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There goes the biofuels $21 billion dollar industry: Reality bites in EU draft

From Charlie Dunmore, Reuters: E xclusive: EU to limit use of crop-based biofuels – draft law

Another green goodwill project (that just happens to be worth billions) is facing the bad news that the bureaucrats are fingering the axe. A leaked EU proposal to cut public subsidies to biofuels is quite a u-turn. Only three years ago the EU raved about biofuels.

The plans also include a promise to end all public subsidies for crop-based biofuels after the current legislation expires in 2020, effectively ensuring the decline of a European sector now estimated to be worth 17 billion euros ($21.7 billion) a year.

If you are wondering how serious they are, read this:

“The (European) Commission is of the view that in the period after 2020, biofuels should only be subsidized if they lead to substantial greenhouse gas savings… and are not produced from crops used for food and feed,” the draft said.

Well that’s it then isn’t it? If they actually have to reduce emissions that kills it off right there, but just to make sure, they must also not be taken from the mouths of people or animals.

Under the proposals, the use of biofuels made from crops such as rapeseed and wheat would be limited to 5 percent of total energy consumption in the EU transport sector in 2020.

Such a limit will throw into doubt the EU’s binding target to source 10 percent of road transport fuels from renewable sources by the end of the decade, the vast majority of which was expected to come from crop-based biofuels.

Call me a cynic, but I would think the state of the EU basket-case-economy could be forcing some people to do sensible things, though I’m heartened to see that at least they say they doing it because of the science. Someone has noticed that protecting ugly black coal deposits deep underground means sacrificing juicy verdant forests on the surface.

 ”… crop-based biodiesel has a worse carbon footprint than normal diesel. “

The proposals are contained in long-awaited EU plans to address the indirect land use change (ILUC) impact of biofuels, a subject that has split officials, biofuel producers and scientists, delaying legislative proposal for almost two years.

ILUC is a theory that states that by diverting food crops into fuel tanks, biofuel production increases overall global demand for agricultural land. If farmers meet that extra demand by cutting down rainforest and draining peatland, it results in millions of tonnes of additional carbon emissions.

The draft law includes new ILUC emissions values for the three major crop types used to produce biofuels: cereals, sugars and oilseeds. These values must be included when calculating emissions savings from biofuels under an EU fuel quality law designed to encourage fuel suppliers to cut emissions from road transport fuels by 6 percent by 2020.

Or course, I don’t wish any ills upon the poor sods in the Biofuels industry — more victims of big-government fickle rules. (What the government gives, the government taketh and all). I do hope that in the long run, the harsh test of real competition will mean realistic biofuel alternatives get a chance to thrive. This former molecular biology scholar thinks some biofuels have a lot of potential.

Quotes from  Reuters

h/t Mark D

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74 comments to There goes the biofuels $21 billion dollar industry: Reality bites in EU draft

  • #

    This sounds to me like one green arm of the UN overcoming another green arm.

    Though many will be happy about this, the reason given (i.e. biodiesels have a bigger carbon footprint) is still a worry.
    The corrupt fraudsters at the UN will never give up the CO2 is bad meme. It’s worth too much money and power.


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      Mark D.

      Ahh, the matter of CO2 maybe, but IF they cut subsidies for biofuels it will at least force the economic realities to prevail. After that people will realize the joke that we have any “alternate energy” choices. One by one every lie has to be revealed and the notion that biofuel is some kind of sustainable alternative is flawed.

      We’ll have to be ever vigilant because the UN could actually turn this into something worse i.e. with a “we can’t solve global warming with biofuels so the problem is worse and we have to repent even sooner” meme.

      That for another day.

      P.S. Thanks for the H/T Jo, I’ve been hanging around here for three + years now so it’s about time I did something useful. :)


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      • #
        grumpy

        Whenever I hear the term “alternative energy” I channel Delingpole and think “alternative to energy”.


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        • #
          Owen Morgan

          “Alternative energy”: I think that the correct term for that is “lethargy”: something which Anglophone governments seem very capable of generating via their education policies. Not quite sure what they require energy, or environmental policies for, though.


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      • #
        Brian H

        Interestingly, this can all be looked at as operations of the Invisible Hand. It forces goods and services to be priced correctly. Despite all.

        And when it starts to squeeze in earnest, eyeballs pop and blood spurts.


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    • #
      Speedy

      Humbug

      Yeah, but why do the greenies have to spend billions and billions of other people’s money before they realise that their grand scheme is actually counterproductive?

      Seems to be a habit of theirs.

      Cheers,

      Speedy


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  • #

    Will help restrain food price increases a bit. The last few years have seen phenomenal rises in meat. Steak is now between A$13 to A$40+ a kilo, up around 50% in five years. The monetary cost of biofuels go far beyond the subsidies.


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    • #
      Rereke Whakaaro

      The last few years have seen phenomenal rises in meat.

      And there are reports of Black Markets being formed, based on bartering. The Bureaucrats are just go to love the tax implications of that.


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      • #
        Ian Mott

        Reports, Rereke? Do you mean you don’t source your meat from home kills down by the “tree of truth”?

        Bureaucrat-free food of all kinds tastes Soooooo much better.


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    fretslider

    I don’t suppose you people down under know how people in the EU feel about the EU. I’m not sure it’s printable. Suffice it to say, it’s a club for the disgraced and the washed-up (commissioners) which frequently overrules an impotent monocameral parliament.

    Imagine the governors of the American states getting together and deciding what they would or would not do irrespective of what their electorates thought, that’s a close approximation.


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    • #
      Graeme No.3

      Strangely, we have a very good idea. Our federal government survives by one green vote. The approval rating has risen recently to 33%.

      The latest little scheme is that a pastoral company bought a large cattle station for $13 million, of which $9 million came from the government. They are going to remove the cattle and “return” the land to its “native state”. In return they will be able to sell around $23 million of carbon credits.

      Let’s see $4 million outlay (less cost of cattle sold) for $23 million return in 4 years. I wish my investments made that sort of return. Of course there is the risk that the incoming government next year will abolish carbon credits, so they will be left with a cattle station that cost them 30% of its normal price.


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  • #
    Andrew McRae

    The rate determining step in photosynthesis is less than 1% efficient. Even solar panels are 15 times better and they can be put in deserts. A doped form of graphene has recently been invented that works as a cheap solar cell at about 3% efficiency, which although very low is still many times better than plants.
    Using crops to harvest transport energy was one of the stupidest green-washed redistributive market-distorting ideas ever.


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  • #

    French farmers will hate this.


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    Graeme No.3

    Andrew McRae says:
    The rate determining step in photosynthesis is less than 1% efficient.

    I think you should check this figure, especially for C4 plants. But I agree that the whole idea was stupid. The biggest scheme, alcohol from corn in the USA, was known as requiring more energy to produce than it delivered, but went ahead anyway as a ‘subsidy’ for farmers.

    As for the effect on tropical rain forests, my views are unprintable like fretslider’s above.


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    • #

      Yes and that was the USA with fertile soils and a market close to where the ethanol was to be used. Imagine how much worse it is in Australia.

      I once met a local State MP in a shopping center where he had a booth. Looking at some of the literature he was promoting ethanol in fuel. I questioned this and told him it was energy negative and you’d be better off just burning the diesel. He said they were just trying to kick start a new industry. I re-iterated that it was energy negative and hence futile and nothing was going to come along to change this. The tape reset back to the beginning and he said they were just trying to kick start a new industry. Not the least comprehension of the problem. I don’t think he had the faintest idea about “energy”. Political candidates really need to pass some exams in basic physics,chemistry and mathematics as well as history and political theory. I’d add economics but macroeconomics seems to still believe in Keynesian voodoo.


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    • #
      Andrew McRae

      Graeme No.3, yep, you caught me. I’ll admit to not checking the number. I recalled it from a conference speaker who described a photon interaction with a part of chlorophyll, so I just assumed what he was saying was true.
      Turns out… it is and it isn’t. There is no single number that represents “the energy efficiency” of the light==>biomass process because it is different across a range of species.
      I specifically said the “rate determining step” was <1% efficient but this quickly led to discovering disagreement amongst scientists about what the rate determining step actually is. Would have thought that was "settled science" by now… oh wait.. ;)

      A couple of quotes I've found…

      Professor Govindjee lectures:

      under most ideal conditions, the overall [Photosynthesis] energy efficiency can reach 35%. Due to losses at all steps in biochemistry, one has been able to get only about 1 to 2% energy efficiency in most crop plants. Sugarcane is an exception as it can have almost 8% efficiency. However, many plants in Nature often have only 0.1 % energy efficiency.

      The FAO signs off on a more generous conclusion:

      the theoretical maximum efficiency of solar energy conversion is approximately 11%. In practice, however, the magnitude of photosynthetic efficiency observed in the field, is further decreased by factors such as ..[blah blah]…The net result being an overall photosynthetic efficiency of between 3 and 6% of total solar radiation.

      Huang in arXiv:1009.0310 [physics.chem-ph] implies the photosynthesis is less than 1.5% efficient:

      combined with solar photovoltaic or solar hydrogen technology, the total efficiency of artificial photosynthesis can reach 30%, several ten times more than natural photosynthesis.

      Blankenship, Tiede, Barber, et al, “Comparing Photosynthetic and Photovoltaic Efficiencies and Recognizing the Potential for Improvement” does not give an actual efficiency number in the abstract but no doubt the full text is a landmark paper:

      Photovoltaic-driven electrolysis is the more efficient process when measured on an annual basis, yet short-term yields for photosynthetic conversion under optimal conditions come within a factor of 2 or 3 of the photovoltaic benchmark.

      But this is the best part. I thought scientists were a mild bunch but Hadi Farazdaghi’s claws really come out here.
      The single-process biochemical reaction of Rubisco:

      In their description of limiting factors, Collatz et al. (1990) stated that: “the actual rate, of course cannot exceed that of the limiting step”. This statement demonstrate that the authors’ understanding of the definition of limitation is sufficient to understand that their Rubisco-limited theory is incorrect. Based on this understanding, the “actual rate” of photosynthesis at low CO2 cannot exceed “that of the limiting step”, that is Rubisco. Thus, various interpretations such as Rubisco-limited = RuBP-saturated (Ruuska et al., 1988; von Caemmerer et al., 2009), or Rubisco-limited is rather limitation of CO2 (Sharkey et al., 2007) is not the right scientific approach in dealing with the problem.

      Furthermore, when a factor limits a reaction, the rate of reaction will not increase except by increasing the supply of that limiting factor ( [Blackman, 1905], [Michaelis and Menten, 1913] and [Sharkey, 1989]). Since photosynthesis increases with CO2 from low CO2 to CO2 saturation, the limiting factor for photosynthesis in that CO2 range is only CO2 and not Rubisco. Thus, the Rubisco-limited theory is clearly incorrect.

      That means if you want to increase the photosynthetic efficiency of biofuel crops, the only non-genetic change you can make which will achieve this is… to add CO2 to the air.
      Hahahahaaaa! :D

      So the rate determining step in crops and corn can’t be less than 1% efficient if overall biomass efficiency is greater than 1%, but that isn’t enough to change the comparison with photovoltaic panels. The “<1%” figure applies to the majority of plants on earth, just not the ones pertinent to biofuel.


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  • #
    Paddytoplad

    Acres and acres of useless seas out there. Lets get seaweed farms going or plankton (Phyto). Harness the suns rays in a carbon neutral way and produce liquid fuels we can use in our cars to annoy the hippies. Once we’ve cracked the food friendly biodiesel thing the hippies wont have a leg to stand on.


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  • #
    P Gosselin

    And here goes the solar boom in Germany too. They’re running out of green alternatives fast! http://www.co2-handel.de/article184_18941.html


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    • #
      Bruce of Newcastle

      And in China. The top ten solar companies there are pretty much bankrupt according to Chinese media.

      Wind next, especially when people digest that it costs triple while not actually saving much if any CO2.

      Climateers seem never to pragmaically ask ‘does this actually work as advertised?’. I think they never like being wrong, since if they could stomach this terrible concept they’d all become uranium fans.


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  • #
    pattoh

    Perhaps they are being realistic about the projections for the solar cycle projections & the connotations for food production.

    However an outbreak of common sense would have to be well disguised to be palatable.


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  • #

    Well, when the stack of bodies in the developing world got too high because of biofuels, they had to do something.

    Pointman

    ps. Voting irregularities detected in the climate prat of the year award. Gillard involved, of course.

    http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/announcing-the-inaugural-climate-prat-of-the-year-award/


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  • #
    Mike W

    The latest little scheme is that a pastoral company bought a large cattle station for $13 million, of which $9 million came from the government. They are going to remove the cattle and “return” the land to its “native state”. In return they will be able to sell around $23 million of carbon credits.

    Graham..which cattle station was this.?


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  • #
    AndyG55

    Now maybe America will get rid of its biofuel target and subsidies..

    Not likely while the EPA and Obama are in charge of the US.

    EPA needs de-powering, and Jackson dismissed. I hope that happens after the election.


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  • #
    fretslider

    I can’t see the US ditching its food into fuel programme.

    In the EU we have some real problems, not least the UKs Climate Change Committee. Old habits really do die hard, and the latest member, one Lord Deben, is a real throwback. Bishop Hill has some good articles on the, er, conflict of interest the noble Lord intends to exploit. Josh also has an excellent cartoon on it.

    It really doesn’t matter how busted a flush AGW is, the turkeys will not be voting for christmas. Your own Lewandowsky shows that good science is not required, making the dung stick is what really counts.


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    • #
      Mark D.

      Well I can see ditching the US Ethanol from corn as a fuel programme. It might mean a huge problem in the world vodka market however. The subsidies have caused the building of facilities for lots of production. Now that they are built, if they can’t compete in the motor fuel market perhaps they can compete in the party-time market.

      Me I like gin so if they can turn corn into GOOD gin I’d pay $15 per gallon……


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      • #
        Andrew McRae

        A lot of factors affect food prices. Aside from bio-ethanol, part of the food price problem is that USA rules that restricted speculative investments in the food commodities market to only farmers and distributors in the business were later removed and so opened up agriculture futures investment to the major finance players. There’s the bankster link. The size of the USA wheat export market meant this could also affect world prices.

        The heirloom seed stock of many countries is being displaced by Monsanto-driven neutered seeds that have to be repurchased every year.
        The USA Food stamps programme (run by J.P.Morgan, another bankster) plus increasing Chinese ownership of USA farms also influence prices.

        A buyer in a longterm food supply company gives his opinion:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mhiS9fvNLM

        Even cow carbon footprint taxation gets a mention.

        It is even suggested that if this trend continues in reducing the freedom of the market in food, food can then be used as a tool of control, because it can be withheld from dissenting countries.


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  • #
    Capn Jack Walker

    Aaargh, I could have told them about this. Tigers are still on the verge of extinctification because of wallowing around with bio fuels, me mateys.

    Yar no one puts the ol’tiggers in their tanks anymore. Putting food in yer tank, it doesn’t even sound like a good idea, some fools bin drinkin’ the bilge water agin, because it’s green.

    The noughties was all about the ol’ boom and bust global nigeerian scandals and the teenies will be about parsimony, and balanced cheque books.

    Fact checking is the new black.


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    • #
      Ian Hill

      The noughties was all about the ol’ boom and bust global nigeerian scandals and the teenies will be about parsimony, and balanced cheque books.

      “teenies” – I had wondered how to describe the current decade. Thanks Capn Jack!


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  • #
    Willy

    @ Mike W, excuse me Graham; it is the RMWilliams purchase of the Henbury cattle station south of Alice.


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  • #
    amcoz

    Maybe the Mexicans can see some hope: Tortillas may now become affordable again once those north of the border lose the subs for turning corn into expensive and environmentally wasteful (from water and energy) biofuel.


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  • #
    Athelstan.

    Edible crops used to produce Biofuels, killer of poor people, biofuels subsidies to EU farmers growing food crops for conversion to ‘fuel’, is an unconscionable and wicked act.

    The EU, is a totalitarian regime run by mental pygmies who are dangerous men/women. Skewing the markets, subsidised crops for fuel, the CAP [common agricultural policy] and high tariffs prevents African farmers from selling their commodities to the ‘north’, then the EU sends them our excess food stuffs to prevent them starving – only a madman would devise such an evil wasteful policy = the EU in synopsis.


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    • #
      Ian Mott

      Food has always been used as fuel for transport. Walking ten kilometres has always required 3 bananas, 4 if you are sedentry. We travel further and walk less and now it is a problem? Cheats use Mars Bars.


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  • #
    Athelstan.

    Oh btw, good comment Jo Nova.


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  • #

    [...] There goes the biofuels $21 billion dollar industry: Reality bites in EU draft [...]


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  • #
    Geoff Sherrington

    Most of the readers & writers here, being bright little vegemites, could probably write constructive essays on the free market system and structure, how well it works, past exemplary successes, the effects of over-regulation, market failure, the hazards of uninvolved, uninformed cherry picking of winners that become losers, the PROFIT incentive and its powerful forces.
    Very many of the failures we are now witnessing have happened because they have been on the fringes of free enterprise our out of the loop entirely.
    It takes only a few strokes of the pen to create rules that put appropriate activities back to where they are done best. That is my personal dominant reason for avoiding leftist policies, because they operate in the wrong direction.
    Time to push the theme that governments are elected to carry out fuctions that the majority of people ask them to do.
    There is no place any more for governments that disregard the people, pocket the profits and redistribute the losses to taxpayers and beyond.
    In my 50+ years of maturity, looking at political performance, I have never seen it so bad – by a long shot. Globally, not just in Australia. That time period is about a quarter of Australia’s written history.


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    pat

    10 Sept: Guardian: Fiona Harvey: Global carbon trading system has ‘essentially collapsed’
    The UN clean development mechanism, designed to give poor countries access to green technologies, is in dire need of rescue
    A panel convened by the UN reported on Monday at a meeting in Bangkok that the system, known as the clean development mechanism (CDM), was in dire need of rescue. The panel warned that allowing the CDM to collapse would make it harder in future to raise finance to help developing countries cut carbon.
    Joan MacNaughton, a former top UK civil servant and vice chair of the high level panel, told the Guardian: “The carbon market is profoundly weak, and the CDM has essentially collapsed. It’s extremely worrying that governments are not taking this seriously.”
    The panel said that governments needed to reassure investors, who have poured tens of billions into the market, by pledging a continuation of the system, and propping up the market by toughening their targets on cutting emissions, and perhaps buying carbon credits themselves…
    To make matters worse, the current phase of the Kyoto protocol ends this year, and of the world’s major economies only the EU has pledged to continue it.
    All of this has combined to bring about a collapse in the price of UN credits, from highs topping $20 (£12.50) before the financial crisis to less than $3 each today. At such rates, many potential projects are not commercially viable. Financiers and project developers have abandoned the market in droves…
    But the CDM still has its optimists. Flora Yu, of the carbon specialist IdeaCarbon, said the market was likely to continue, as some countries – including Australia, China and South Korea – have been developing their own cap-and-trade carbon markets, which they will want to link to a global system. “There is still a potential opportunity for the CDM, to further develop the amount of money and resources that have already been invested in it. We think it is not going to go away.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/sep/10/global-carbon-trading-system

    IdeaCarbon: Advisory Board
    Lord Nicholas Stern
    Advisor to IDEAglobal Group, parent company of IDEAcarbon
    Ms Christiana Figueres
    Ms Figueres joined IDEAcarbon as Vice Chairman of the Carbon Ratings Agency’s (CRA) Ratings Committe in February 2009. Since July 2010, Ms Christiana Figueres has served as the new Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and as such had to relinquish her role with the CRA…
    Mr Neil Eckert
    Mr Eckhert joined the IDEAcarbon Advisory Board in June 2011. Mr Neil Eckert was Chief Executive of Climate Exchange Plc, an AIM listed company, which owned the European Climate Exchange (ECX) and the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) until sale to ICE in July 2010. Mr Eckhert is Chairman of Trading Emissions plc, an AIM listed company, which is one of the world’s leading funds investing in emission reduction permits…
    Professor Dr. Schlesinger
    Professor Dr. Schlesinger was formerly the President of the Deutsche Bundesbank and was Chairman of the Central Bank Council from 1991 to 1993…
    http://www.ideacarbon.com/about-us/advisory-board/index.htm


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  • #
    pat

    been waking up to watch tennis at odd hours, so my internal clock is not yet back to normal. consequently, i had the misfortune to turn on ABC Brisbane as this fanatical guest was interviewed and then allowed to answer callers for what seemed liked forever (or until i dozed off) it was all australia is a beacon to the world, the saviour of the world with its carbon tax etc etc:

    ABC Local: Overnights
    Wednesday 12th September with Trevor Chappell
    How can we protect the Oceans and the Maritime environment? Trevor discusses with conservation biologist Dr Reese Halter.
    http://www.abc.net.au/overnights/

    13 Feb: ABC: Robyn Williams: Ockham’s Razor
    Dr Reese Halter
    Broadcaster, writer, and conservation biologist at California Lutheran University
    Dr Reese Halter spent several years studying at the University of Melbourne. He now resides in Los Angeles but has grave concerns about the fate of our world.
    In 2012 it is expected world population will exceed 7 billion people and how we source energy, feed ourselves, contend with global warming and protect the wild ecosystems will ultimately define the longevity of our species on Earth…
    COMMENT BELOW by DBO: If the aim of this podcast was to irritate anyone who values a balanced, thoughtful and scientifically accurate presentation that informs without polemic or outrageous exaggeration, then congratulations on this fabulous achievement. I listened for nearly 8 minutes until I could stand it no more, and deleted it. Please, I know the ABC can do much better than this and, unlike this irritating nonsense, many of the previous podcasts have been excellent. Lets keep the standard where it should be…
    FROM THE TRANSCRIPT: Robyn Williams: And now for something … completely different. Dr Reese Halter is a star in America. He lives in Los Angeles. Our producer, Joel Werner, has described Dr Halter as a cross between Keanu Reeves and Steve Irwin. Times Ten…
    (WILLIAMS’ CLOSING REMARKS) Robyn Williams: Dr Reese Halter in Los Angeles. You’ll be fascinated by his picture online. He did his PhD in the Victorian Alps
    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/ockhamsrazor/earth-calling—sos/3009572

    Press Info: Earth Dr Reese Halter
    Scroll Down to See Over 360 Press Clips
    http://drreese.com/info/press_room


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    Steve R W.

    Always go back in time and consider what’s happening today.

    It helps to bring a greater understanding of such foolishness.

    The world is perhaps waking up? I can only hope Bob Katter will get a tap on the shoulder soon.

    Biofuels: A Losing Proposition – Executive Intelligence Review
    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2006/3328biofuel_lose.html

    Biofuels Are Famine Policy;
    Food Shortages Are Hitting

    by Marcia Merry Baker

    “As of the end of Spring 2007 planting in the northern latitudes, the disastrous impact of the global bio-energy craze can be seen in the huge expansion of U.S. corn acreage, the plunge of world grain stocks, and price shocks all along the food chain internationally. Transportation systems, water supply, and other infrastructure are strained to the breaking point. Soil fertility itself is at stake. At the same time, speculation in grain futures—”paper bushels”—on the Chicago Board of Trade, is setting records. Furthermore, farmers are being herded into participating in “carbon trading” and other whacko money-schemes.

    This is all part of the “Great Biofuels Bubble” which is a financial swindle; and it is causing vast harm. All the rhetoric about energy independence, aiding the environment, or “reviving” dying farm regions, is just a come-on. In reality, the conditions are laid for famine.

    Three aspects of the biofuels craze show the dynamics of the threat to the food supply: 1) the extent of displacement of land and farm capacity from food into non-food production; 2) the context of low world stocks of grains and other staples; and 3) the present-day marginalization of farm regions, resulting from both decades of globalization, and today’s “anti-global warming” swindles. Summary particulars are given below; they are stark.

    However, so far, the U.S. Congress, and institutions of other leading food producing nations are casting a blind eye to food supply threats, in deference to the financial and agro-cartels involved in the stampede for bio-energy. It therefore appears as ironic that even Cargill and the other cartel firms that dominate food globalization and energy crop processing, are themselves issuing warnings of food shortages. They ought to know.

    The May 29 London Financial Times gave a round-up of such cartel warnings, from Tysons, Cargill, and others. Gregory Page, the new CEO of Cargill, said that “The big risk is that we are sowing the seeds of unintended consequences,” referring to “distortions” in the allocation of land for energy-related production, and the potential for poor harvests from “weather-related crop problems.” Cargill and ADM (Archer Daniels Midland) are the world’s largest biofuels makers, as well as grain and oilseed processors. ADM’s CEO Patricia Woertz, formerly a top Chevron officer, warned in May of inflation ahead in food and gasoline prices.

    Among the most prominent shocks to the food system to date is the corn-for-tortillas crisis in Mexico, where as of December 2006, prices had spiked 60%! (ADM owns a major stake in Gruma, Mexico’s largest tortilla manufacturer, so ADM scores in both biofuels and food hyperinflation). In the United States and elsewhere, prices are soaring for livestock feed—cattle, chickens, and pigs.

    World food relief agencies are trying to deal with the problem of skyrocketing prices for supplies. Nevertheless, at the present rate of U.S. ethanol expansion, half of the U.S. corn crop could be siphoned off into ethanol during 2008!”

    http://www.larouchepub.com/other/2007/3423biofuels_shortages.html


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    Chris Schoneveld

    “Someone has noticed that protecting ugly black coal deposits deep underground means sacrificing juicy verdant forests on the surface.”
    This is a statement that is certainly applicable to tropical rainforests, but in Europe they would never cut down forests for agricultural use. That was a practice in the far past. Now woods are being reinstated.


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      AndyG55

      I wonder how many wonderful old oak trees were cut down building the old wooden ships.

      There must be a serious amount of re-forestation need in the UK.. but they keep cutting down tree to plant wind turbines.. DOH !!!!!


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    Bloke down the pub

    Typcal EU. They’ll cut subsidy for crop based bio fuel because it might hurt the pocket of folks in Europe, but that’ll lead to more planting of jatropha etc in third world. When that leads to more hunger there, the EU will throw a few bones their way to salve their conscience.


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    Dave

    .
    Had a look at the National Pollutant Inventory (NPI) to find CO2 or Carbon as pollution – nothing there except:

    Ethanol and Carbon Monoxide? NO CO2 or Carbon???

    So food crops are grown for Ethanol etc and yet it is listed as a pollutant! And we all buy it!

    CO2 is not there – so the Government just Taxes it at $23.00 per tonne.

    If I grow no crops at all I can sell my CO2 credits for $23.00 per tonne!

    So the less I do – the more money I make.
    The more money I make the less food there is for others.
    The more money I make the more CO2 is reduced and we have less warming, or was that less hotter wet periods, or colder dry periods or What Ever they said!

    And then what to do with the cattle, no problems – sell them (make a profit) and also clean up with a $42 per head destocking Methane reduction payment per year! (Methane’s on the NPI list – but they don’t know that!)

    WOW – this is the go! Getting richer by the day – property state now is no crops, no animals, and huge payments coming in! It’s getting cooler already (or is that shorter cold dry periods — I forget)!
    Got to go and apply for a Do Nothing Green Grant (DNGG) from Mr. Burke who says “I’m not doing anything doing everything for the Green Advancement” as I’m buying the propertys next door – what next maybe the whole of Australia! Looking Good! :)
    Bye.


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    Charles Higley

    Only if the cost of making a biofuel—the honest total cost, not just the upfront energy and resources needed—are less then the extraction and refining of hydrocarbon (HC) fuels will it be useful.

    If we were running out of HCs, it would be a different picture but, with the current presence of enormous amounts of HCs worldwide, biofuels amount to croney capitalism. They built a $2 billion alcohol plant in Ohio in the last few years. It’s going to take a lot for them to admit that it should be sold for scrap.

    The US has mandated that much of the alcohol added to gasoline come from nonfood sources but the technology and structures are simply nonexistent. The result is that the gasoline producers are fined each month for not adding to the gasoline alcohol which simply does not exist!!! Now that’s soooo realistic of them. Look, a new revenue stream—fine them for something that they have no ability to do!!!


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    pat

    this is entirely mad, yet it gets published in Bloomberg!

    11 Sept:Bloomberg: Katherine Bagley: Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment in U.S.
    InsideClimateNews.org — The harassment faced by U.S.-based climate scientists has been well documented in the media—but not the harassment of scientists in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world.
    That’s because there hasn’t been much to report…
    InsideClimate News contacted scientists working on climate change in Europe, Canada and Japan and learned that virtually everyone believes that the harassment is specific to the United States. They said that it could have long-term consequences for public understanding of global warming.
    “The harassment has an intimidating effect—especially on young scientists,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, head of earth system analysis at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Rahmstorf said that watching colleagues be harassed often deters them from speaking to media or the public about their research, which skews the debate…
    Why Harassment Here and Not There?…
    There are two main types of harassment in the United States—by individual skeptics, or by campaigns led by conservative groups, often bankrolled by fossil fuel industries, that seek to sow confusion on the climate issue and undermine support for carbon regulations…
    The European Union, home to the world’s largest carbon market…ETC ETC ETC
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-10/climate-scientists-face-organized-harassment-in-u-s-.html


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    pat

    more desperate begging, read all:

    12 Sept: Bloomberg: Alex Morales: Bayer, Nestle Lead Carbon-Cutting Effort as Climate Risk Grows
    Bayer AG and Nestle SA are leading efforts to measure and cut emissions as companies increasingly view extreme weather events caused by climate change as a threat to their business, the Carbon Disclosure Project said.
    About 37 percent of respondents in a survey of the 500 biggest companies reported an immediate danger to their operations from disruptions ranging from floods that shut factories in Thailand to drought that’s decimated crops in the U.S., the London-based non-profit said today in a report. That’s up from 30 percent last year and 10 percent in 2010…
    Watch Live:CDP’s Global Climate Change Forum at 9 a.m. New York time on Sept. 12…
    “What’s needed is government action — taxation and regulation of greenhouse gases,” said (Carbon Disclosure Project Executive Chairman Paul)Dickinson. “CO2 is a valueless pollutant, so it’s not really possible to address without government action.” …
    Greenhouse pollutants are already traded in the European Union…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-11/bayer-nestle-lead-carbon-cutting-effort-as-climate-risk-grows.html


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    Steve Thatcher

    fretslider says
    September 12, 2012 at 3:18 am · Reply

    I don’t suppose you people down under know how people in the EU feel about the EU. I’m not sure it’s printable. Suffice it to say, it’s a club for the disgraced and the washed-up (commissioners) which frequently overrules an impotent monocameral parliament.

    Imagine the governors of the American states getting together and deciding what they would or would not do irrespective of what their electorates thought, that’s a close approximation.

    **********************************

    Although I agree with your sentiments, I have to disagree with your close approximation. American state governors are elected and can be voted out. Not so with the European Commissioners who are placed in their jobs by political appointment and can not be voted out.
    Not by members of the public anyway.

    Steve T


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      Michael

      In America they also have the provision for recall elections. If any Governor attempted to do what the E.U Commmissioners are doing, I’d imagine they’d be ejected in short order by such an election.


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    handjive

    Noticing Ms. Jo’s headline and the words,”Reality bites in EU draft”, here is another reality:

    Meanwhile, the global carbon market is on the brink of collapse because of a lack of investor confidence and may not survive unless big polluting countries such as the US and China committed to cutting carbon.

    The stark assessment by an expert UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has implications for the Gillard government’s plans to link Australia’s carbon price to the European carbon market in 2015.

    Tax forces councils to break law – caught in the trap on carbon


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    observa

    This is all old news to intelligent rational people.


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    Excerpted from wattsup

    In 1998 I briefly took over management of an oil company that also owned an ethanol plant in Wyoming. Despite good local management and huge state and federal subsidies, it only broke even. I know a little about the corn ethanol business. We had great people and they worked really hard, but it was just the wrong business.

    I recently sent something like this to one of our more intelligent Canadian senators:

    I have widely publicized this information for about a decade, so it should not be news to anyone who follows the subject.

    I have long believed that corn ethanol used for motor fuel, and grid-connected wind power and solar power are energy and economic nonsense.

    I wrote these conclusions in articles published as early as 2002.

    My point is that this information is not new and it has been clearly stated in public forums such as this one many times before, for about a decade.

    The fact that it has been routinely ignored is, I suggest, a measure of the utter incompetence and corruption that pervades the entire subject of energy and the environment.

    But I digress – my immediate concern, which I apologize for carping about yet again, is the use of 40% of the huge USA corn crop for gasoline additives. Due to the drought this season, corn now costs over US$8 per bushel – and corn is a staple for many poor people in the Americas.

    This situation is simply wrong – it is a monstrous ethical and humanitarian failing, and our leaders in the USA and Canada should have the courage and integrity to end the fuel ethanol mandate immediately.


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    Crakar24

    Ccording to the Adelaide Advertiser there were 10,100 power disconnection in SA in the past 12 months as people cannot pay their bills, the amount of poeple getting caught stealing food is on the rise also due to escalating power costs.

    This is not new of course there are millions of people around the world that do not have access to electricty but they all come from third world countries.


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    pat

    good the site is back up, jo.

    reality bites for the carbon-tax-loving unions:
    the period detailed below ends the day before the carbon tax took effect, but the govt knows full well that the renewable energy targets, the solar tariffs, etc., had already caused electricity prices to increase substantially prior to that date:

    12 Sept: Adelaide Advertiser: David Nankervis: Thousands going without power as electricity bill defaults skyrocket
    MORE than 10,000 households had their power disconnected after failing to pay their bills – the highest cut-off rate in almost a decade.
    Figures released by the industry regulator yesterday showed that 10,100 homes lost power in the 12 months to July, compared to 7300 the previous financial year.
    Soaring power prices are being blamed for this 38 per cent spike in disconnections, with welfare groups reporting those on fixed incomes suffering the most – including one man who had to resort to cooking his meals over a wood fire in his back-yard for six months after being disconnected.
    Welfare agency Anglicare said it had reports of disconnected households commonly using candles for lighting, heating rooms with barbecues – and keeping perishables such as milk and butter in Eskies…
    The number of reconnections is only about a third of the number of disconnections recorded in 2011/12, the figures show.
    “While people can reduce their electricity use, they still have supply charges which they can’t control,” said Anglicare wellbeing manager Christine Bell.
    “More needs to be done, and one example we are looking at through international research is where people can make payments fortnightly and not be hit with a big quarterly bill.”…
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/thousands-going-without-power-as-electricity-bill-defaults-skyrocket/story-e6frea83-1226472948011

    30 March: Business Spectator: Unions want wage increase to offset carbon tax
    A group representing the Australian Services Union and Queensland Public Sector Union plans to factor in the cost of the carbon tax during bargaining negotiations with the Queensland government later this year, arguing the tax will raise the cost of living for their members, according to a report by The Australian.
    The Together group, representing the two unions, were supporters of the carbon tax, but now say the $8 billion household compensation package would not cover the cost of the carbon tax for their workers.
    “They are compensating 60 per cent of people for some of it,” Union secretary Alex Scott said, according to The Australian. “That’s far from full compensation. We want to make sure we don’t go backwards in terms of cost of living.”…
    http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Unions-want-wage-increase-to-offset-carbon-tax-pd20120329-SULKR?opendocument

    what a hypocritical bunch. members should get rid of the present bunch of union leaders and start afresh.


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    Crakar24

    A group representing the Australian Services Union and Queensland Public Sector Union plans to factor in the cost of the carbon tax during bargaining negotiations with the Queensland government later this year, arguing the tax will raise the cost of living for their members, according to a report by The Australian.

    Yes but….but…..but…..you have been compensated for the tax and if you earn too much you get nothing but thats your fault for working too hard trying to get a better education and a better paying job next time you will think twice and simply go on the dole.

    Oh and dont forget if you dont like paying through the nose for your electrickery you can simply change providers, change to one that uses cheaper solar and wind power.

    Julia (yarp, yarp, yarp) Gillard is an incompetent fool.


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    bog

    When are the bureaucrats going to realise that by having the rain forests cut down to grow oil palms, mostly for bio diesel, we are loosing the lungs of the planet. When the palms get too tall for the workers to harvest the nuts, the palms are cut down and whole areas are burned. This is especially a disaster when it comes to burning bog rainforest, which burns for years. The emissions and consequences from this alone is far, far worse than burning coal.
    Find out what Indonesia is planning for the next few years and you will be shocked. Norway gave 3 billion dollars to Indonesia to stop the cutting down of the rain forests. We have seen with our very own eyes the devastation – even in the national parks.
    The workers and farmers over there need help to survive – the corporations who own the plantations and the government are not giving it to them. The orag-utans, sun bears, elephants and leopards, only to mention a few, are loosing their habitats at a rapid rate. In the long run we will all suffer.


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    bog

    If you read these reported European proposals to end most subsidies for Bio Fuel it shows how stupid they have been in the past and how stupidly they will move forward unless pointed out. I.E. This could put more pressure on buying Palm Oil for Bio Diesel and the loss of even more rain forests and resultant massive changes in climate in our region plus death of orang-utans ,sun bears etc.,

    Why do they still have any credibility?
    http://joannenova.com.au/2012/09/there-goes-the-biofuels-21-billion-dollar-industry-reality-bites-in-eu-draft/


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    Mark

    The people of Holland have also given their Greens the big heave-ho.

    http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/victory-centre-dutch-elections

    Greens down from 10 seats to 3. Even that’s too many and shows that the stupid pill factory will always have some customers for their product.


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    Dennis

    E10 is not value for money.


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