Saturday, May 5, 2007

Stay Educated

Last night I was watching 20/20 and they were busting all kinds of common myths.One of the myths was that ethanol is a good earth friendly alternative to fossil fuels. The shock for me, was the claim that the growth and production of ethanol could hurt the environment more than help it. Then, I ran across this article on the USA today web site.
I think that the point here is that we have to keep pushing ahead and stay educated. The best thing to do is use less gas. It is easy to do. Get a car with good gas mileage, and drive less.
Shame on our politicians on both sides of the isle for pushing something down our throat that surely won't help anyone except the corn farmers and the producers of the ethanol! If we let them get away with this, even they will regret the short lifespan of the planet. Even if they got rich doing it!!!
If you are wondering, that is my Prius.

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KaOs said...

Ethanol is theoretically "carbon neutral" fuel, meaning that it there is not net gain or loss of carbon (i.e. greenhouse gas carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere when it is burned, since the as the corn grows it sucks as much CO2 from the atmosphere as it later releases. However, and this is a big however, there are other costs incurred, such as the processing and transportation of fertilizer to the field, the potential fuel costs of irrigation, and the transportation of the fuel to it's destination.

Ethanol is to oil as methadone is to heroin. It could get us over the hump of the oil crisis, but it is not a long term fix for planetary collapse. We need to reduce and restructure our energy consumption dramatically, and find longterm, viable energy sources. Solar power is the most readily available energy source, though relatively expensive to extract. Ultimately, we really ought to be pouring billions, if not trillions in to fusion research (or at least building massive solar power plants, and converting cars to electricity).

The course of the next century will be determined by the fallout of our current actions - we only have about a hundred years to fix this and get it right. I might sound alarmist, but the "war on terror" is at it's heart an oil war, a resource war. The dogma on both sides is just masking the underlying problem. It is a symptom, not the problem. We need to admit that we are facing an enormous energy crisis.

If when 9/11 happened we put as much money into energy research, development, and restructuring, as we have put into war (billions upon billions) gosh, just think were we might be. That much of a push that quickly might have gotten us so that we would not be dependent on hideously undemocratic states like Saudi Arabia (which would have made us less likely targets for terrorists because they are actually against the royal dynasty there).

Wow, that got away from ethanol rather fast. I guess I'm just upset that the price of gas has leapt from 3.16/gal to 3.25/gal in just 2 days, and it was 3.05/gal a week ago.

Samantha said...

Actually, the point was, that ethanol in no way has the capacity to get us over any hump. It takes more fossil fuel to grow it, make and distribute it than actual gasoline. So, just in the process of making it, it is not carbon neutral. It also must be shipped by truck in tanks and cannot be piped like gasoline can. This takes even more energy just to distribute it.

Also, if every single farmer grew corn, in every single field, only then we could meet only 12% of the demand. To farm like that BTW, would be devastating to the environment.

So really, I think the politicians are using ethanol as a "buzz word" in order to sound environmental. Only, either they are not educated in the truth, or they believe we are not. Either way it makes me mad.

I am also bother by the fact that so many people a driving those huge gas guzzlers. How they can afford the car payments on top of the gas is beyond me.

If everyone cut back their consumption of gasoline by 10%- 15%, by getting a car with better gas mileage, walked or road a bike, took public transportation once in a while, this would have an even larger impact on the earth than ethanol would or even could. I think, politicians are afraid to say that, putting the brunt of the solution onto the voters. I would just feel better if they did that though, and then talked about research, instead of ethanol. (But, Iowa wouldn't like that very much.)

I agree with you about the war! We really could have hit them (the middle east) where it hurts if we had just got off or lowered our consumption of fossil fuels to begin with instead of going to war. We could have turned the tables on them with out even firing a shot!