energy prices. Well… Convince me.


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    Dave

    Waffle

    Your Corn Figures are wrong – when you use Agriculture Statistics to obtain your WANTED figures above – you have left out a number of other stats:
    Export Corn metric tonnes
    Import Corn metric tonnes

    Go back and do your figures again.


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    Jenness Warin

    Waffle @ #62
    This is the crux of my argument. People are resources which can be freed up when more appropriate use of capital is applied to the agricultural sector.

    Yes that is correct Waffle.

    Papua New Guinea (PNG) and also central and northern Australia women became the resource. Traded for land deliberately unproductive, and murdered and assaulted for such exchange. Their children, as the many men and young men also, without individual and private property rights, their children are now dying of AIDs in PNG and in Australia from neglect and lack of intervention.

    PNG people bury these children in unmarked graves. Pt Moresby, where many women and young people flee to have food and safety, their children are buried by humanitarians that see babies and kids deserve such love and care, even in death.
    The students I taught, and their families do the same in northern Australia. The local funeral directors and land-owning elders have a monopoly in the landscape, scarred by such brutality.

    I expect the same happens in Latin America, Africa and Asia. But the numbers there always look more impressive.
    And this is despite having fought together in the major World Wars with our (Australia/Pacific) nearest neighbours and friends.


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    Exports 46,000 thousand metric tons and Imports 200 thousand metric tons. I’m not sure what you are driving at. As you can see, the US exports most of its surplus.


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    Dave

    Waffle

    Current Corn Stats in US have increased to approximately 16% since Richards Paper Release:

    Overall in 2007 / 2008, approximately 55% of the corn produced in the United States was fed directly to animals (poultry, beef, pork and dairy livestock), in either the form of whole grain or in commercially prepared feeds where corn is a primary ingredient.
    Ethanol fuel / fuel additive accounts for appoximately 16% of production.
    Food, seed, and industrial products account for an additional 12% of production.
    The rest, approximately 17%, is exported (most corn sold to other countries is also used to feed livestock, food or ethanol production).

    Full details at http://www.credfinrisk.com/corn.html


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    Jenness Warin: I think the tragedy who’ve described are woman becoming commodities, not resources. Resources are a means to produce and to enrich society.


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    Dave

    Jenness Warin

    Papua New Guinea Govt has over 100 pollies all recieving nearly $1 million Kena PA plus Rural Development Funds, Transport etc etc. Lady Kidu is the only shining light in trying to stop this patriarchal social system. The social system dominated by very few – who happen to also own massive areas of Palm Oil Plantations (a blight on the environment) is one of PNG’s major problems.

    The appropriate use of capital is not applied to the agricultural sector through their own system of society.


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    @Dave: I’m still not sure what your point is. The US is a net exporter of corn. Which means those smart yanks have figured out how to feed themselves, feed their cattle and burn a little on the side for recreation.

    I’m still failing to see this alarmist(oops O.o) point of view that burning maize is going to kill people. Worst case scenario is for the US to decide to burn all its corn one year and eat it the next. Creating market insecurity.

    If they don’t burn their corn then the world carries on as it always has and no more deaths result from market-based food insecurity. If they burn it all then the price goes higher and the developing world has more unrealised profit potential in growing their own corn and, shock horror, exporting it the the US who have become ethanol addicts.

    My argument is that there is plenty of food producing potential in the developing world today. We are not responsible for feeding them. By and large they need to sort out their messed up politics which prevents them from feeding themselves. The third world poverty guilt trip doesn’t work on this white boy. While we can take actions to help them along, they will have to eventually tread their own path out of poverty, into democracy and onto green state fascism.

    *This keyboard is so bad I just spelt it demoncracy. lulz.


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    Llew Jones

    Dave@67

    Palm oil is a price sensitive competitor for Aussie tallow particularly for making soap. Tallow, along with meat and bone meal is an abattoir by product got from rendering animal carcases and animal bits and pieces. If those live export cattle don’t get to Indonesia soon part of them will end up in soap, greases and fats. The edible stuff is used for cooking fish and chips etc.


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    Dave

    Waffle

    The countries you speak of earlier (third world) are actually running policies to reward ethanol production (via IPCC) – this is the whole point – growing this stuff is killing people – as in PNG, Brazil etc etc.

    Read Lionell Griffith: @ 3 – It is real, and it is simple.

    I’m off to work now!


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    Richard S Courtney

    Waffle:

    I have withdrawn from this blog so make no comments.

    I am not now making a comment. I am writing to point you to the relevant part of my 2008 paper from which you selectively quote at #61 and then demand;

    As for your argument that creating more energy damages energy security and increases energy prices. Well… Convince me.

    Section 2.1 is titled “Damage to energy security” and starts on page 4.

    It explains the issues in various countries and its concluding statements say;

    Extreme weather events have occasionally affected fuel supplies. For example, in 2005 Hurricane Katrina damaged infrastructure in the USA with resulting difficulties to distribution of oil products in the USA. But, until now the supply of fuel has not depended on normal variability of weather.

    In the past year the USA and EU have deliberately adopted energy policies that require significant imports of biomass from poor countries. As explained above, those policies
    make fuel supplies to the USA and EU dependent on the weather in their supplier countries.

    It seems that this problem may be recognized in the US because much of the US biofuel production is exported notably to the EU (see Section 2.5). This transforms the problem of bad harvests to the exported countries, but the exported fuel makes no contribution to supply of US fuel demand.

    Energy security has been reduced by the addition of normal weather variability as a risk to energy supplies. This reduction to energy security can only be overcome by a reversal of the recently adopted energy policies that require significant imports of biomass from poor countries or, alternatively, the very expensive establishment and maintenance of strategic fuel stocks sufficient to meet the needs of a poor biomass harvest. (It is interesting to note that this latter solution is not novel. It was the solution to the problem of variable harvests that the Bible says Joseph proposed to Pharaoh in the Bronze Age: ref. Genesis 41: 34-36).

    Richard


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    Richard S Courtney

    Waffle:

    I see that I failed to note your questioning of the fact that use of biomass “increases energy prices” as explained in my paper. I apologise for this oversight and now write to correct it.

    The relevant Section of my paper is 2.4. and is titled “Induction of excessively high fuel prices“. It starts on page 15.

    Having detailed the issues, it concludes saying;

    Ethanol is being used throughout the U.S. as an additive of 10% blended with gasoline. The result has been increased fuel costs for US drivers. In the two months following introduction of this additive at the start of May 2006, demand for ethanol caused its price to rise about 65% to around $4.50 a gallon in U.S. spot markets, according to the Oil Price Information Service. This is much more expensive than gasoline which costs about $2.90 a gallon at the pump so the direct effect is to raise the price at the pump to $3.06 (a price rise of 16%) without taking into consideration costs of transporting and blending the ethanol.

    The Wall Street Journal commented, 19 June 2006, “Analysts say this has set up a lesson straight out of the Economics 101 textbook: If you add an ingredient to a product that is pricier than the product itself, in effect, you’re driving up the price of the product”.

    The existence of the large subsidies for biofuels is – of itself – direct evidence that the use of biofuels is raising fuel prices.

    Richard


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    John Brookes

    Boy was I grumpy when I posted this morning.

    Bio-fuels are not a unique problem in terms of world hunger. The problem really seems to be that we could produce enough food (whether we burn some of it or not), but our food producing efforts are not arranged with this in mind. We devote plenty of effort and resources to producing luxuries for rich countries (including bio-fuels), and not enough to producing staples for the poor.

    It is a problem of inequitable wealth distribution. What I do find contemptible is ignoring this, and trying to tie hunger to bio-fuels alone. And doing this, as yet another snide attack on AGW.

    BTW, what is this Plan B you keep asking about memoryvault?


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    Richard S Courtney: I buy your argument about government enforced ethanol blending raising prices at the pump but, I’m not convinced about the fuel security issue. There is currently no legislation that I know of which will cap or reduce petroleum imports thus, affecting energy security. Most of the US petroleum security issues relate directly to the Iraq War’s ability to whittle down the US strategic reserves. If and when the US is going to exclude other energy sources in favour of biofuels/gas, then security may be an issue. If they choose not to import pond algae from desert rimmed countries, or seaweed from coast hugging ones. The fundamental problem of energy is storage, and hydrocarbons are attractive because that has been solved. Unless the sun stops shining, plants will always be growing.

    The problem really seems to be that we could produce enough food (whether we burn some of it or not), but our food producing efforts are not arranged with this in mind. We devote plenty of effort and resources to producing luxuries for rich countries (including bio-fuels), and not enough to producing staples for the poor.

    Agreed. The best example is the cattle feed industry in the states. They could feed on grass but are grain fed because subsidies create excesses at extremely low prices. The idea that there’s food shortage is nonsense. It’s politics. Name any developing country an tell me how climatology is killing it’s citizens and not their politicians/gangsters, be they local, national or regional.


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    TrueNews

    @John Brookes: #74

    We devote plenty of effort and resources to producing luxuries for rich countries (including bio-fuels), and not enough to producing staples for the poor.
    … What I do find contemptible is ignoring this…

    BTW, what is this Plan B you keep asking about memoryvault?

    I don’t want to speak for memoryvault, (he is far more capable than I to speak on this subject) but because of our sometimes heated discussions in a previous thread, I did a lot of research into the points he made.

    .
    MY Plan B
    GOLDEN RICE – John Brookes.
    Why do we have pictures of ‘Greenie Environmentalists’ ripping up the very crop that could save the lives of millions in non developed countries.

    You bloody hypocrite, do your research and wash the blood of the hands of your masters.


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    Richard S Courtney

    Waffle:

    I am willing to clarify and to provide exlanation of my paper but I have withdrawn from commenting here.

    So, in response to your points at #75 I ask you to read the paper and then to say why you dispute any points in it. For example, you say;

    If they choose not to import pond algae from desert rimmed countries, or seaweed from coast hugging ones. The fundamental problem of energy is storage, and hydrocarbons are attractive because that has been solved. Unless the sun stops shining, plants will always be growing.

    My paper explains why that is not happening and is unlikely to happen.
    (a) It is cheaper and easier to cut down rainforest and to sell that so people do.
    (b) Farmers grow the crop that provides best return. At present, and foreseeably, the biofuel crops providing best return are palm oil and sugar cane.

    If you care to dispute the data in the paper then please do: all scientists welcome challenge of their work. But this is my final contribution in response to comments on my paper which demonstrate the commentator has not read the paper.

    Richard


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    Mark D.

    Re: item (b) above,

    Farmers grow the crop that provides best return. At present, and foreseeably, the biofuel crops providing best return are palm oil and sugar cane.

    Adding that neither Palms or sugar cane grow well in 40 (guessing) out of 50 states (USA) or anywhere in Canada.

    Besides that Waffle, the type of corn grown for animal feed and ethanol is not for human consumption. Therefore, if the “best return” Richard speaks of, takes land out of human food production it HAS to drive the cost up for human food. When that new higher cost makes farming for human food “best” then that will be the new equilibrium price.

    If Farming for ANY biofuel competes for the “best return” then it effects supply (by competing for acreage) of human food. Economics 101


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    Damian Allen

    Now this Bill Gates character wants to kill off human beings !!!!!!!!

    Bill Gates: We can lower the world’s population with vaccines…

    http://vanshardware.com/2010/02/bill-gates-we-can-lower-the-worlds-population-with-vaccines/


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    Graeme Bird

    “Will… not as much as it would suffer if it is real and we do nothing about it:)”

    The voice of purist stupidity. If CO2 fertilises the ground AND reduces heat differentials, then its the best dumb luck we ever had, coming just in the nick of time, and its what we need to have to heal the planet.


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    Graeme Bird

    “@Graeme Bird: The US, or any other countries for that matter, are not responsible for feeding the world’s poor.”

    Collectivist fascist and genocidal. There is no “THE US” when it comes down to it. There is no collective entity that wants to murder all these people. There are only belly-crawling, brutalitarian, genocidal misfits, like yourselfi, that want to murder all these people.

    “Too many black people in the world” is clearly your view of the situation. So you pawn it off to some being you are calling the US, who appears to have wants and needs separate from those of the individuals of that area, in your weird view of things.

    Your type nailed all these black kids with the DDT control. This mentality killed 40 million of these kids minimium. To the genocidally minded thats a fantastic success. Because the kids did not grow up and did not have more kids. And the ones who did grow up had less success breeding.


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    Graeme Bird

    ” We devote plenty of effort and resources to producing luxuries for rich countries (including bio-fuels), and not enough to producing staples for the poor.”

    Monetary reform, budget surpluses, and the repeal of taxes on retained earnings, would see less money devoted to luxuries and more to economic development.

    But thats not what you are driving at. You are after more subsidies and stealing. Subsidies and stealing caused the problem. Subsidies and stealing is going to fix it.

    No clearly we have to wipe out the subsidies. Subsidies caused the problem. So the subsidies have to go. Along with the deficits. And the bank cash pyramiding. The taxes on savings for even normal folks. Thousands of useless public servant jobs and the departments that harbor and protect them. And so forth.

    On a deeper level its callousness and irrationality in public policy we need to get rid of. Along with all the other arch-nasties already mentioned.


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    Graeme Bird

    “http://vanshardware.com/2010/02/bill-gates-we-can-lower-the-worlds-population-with-vaccines/”

    Its Africans they want less of. There can be very little doubt about it.


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    Graeme Bird

    We all think you are neat Richard and want you to hang out. Mexican standoffs are sort of funny things. I myself will make myself scarce again after a short time, that being a way to avoid the blog being buggered up.


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    Jenness Warin

    Waffle @ #66
    Jenness Warin: I think the tragedy who’ve described are woman becoming commodities, not resources. Resources are a means to produce and to enrich society.

    Waffle: In that regard then women are BOTH commodities and resources. They reproduce wealth; children, who in turn are used in labour and exchange of land; enriching tribal society. The women labour in the subsistence hillside plots and flats, where the number of and the meat of pigs is worth more in exchange than they are. Communal land and polygany are a resource for men and tyrants of all persuasions and genders. it’s called wealth distribution.

    It was US economists in the 1950s who coined ‘human capital’ after they were unable to figure out how the economy and the status of negroes improved so rapidly. Human capital, I suspect, can not be so easily applied to tribal societies or societies that are encouraged to remain tribal.
    What is the % of tyrants who have been educated and return to perpetuate tribalism? And thin air stock x-change systems.

    Graeme Bird @82
    On a deeper level its callousness and irrationality in public policy we need to get rid of.
    Perhaps like CAGW it is the lack of transparency, the lack of rigorous evaluation/audit and the sloppy data methods and reporting. Aided and abetted by the protection by the public service unions and herd mentality safety.
    Given that local govt is exempt from ?Pt IV of the Trade Practice Act, that FOI is so so difficult and whistleblowers are seen as miscreants is it any wonder the public service has become a vast three tiered monopoly? Rather than a service to the public.

    Bob Day had something to say of the two tier economic system developing in Australia: Beware the Bloated Public Sector
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/beware-the-bloated-public-sector/story-fn558imw-1226074496076
    AusAid may well have the same problem in the nations where Oz funds are posted.


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    Jenness Warin

    Damian Allen @#79
    I don’t know where you source your data and stories from but I’d suggest you check your facts out. And the websites you land in.

    It is quite obvious that improvements in status for women leads generally to a decrease in number of births (live and dead offspring).

    Vaccination reduces tetanus in child-birth (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetanus), education leads to employment (and often escape), voting leads to a say for that 50% of a nation’ voting population, and less children (being pregnant) generally leads to a reduction in maternal mortality (death) and morbidity (disease). And rule of law generally leads to perpetrators of violence (murder, rape, assault) to be removed from the environment they practice within.

    While you wont find these cold, hard facts in Africa, Asia and Latin America so much, take a stroll through UK, US and Oz in the cemetaries or the obituaries of the historical newspapers. Likely you will see large numbers of children and women that for some reason all died in the same year/months last century or before.

    Here is the most factual website on vaccination ansd immunisation you will find in Oz
    http://www.ncirs.edu.au/about/collaborators.php


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    Geoff Sherrington

    19zorba: June 14th, 2011 at 11:07 am : “Biofuels are carbon neutral. Have a think about it”

    I had a think about it. You are dreadfully wrong.

    If you harvest a crop, you harvest not only the carbon taken from the air; you take phosphorus and potassium and a score of minor and trace elements. If you continue to harvest crop after crop on the same land, you will deplete the nutrients, so you will have to add fertilizer. Some fertilizers like phosphate and potash come from (dreadful) mines. It takes energy to mine or make fetilizers and it takes energy to transport them. So, agriculture is neither sustainable(too much harvesting and you go to desert) nor carbon neutral. How do you truck vast tonnes of potash to farms in a carbon neutral way?

    Cobblers, old son.


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    Jenness Warin

    You waste the resource and investment in real people, just like Nauru did.

    http://www.cis.org.au/images/stories/issue-analysis/ia50.pdf

    source: http://www.cis.org.au/


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    Mark D.

    Geoff @ 87 here is more:

    the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than what the end product provides your car engine in terms of power.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329132436.htm

    Zorba is a fool. Diverting farm production for ethanol is foolish.


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    TrueNews

    @Graeme Bird: #83

    “Its Africans they want less of. There can be very little doubt about it.”

    But it is Africa itself that they want more of.
    They need the wealth, and a new market for when China and India run dry.
    .

    I noticed on the UNFCCC site the other day, that Billy Gates and his philanthropic mates, had managed to scrounge around and come up with a $40 Billion donation to the UN for another vaccination program.

    Guess Where + Guess which sex.
    .


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    memoryvault

    TrueNews @ 90

    Careful mate, soon you’ll be posting stuff I have to give you a “thumbs up” for.

    Funny how this latest campaign is against pneumonia and diarrhea.

    Pneumonia is, admittedly, a specific agent. But these days we are ALL born with it in our lungs. People succumb to it when they are already sick and debilitated from “something else”. Hard to imagine how one vaccinates against that. Except maybe to ensure that one dies of the original ailment, and not pneumonia. Does that boost the “pro-vaccination” statistics?

    Even more to the point, diarrhea is (most times) entirely a “symptom”, as opposed to an “illness”. Basically speaking diarrhea is (most times) what happens when the body has something in its digestive tract that the body decides shouldn’t be there. It is an act of purging.

    Presumably the best a “vaccine” could do is overwhelm the body’s natural defence mechanism and ensure the unwanted substance stays firmly in place. Leading, of course, to even more deaths, but at the same time, a “decrease” in deaths from diarrhea.

    Another “win-win” for vaccines?


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    Jenness Warin

    True Sex @ #90

    That would be the UN Millenium Goal No. X/…X
    Reduce maternal mortality and morbidity?
    http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/E/HRC/resolutions/A_HRC_RES_11_8.pdf

    29/5/2011 UNICEF discloses what it pays for vaccines
    UNICEF is for the first time publicising what drug makers charge it for vaccines, as the world’s biggest buyer of lifesaving immunisations aims to spark price competition in the face of rising costs.
    source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/unicef-discloses-what-it-pays-for-vaccines/story-fn3dxity-1226064902291

    11/6/2011 David Cameron defends international aid rise with vaccine pledge
    source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/jun/11/david-cameron-international-aid-vaccine

    13/6/2011 Vaccines can be MORE affordable
    AUSTRALIAN taxpayers are today pledging about $60 million over the next three years to help pay for vaccines for children in poor countries. This sounds like a positive development. More money equals more vaccines – or does it?
    source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/vaccines-can-be-even-more-affordable/story-e6frg6ux-1226073915505

    Perhaps it depends on the [partcular] health care system that delivers these vaccines [competently] and the recompense they extract for such a public service? Or how this service is enculturated into the tax-funded health system?

    And India
    http://www.vaccineindia.org/

    [Did you really call him "True Sex" ? :) ] ED


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    Jenness Warin

    memoryvault: June 15th, 2011 at 10:21
    Another “win-win” for vaccines?

    No, Another think about education, private property rights, rule of law, voting rights [some disagreeance about this], engineers in town planning and broad employment opportunites coupled with free trade without subsidies. Second amendment never went astray also. http://www.fightthebias.com/Quotes/thomas_jefferson.htm


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    John Brookes

    Jefferson kept slaves.

    [John, this comment is useless. Make a point or don't type] ED


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    John Brookes

    Hey ED, the comment was not useless. Jenness Warin posted a link with many quotes from Jefferson, mostly about the importance of liberty. Pointing out that Mr Jefferson did not believe that everyone deserved liberty is far from pointless.

    [Right John, now you have made a point.] ED


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    Graeme Bird

    “Guess Where + Guess which sex.”

    Just think of the heartbreak to these African girls when they find out that they cannot have children? We’ve also got to be suspect of these vaccines our girls have been getting for cervical cancer. All this time they tell us that cancer is oh so mysterious. No-one can cure it. So we have to cut, burn or poison you …. and get all this massive funding.

    And then suddenly the same people who mystify this pretty straight-forward problem reckon they’ve come up with a vaccine for it.

    This is not a very likely story. Its the eugenics movement coming back out in the green movement.


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    Jenness Warin

    Yes I REALLY did ED.
    [Did you really call him "True Sex" ? ] ED

    Since ED has confirmed that it is a HIM, I’ll remember to address any future quibbles of gender and sex to him.
    [I guessed too. In fact, I WAS going to type Him / Her ] ED

    And to
    Graeme Bird @ #96 got to be suspect of [these vaccines] our girls have been getting for cervical cancer.

    In addition to John Brookes and Jefferson on liberty, the very idea later questioned by HER and BLACKS.

    It is fabulous there are so many caring men.

    Memory Vault confuses anti-diarrhoeal medication: of smooth muscle action, opioids, electrolyte replacement (if clean water is available and sufficient nutrition and sanitation) with live and attentuated vaccines. And the capacity for governments and public servants to provide direct measures in the abscence of rationally tackling town planning and population, education, rule of law, enterprise and employment and private property rights.

    I had understood that [Mr.] Gates was dealing with the last of the polio cases in middle Africa, a terrible disease and one that is long linked to faecal-oral routes. Water supply and planning? In the absence of investment in town planning and engineering[eers] led by non-corrupt polities what else is one to do? Assisting in maintaining a healthier population that one day may have the opportunity to be educated and to freely speak seems very practical.


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    Jenness Warin

    Oops
    I omitted to take the ‘c’ out of abscence.
    Apologies there.


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    memoryvault

    Jenness @ 97

    No confusion.

    The actual article I read and commented on was about Gates, the UK govt, the AUS govt, and others, contributing to a mass vaccination campaign specifically targeted against pneumonia and diarrhea.

    My observation was I found it hard to believe that diarrhea (largely a symptom of poor nutrition, no sanitation and lack of clean water – as you point out), could successfully be vaccinated against.


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    Jenness Warin

    Memory Vault @#99

    All OK,
    Please post the link to the article you read.

    Diarrhoea is often a symptom of pneumonia in many, many cases of 0-5 yr olds presenting in the clinics of developing nations. Often the first symptom, and a good practitioner will act on their discussion with the mother, often saving the life of a child. And that also of the mother or carer, who is oft accused and grossly punished of sorcery (aka death of the child or cohort of such deaths). As is the case, it is the women and girls that bring these children (male and female) to these clinics. It is men and on ocassion women that take children to the village healer/sorcerer.

    That the mother biologically bore and nursed the child and that others, socially [religiously], in such customs, are solely responsible for the child’ welfare and as such responsible [and at guilt] within customary lore, is in direct contrast to women [and men] who are educated, freely speaking, with individual rights.

    Pneumonia and diarrhoea are listed as the two causes (symptoms you state) of 0-5 yr old morbidity and mortality.
    I do not know, for eg in PNG, whether pneumonia is coded/reported prior to HIV infection.


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    Mark D.

    Graeme Bird @ 96

    We’ve also got to be suspect of these vaccines our girls have been getting for cervical cancer. All this time they tell us that cancer is oh so mysterious. No-one can cure it. So we have to cut, burn or poison you …. and get all this massive funding.

    And then suddenly the same people who mystify this pretty straight-forward problem reckon they’ve come up with a vaccine for it.

    Graeme! read up on this. The vaccine is to prevent a virus HPV from causing cancer. The vaccine DOES NOT CURE CANCER.

    HPV types 16 and 18 cause an estimated 70% of cervical cancers,[6][7] and are responsible for most HPV-induced anal,[8] vulvar, vaginal,[9] and penile cancer cases. HPV types 6 and 11 cause an estimated 90% of genital warts cases.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gardasil

    Google HPV, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, Cervical and Oral Cancer. Human Papiloma Viruses (several of the known hundreds) are known to cause cervical cancer and are now found widely in oral cancer tumors. This is a relatively new discovery and males are at significant risk too. The mode(s) of transmission (beyond sexual) are not well understood.

    THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM AND NOT TO BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.


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    Graeme Bird

    “It does not contain mercury, thiomersal or live virus or dead virus, only virus-like particles, which cannot reproduce in the human body.[39]”

    Very interesting. Makes one wonder why they use all that junk in the other vaccines. Yeah it certainly sounds like a good thing.


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    Graeme Bird

    “Yeah it certainly sounds like a good thing.”

    My post was incomplete. What I really meant was:

    “Yeah it certainly sounds like a good thing. And thanks for decisively setting me straight on this matter. Be assured that there will be no backsliding.”


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    Larry Fields

    Larry’s Modest Proposal

    I agree with Indur Goklany that maize-based ethanol subsidies are a bad idea. But rather than causing unreasonable economic disruption, with an abrupt rug-pulling act on the part of Congress, we should consider a modest alternative. How about subsidies for bio-butanol, made from the Poison Oak plant?

    Here’s some health-related background info for botanically deprived Aussies and Pommies. Suppose that the back of your hand brushes up against a few Poison Oak leaves, while you’re hiking. Then a few hours after Poison Oak’s essential oil, urushiol, comes in contact with your skill, there will be a rash, together with intense itching. And there’s scads of the stuff in Northern California’s foothills, where it’s found up to an elevation of around 4000 feet.

    Moving on. There are several reasons for switching to bio-butanol, fermented and distilled from Poison Oak. (Yes, there will be some unavoidable urushiol contamination in the bio-butanol. And we’ll see that that’s not necessarily bad in all respects.) First, poor people will not go hungry if we pick Poison Oak by (gloved) hand, sustainably of course, for bio-butanol.

    Second, we could shift most of the biofuel ‘pork’ from the corn-belt states to the Pacific Coast States. California’s economy is really hurting at the moment.

    Third, scofflaw motorists, who surreptitiously remove the catalytic converters from their cars in order to improve performance, will get some well-deserved environmental karma, or ‘street justice’, when they breath in a little vaporized urushiol from their tailpipes.

    Unfortunately there will be some externalities for their passengers and for fellow-drivers, as well. Oh well, there’s always a fly in the ointment, isn’t there?

    Fourth, people will feel safer hiking in the glorious Northern Sierra foothills. But even with greatly reduced Poison Oak, one should always stay in a group on established trails in the foothills. (The high country is a different story.) You don’t want to tempt the large indigenous kitty-cats.

    More to the point, you don’t want to cross paths with armed-and-paranoid Cannabis farmers. That actually happened to a hiking acquaintance of mine. Fortunately the encounter ended peacefully.

    Fifth, bushfires in the foothills will be slightly less hazardous for our hardworking firefighting crews, who won’t have to worry as much about inhaling urushiol vapor.

    What about bootleg bio-butanol from non-subsidized sources? I’m glad that you asked. One solution is to set a standard of identity for bio-butanol made from Poison Oak. The government could mandate a minimum urushiol content, in order to qualify for the subsidy.

    Subsidies for bio-butanol made from Poison Oak satisfy all of the legitimate environmental objectives touted by maize-based bio-ethanol proponents, and more, but without the pesky lethal side-effect. Poison-Oak-ahol sounds like a win-win idea to me. I’ll be curious to see the Greens’ response to my modest proposal.

    And Joanne, upgrade this to a guest-post if you dare!


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    [...] postulates of the future. The victims of the left are here and now. Which brutal ideology fed corn to cars instead of starving Haitian children? Which fantasy-team thinks bat-chopping rotors in Denmark will [...]


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    So boring

    Nova uncritically accepts “estimates” from lobbyists like Goklany and coals Coutney. You’ll be touting GCM outputs at this rate. What a try-on.


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    [...] talking about hopes of environmental campaigners, not about the waste of money; Not about the 200,000 people starved by biofuel policies (and that was just the tally for [...]


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    [...] Indur Goklany calculated the additional mortality burden of biofuels policies and found that nearly 200,000 people died in that year alone because of efforts to use biofuels to reduce CO2 [...]


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    [...] the failure of his theory could kill far more people than the failure of skeptics: hundreds of thousands of people in the third world have already starved as we fed their corn into cars, kids are [...]


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    [...] das Scheitern seiner Theorie könnte viel mehr Menschen töten als das Scheitern der Skeptiker: hunderttausende Menschen in der Dritten Welt verhungern, weil wir ihren Mais in unsere Autos gepumpt haben; Kinder [...]


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