The Public Policy

More Biofuelishness

States ignore evidence and continue to pump out the plant fuel.

By 5.27.08

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With food and gas prices skyrocketing, several state climate commissions are ignoring the backlash against the suddenly antiquated policy of plant-enhanced petrol, as they hope to stop the alleged future global warming catastrophe.

Why? Because before they even get started, panelists and their hired management team (in most cases), the Center for Climate Strategies, forbid any discussion of global warming science outside the prevailing mainstream media take of the last 10 to 15 years -- that is, that carbon dioxide emissions must be curbed dramatically to stop the trend. Don't you understand that the "science is settled"?

That premise extends also to CCS's standard menu of "solutions" to climate change, but now even the MSM has turned against biofuels. That's ignored in roughly two dozen states, where in most cases governors (both Republican and Democrat) have appointed climate commission members, and push proposals that will increase costs of carbon-based sources (oil, coal) of energy while subsidizing inefficient resources like wind, solar, and crop combustion.

This latter brainchild of people-hating environmentalists really ticks off those of us who frequent the chillier climes within Wal-Mart's Supercenters, but even more so the scrappers in Haiti and Cameroon.

Nevertheless the states' climate commissioners are persistent fools for biofuels, despite: the unrest over food prices; the science (settled?) that cultivation for ethanol and other agri-fuel uses more energy than it produces; that farming for non-edible biofuel crops can cause weed proliferation problems; and that biofuel burning releases more C02 in the atmosphere than it saves.

HOW DEEP IS their love? You really need to learn, 'cause we're living in a world of fools breaking us down, when they all should let us be:

* In my home state of North Carolina the Climate Action Plan Advisory Group embraced tax breaks, incentives, and subsidies for: the in-state growing of biodiesel (by producing 114.5 million gallons of various feedstocks per year); biomass stocks for electricity generation; and 150 million gallons of ethanol production per year. How is this achieved with in-state resources? One bright idea came from Steve Roe of the Center for Climate Strategies, who dialed up a North Carolina State University energy engineer to find out how much biodiesel could be generated if farmers in the state stopped growing wheat -- completely -- in favor of canola. Remember this when alarmists say they have realistic solutions.

* Montana's Climate Change Advisory Committee, in its final report released recently, recommended the retention of "cropland in an uncultivated state from conservation programs such as those in the U.S. Farm Bill, thereby preventing the oxidation of soil carbon and subsequent CO2 emissions...If these acres are returned to active cultivation, not only will already stored soil carbon be lost, but the annual sequestration of additional CO2 by these soils will also be impaired." Isn't restricted supply in the face of great demand what brought us higher gas prices?

* The brand new Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group, even with the benefit of these latest findings on plant-based renewables, still has an unhealthy menu of biofuels initiatives that will gestate until they become recommendations in a year or so. They include: expanded use of biomass feedstocks for electricity, heat, and steam production; in-state liquid biofuels production; improving energy capture from corn and biomass heat; and expanded production and use of bio-based materials and chemicals.

Unfortunately these policies remain in good standing with the unrelenting global warming paranoiacs, who wouldn't admit their erroneousness even if the recent planetary chill -- not to mention the longer leveled-off trend -- continues indefinitely.

THEIR DISREGARD for evidence isn't limited to temperature. Because the Center for Climate Strategies forbids discussion and debate about the science on their state commissions (Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina, Kansas, are just a few on their long list), state climate commissions ignore data like: the Antarctica’s ice has increased to record levels; the polar bear population globally has grown since the 1950s; the oceans are not warming; and that contrary to much scaremongering, hurricanes in the Atlantic did not increase in the last two years.

And besides the recent historic evidence, the fundamentals of climate science are also ignored -- no evaluation about the contributions to climate change by factors other than CO2 like water vapor (the most prevalent greenhouse gas), solar activity, cloud cover, and other phenomena.

May the full facts and data be damned, according to these state climate commissions. Instead it's full speed ahead with the economy tanker into the kill-carbon reef, while the food cargo disintegrates in the ship-sinking blaze.

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About the Author

Paul Chesser publishes CarolinaPlottHound.com, a news aggregator for North Carolina, and is a contributor of articles, research and investigative reports for both national and state-level free-market think tanks.