Letters to the Editor

Ethanol ‘facts’

April 18, 2008

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To the editor:

How ironic that Sunday's edition of this newspaper should contain on the same page an article on the plight of the starving people in Haiti and a service station ad touting "The facts" about ethanol. It also had a discouraging Los Angeles Times story about attempts to produce affordable electric vehicles.

The ad would have us believe that 10 percent ethanol in a gasoline mix would significantly reduce pollution. Compared to the zero emissions of electrical vehicles, internal combustion vehicles with ethanol are hardly better than those without.

Equally minimal is the claim that ethanol will lead to U.S. oil independence. Replacing 10 percent of its oil with ethanol won't release from dependence a country that imports 60 percent of what it uses. A surer path to oil independence involves reducing energy consumption, alternative electrical energy sources and replacing internal combustion engines with electrical motors.

Missing from the ad are the facts tying ethanol production to hunger. Biofuel contributes to rising food costs by converting food corn to fuel. Ethanol production has consequences we are experiencing here. For poor nations, rising food cost means hunger and political unrest.

The solution has many facets. One is to take a closer look at the electric vehicle and its efficiency. That industry would flourish if we took away the subsidies for oil, ethanol and gas-guzzling SUVs and used them to support nonpolluting electrical generation and electric vehicles.

Paul Fairchild,

Lawrence

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"That electricity doesn't appear magically. Most of it comes from burning coal and natural gas."If electricity came from wind and solar instead, it would, in fact, be near zero emission.

jumpin_catfish 7 years, 3 months ago

The very act of manufacturing cars and all the equipment to support their use and maintainance are anything but emissions free. The term zero emissions is boardly misused. We should be looking at reduced emissions and by the way our new love affair with ethanol is creating a huge spike in food costs. With that said the idea of electric cars charged by the sun or wind is great especially for those of us who do 95% of our driving in a 100 mile radius.

LogicMan 7 years, 3 months ago

"Compared to the zero emissions of electrical vehicles"That electricity doesn't appear magically. Most of it comes from burning coal and natural gas.

Robert bickers 7 years, 3 months ago

Obviously all government funding should be poured into Mr. Fusion development.Seriously, biofuel is a boondoggle. Who thought a negative return on energy input was a good idea? Who decided a 15-25% reduction in fuel economy was a good idea? Hooray for the corn farmers, boo for the folks who intended to survive off that corn.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 3 months ago

I think ethanol rocks. Of course, I have all of my money invested in corn weevils. I probably should have gone with this company...http://www.monsanto.com/who_we_are/locations.asp

Frederic Gutknecht IV 7 years, 3 months ago

The "stick" is making it clear that we are too corny. I can certainaly say that it's true with regard to my lifestyle and humor "stylings".

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"If electricity came from wind and solar instead,"But it doesn't. Not many people are willing to pay 3 to 6 times for their energy use."Most of it comes from burning coal and natural gas."Not if loser sebelius gets her way - it will be a dark Kansas. We will HAVE to drive gas cars as there will be no electricity to charge them."I had read this a few weeks ago and I wonder why this is not the most startling thing for tree-huggers?"Because the tree-huggers have stopped worrying about real issues and are only concerned about imaginary pollution - CO2. If we could develop a car which produces sulfur dioxide, nitrogen monoxide, and other nitrogen compounds, but no CO2, they would be happy."Indonesia has bulldozed and burned so much wilderness to grow palm oil trees for biodiesel that its ranking among the world's top carbon emitters has surged from 21st to third"I wonder what past ones would have thought that their request for alternative fuels is destroying the very forests they were trying to save - the forests which require CO2 for their survival! It would be hilarious, if it wasn't so sad."The U.N.'s World Food Program says it needs $500 million in additional funding and supplies,"What's going to happen when all these countries destroying their soil to grow a quick crop for cash, then they don't have any food, and US has to ship them food on big gas guzzling boats? And, once some of these soils are destroyed, there's no hope of restoring them. Really sad."in Brazil, where a Rhode Island--size chunk of the Amazon was deforested in the second half of 2007 ""Some scientists believe fires are now altering the local microclimate and could eventually reduce the Amazon to a savanna or even a desert. "It's approaching a tipping point,"While the wackos are worried about a chunk of ice falling off where it has time after time and hurting no one but imagine that there is some "potential" threat, they are the ones causing our World to be harmed in actual and real threats.The REAL threat to this world is the enviro-wackos!

Jason Bailey 7 years, 3 months ago

GR: The real threat to this world is liberalism, of which, environ-wackos represent a growing faction therein.There used to be a day when some loon would climb up in a tree to prevent the loggers from downing it and everyone would laugh. Today, you're a heartless brute if you say anything that might challenge the religion of environmentalism. I say religion because that's what it is, there are scientific studies to back up that global warming is real and other studies, just as valid, to prove it's not happening. Ultimately, it comes down to faith which makes it a religion.The bottom line with the environmentalists: they believe that mankind is the scourge of this planet and don't care a bit if people suffer if that means the planet is "protected" in some way. The crony who works for Sebelius proved this for us when he axed the new power plant for Kansas. It's going to hurt Kansans in their wallet but they don't care so long as it keeps that CO2 from rising up fro the plains.If Sebelius is going to kill the new plant, I want alternatives -- and no, wind and solar is not the answer. Both are unreliable and extremely costly. Maybe nuclear? That's an alternative but the rising star of the "we're-really-going-to-select-our-nominee-with-super-delegates and-let-you-poor-saps-think-you're-electing-the-nominee" party won't let that happen either.The Democrats are steering the entire country into a financial mess with their policies that pick the planet over people. It's a mess that will come home to roost because once it reaches a certain level of economic "Chaos", the people will rebel and kick them all out of power. It should be fun to watch.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

"The REAL threat to this world is the enviro-wackos!"Let me guess, the rest of us need to "educate" ourselves about the "real" truth behind the various environmental movements. Stay in your bunker, gr, just stay in your bunker. Guys like YOU are the real threat to the rest of us.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years, 3 months ago

jason2007 says,"The Democrats are steering the entire country into a financial mess with their policies that pick the planet over people."Hmmm. Did you ever consider picking both the planet and people? Probably not, and it's no surprise coming from the obvious black or white mentality.

bd 7 years, 3 months ago

Gee whisss! My mom told me about the starving people in third world countrys 40 years ago!Nothing has changed!I say let them starve!

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

Meh, here we go again with the anti ethanol hoolabaloo.Ethanol is NOT the problem. Corn based ethanol is. Corn SUCKS as a source of ethanol. The only reason corn is touted is because of states that are already corn growers and the senators that like ear marks. Corn takes way too much water, corn is used for both human and livestock consumption, this on top of the fact that it is not the best crop to use for ethanol.McCain wants to cut subsidies for ethanol. Bad idea. Cut them for CORN based ethanol and encourage other types of plants to be used. Ethanol will not save us from Ahab, but if done right, and supported in the right places by the Gubment, it can help ease the burden.Switchgrass is the way we should go in the midwest. It grows fast, doesn't require as much water, produces more biofuel per acre than corn and isn't a food source for livestock. Why does it have to be all or nothing for you Paul Fairchild?

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

Screedposter:"The world optimum sustainable population has been proven to be a little more than 500,000,000 people."Proof or STFU. And by "proof" I do not mean your standard ad hominem attacks. If what you say is true and proven, then the world would have shat it self a long time ago. Megatons of food are wasted every year or are wastefully used in corn ethanol processing.People are starving because their leaders are creating those situations, not because the world is unable to support it. By not allowing migration of peoples in certain areas, and persecuting nomadic or tribal societies, governments are causing famine not Mother goddess earth. War also is a major cause of famine. Improper soil management and over farming contribute as well. All things that can be controlled and regulated if leaders are motivated to do so.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree that corn ethanol is not the solution, but I've never heard anywhere that there is a "proven" sustainable human population. I call BS on your 500,000,000 number. Maybe you're thinking of Paul Ehrlich's book "The Population Bomb". Many of his predictions have not occured, although I also agree that there're too many dang people here already.

Jason Bailey 7 years, 3 months ago

a_flock_of_jayhawks: I wasn't talking about me....don't try to divert the point. If you read my post carefully, it specificallys says, "The Democrats are steering the entire country into a financial mess with their policies that pick the planet over people." I was talking about your party, preach to them not me. Right now all they're interested in is picking the planet over people.Try to address the real point next time instead of trying to turn everything back on the poster. It's not about me and it's not about you -- it's about those in positions of authority who are steering us in the wrong direction.

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"Stay in your bunker, gr, just stay in your bunker."Who's hiding in their bunker?I've asked and asked for facts showing there is such a thing as global warming and if there is, that humans are causing it, and if they are, if it's possible to stop it.No one, and I mean no one has given any. Sure, there's a bunch of emotional whine, but no facts.So, you can continue hopping on one foot if you think it'll do any good, but don't force the rest of us." Guys like YOU are the real threat to the rest of us."Am I making up "truth" as I go?Am I saying we don't need to look at any evidence since I have already made up my mind?Am I destroying anything? Am I causing people to starve due to my irrational beliefs in imaginary pollution and completely and permanently ruining their land and the ecosytem?Did you read the link from Time that uhadmeatsmellthis posted?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"But it doesn't. Not many people are willing to pay 3 to 6 times for their energy use."This is just pure fabrication. Wind and solar are, in fact, becoming quite competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear, and will likely become the cheaper alternatives in the near future. Especially if the subsidies and externalized costs for fossil fuels and nuclear are eliminated.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

You, gr, you're hiding in your bunker mentality. That's what I'm alluding to. There's ample evidence for man-made climate change, just as there is ample evidence for evolution. Your refusal to pull your head out the the sand....and other places, doesn't invalidate the results. Even your wonks in the whitehouse are comming around."Am I making up "truth" as I go?"Yes....yes you are. I bet you have a small shrine with Douglas Feith's picture above it, since he's the arch-neocon fact-inventor I'd bet you aspire to.Your goofy rant about environmentalists causing people to starve and endanger the rest of us is RIGHT out of the nazi propaganda playbook, btw. Painting environmentalists who are suggesting we maybe ease off the on gaspedal and re-think our energy stragies as extremeists is like China calling the Dali Lama a terrorist. You seem to really believe your own BS, and your BS is considerable.

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"Your goofy rant about environmentalists"I guess that would be a, "NO" you didn't read the TIME link.bozo: "This is just pure fabrication. "Ok, bozo, here's your chance. What DOES it cost? Another poster finally admited it did cost more and then said things like, "will likely become the cheaper". I don't expect you to say as it will disprove your belief system.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

There are several problems with the way we're doing wind and solar:1. It should be done in small doses and massive scale, like small wind turbines attached to ones roof, or solar pannel roofing. Large wind turbines are a maintainence nightmare, and need to be used in such quatities that they really DO spoil the landscape. Solar farms....possibly.2. Wind and solar cannot provide VARS support....period. That's a huge problem for industry.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

This is one estimate of relative costs.http://www2.ljworld.com/discussions/stories/462699/Coal-fired: 3.5 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour Natural-gas, combined cycle: 5 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour Nuclear: 5.5 to 6.5 cents per kilowatt-hour Wind in favorable areas and up to 20 percent of the supply: 4 to 5 cents per kilowatt-hour Solar: roughly 20 cents per kilowatt-hour (without energy storage)

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years, 3 months ago

jason2007 (Anonymous) says:"a_flock_of_jayhawks: I wasn't talking about me..."Good point. I apologize if you feel I have mischaracterized your point/position. It sounds to me like you are saying that Democrats are picking the planet over people. I'm not going to put words in your mouth, so I'll stick to the point I was trying to make in response. I disagree with your characterization of Democrats with that statement and I would suggest that those who oppose Democrats might advocate that sort of labeling a) to convince people that Dems are against them and/or b) due to the fact that it is consistent with the black or white way that Dem's opponents typically paint most issues.In short, that is a ruse and a way to avoid considering all of the facets of complex issues, IMO.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

they're actually having a disscussion on this exact topic on NPR's Science Friday at the moment.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

"I guess that would be a, "NO" you didn't read the TIME link."Yes, I did read the link gr, but like many of your right wing ilk (yes, you have an ilk) you take the Michelle Malkin approach and pick one tiny little off the target blip and apply it globally to a completely separate issue where it has only a tangential relation. That would make you and your Malkiny-ilk goofy ranters.You seriously blame evironmentalists for the damage done by corupt governments and giant coroporations? That's whose doing the burning and environmental destruction dude. It's not some poor lone farmer trying to eek out a living. Nope, it's (again) your beloved, tax-cut seekin', pollution-dumpin', worker-squashin' corporations.

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

Agnostick:"That particular lie was thoroughly debunked earlier in this thread, @ 9:40am."I fail to see how the statement I made and you quoted: "Megatons of food are wasted every year or are wastefully used in corn ethanol processing."Is in any way refuted by your 9:40 post.My comment regarding FOOD waste is supported below and was intended to refute screedposters claim."According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we waste 96 billion pounds of food in America each year. That turns out to be: * 263,013,699 pounds of food wasted each day * 10,958,904 pounds wasted each hour * 182,648 pounds wasted each minute * 3,044 pounds of food wasted in America each second."That is just the United States.

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

screed, you are funny. You post a controversial "statistic" yet refuse to show proof. Why won't you provide some? Surely someone out there has it on their website, unless you made it up.It sounds more like YOU want me to do YOUR homework. Keep em coming screed, like I said in previous thread, comedy gold.

Jason Bailey 7 years, 3 months ago

a_flock_of_jayhawks: That's exactly right on....thanks for the clarification.I actually believe that liberalism in general is the real problem but recently, the Democratic party has been hi-jacked by far-left wing extremists many of which are environmentalists so that is why I lumped them together.I also do believe that every issue is black and white. There is right and wrong in everything in life -- ultimately, everything boils down to pure logic and there is no gray in logic.We may grapple with understanding what right and wrong may be on certain subjects but that's our problem in our limited ability to comprehend or apprehend, not a reflection on whether the ultimate solution to a problem actually has a right and a wrong outcome.

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

Agno: I take it you support Ethanol, as do I. What, if anything, do you think of my suggestion of dumping corn for ethanol and using switchgrass?

monkeyspunk 7 years, 3 months ago

For the love of God, why do these discussions always devolve into "Us vs. Them"?I mean, really...how much of this debate is so "green" that it has to bring out the partisans? Don't all parties want to lessen dependence on foreign sources of fuel? Yes.Let's keep this debate isolated to discussions about ethanol production and abusing screedposter so he will continue to grace us with his witty retorts and insults.

salad 7 years, 3 months ago

"For the love of God, why do these discussions always devolve into "Us vs. Them?"Cause we're humans....and not buddist humans."Let's keep this debate isolated to discussions about ethanol production and abusing screedposter so he will continue to grace us with his witty retorts and insults."Yeah, I'm down with that if we can include the Bush appologists and other spin doctors in the general abusing.

notajayhawk 7 years, 3 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "If electricity came from wind and solar instead, it would, in fact, be near zero emission."If cows had wings they'd be birds."Wind and solar are, in fact, becoming quite competitive with fossil fuels and nuclear, and will likely become the cheaper alternatives in the near future."The only reason nuclear costs so much is the outrageous costs related to the delays caused by environmentalist nutjobs.*******Agnostick (Anonymous) says: "Go back 50 years, and there were very few feedlots-most cows ate pasture grass, not corn."Fifty years ago there were fewer cows, too, since there were about 100 million fewer people eating them.*****screedposter (Anonymous) says:...Aw, jeez, does anyone really care what he says?*****But then again:screedposter (Anonymous) says: "There's too many people for the planet."Feel free to leave. If you're even from this planet.Tell me, when your fictional new government comes to power next year, they're going to do what, exactly, to reduce the world's population by 90%?

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years, 3 months ago

jason2007 says..."I also do believe that every issue is black and white. There is right and wrong in everything in life - ultimately, everything boils down to pure logic and there is no gray in logic."I realize that this is beginning to stray off topic, but there's fundamental difference in mindset here that I'd like to expound on.Granted, there are some issues in life where there is a right way and a bunch of different ways that are wrong. However, in my view, the majority of issues in life end up in answers that involve better vs. best or bad vs. worse. These issues are the ones that generate the most lively debate, because there is not one single right answer, but opinions on which answer is best or worse.With that thought, I'll return you to your regularly scheduled LJW blogfight, already in progress...

Jason Bailey 7 years, 3 months ago

Flock_of_Jayhawks: Very well thought out response, once again -- not visceral like so many...kudos on that.My last post on the subject: the reason why you believe there is no single right answer but instead, opinions on which answer is best or worse is because we are limited in our capacity to understand the entire picture. Our thought processes are linear and bound by our capacity to aggregate information. This does not negate that there is one true right and everything else is truly wrong on every single issue. It all comes down to us being human and unable to pinpoint that in many cases.I agree that, as humans and limited in our ability to comprehend, we resort to picking the best that we can but this does not mean there is not an absolute, absolutely.

acoupstick 7 years, 3 months ago

The efficiency of cellulosic ethanol (ie from switchgrass) was called into question by the print article in Time. Given current technology, it does not seem to be a silver bullet. I personally don't believe that there will be one single energy solution. I think we will do best in a decentralized system relying upon geothermal, wind, solar, wave, nuclear, methane, biofuels, etc wherever each is most appropriate and cost-effective. There are no easy answers, but the truth is we cannot keep going down the fossil fuel path. It is finite and its end will be violent.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 7 years, 3 months ago

jason2007 says..."but this does not mean there is not an absolute, absolutely."And my last post on this topic as well, I promise.This is exactly why there is the concept of relative and that there is a difference between relative and absolute. Not everything is absolute, but, rather, relative.

hornhunter 7 years, 3 months ago

screed or Kevin, if you think thats creepy do this,1. GO TO THE FOLLOWING SITE : http://www.tatuagemdaboa.com.br/ http://www.tatuagemdaboa.com.br/2. WRITE YOUR FIRST NAME IN THE 1st LINE.3. WRITE YOUR FAMILY NAME in the 2nd LINE4. Press the VISUALIZAR bar. (No need to enter your e-mail address)BTW this ethanol craze really does suck

camper 7 years, 3 months ago

I like the idea of electric cars, but only if we change the source of electricty production from fossil fuels to renewable sources like solar, hydro, and wind. Also need to explore new technologies in the batteries for these cars, otherwise we got new problems.As far as ethanol, how about producing it from sugar? It seems we are trying to protect our farmers by placing restrictions on sugar imports. Sugar is much cheaper (market-wise) than oil.....just a thought.

Rationalanimal 7 years, 3 months ago

An inconvenient truth to the American enviro-facism faithful.

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

bozo: "This is one estimate of relative costs."That's a good attempt, bozo, assuming it was a accident to reference this same thread.Now, estimates are good, if one was planning on starting an energy business. It would be something one must carefully estimate. However, what is under question is the actual costs. I referred to one referenced costs. When you present an "estimate", there is much missing. Without giving more details, it calls into question as to how these estimates were done. There has been great dishonesty in skewing such estimates.Do you understand the difference between actual facts and speculative estimates? What needs to be presented here is what the initial cost is, what the ongoing maintenance costs are, how much electricity is produced averaged over a variety of days, and the lifespan of the equipment. With those, one can divide out the KWH costs. Now, another poster asked what are those costs for a coal plant. That doesn't really need to be presented since we can just look at our electric bills and see how much it costs. Likewise, you could show an actual fact of a alternative energy utility's charges are. Which is from what I said was 3-6 times the current rate. But, to take an individual's solar panel's monthly costs without taking into consideration of the initial cost, maintenance, lifespan, would be misleading.Is that too much to ask for?

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

salad:"Yes, I did read the link gr, but like many of your right wing ilk (yes, you have an ilk) you take the Michelle Malkin approach and pick one tiny little off the target blip and apply it globally to a completely separate issue where it has only a tangential relation."I'm afraid that destroying a country's land, soil, and ecosystem I would not consider a tiny blip."for the damage done by corupt governments and giant coroporations?"And since your "ilk" encourages and in effect, leads to and causes such corporations and individual farmers to destroy such land, isn't your "ilk" responsible?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

Sorry about the bad link, gr, but this really isn't even controversial. It's been quite well-established that in areas with good wind, Kansas being one of the best, wind-generated electricity is almost as cheap as coal-generated. If you do away with the subsidies and externalized costs for coal, it's almost surely cheaper. Solar power has a ways to go, but it's coming down rapidly, too.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

"I'm afraid that destroying a country's land, soil, and ecosystem I would not consider a tiny blip."Which is exactly why global warming, other forms of pollution and obsolete farming practices are creating such an impending disaster.

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"Which is exactly why global warming"bozo, my point was this is exactly why the alarmists/wackos/liberals are creating such an impending disaster. Through their actions, more damage, permanent damage, is being done than any imaginary CO2 "pollution"."It's been quite well-established "No facts presented, but it's "well-established". Something which should be so simple to present facts on, you have failed/refused to. Either you don't know, you are merely parroting others, or if you should present what facts there are, everyone would see that it costs 3-6 times more.Does it cause you to pause, that with something like evolution, you do the same? Why should we believe you any more on that? Either ignorance, parroting, or dishonesty rules the day. Some simple honesty on power generation costs could give you more credibility in presenting evolution. But, no facts on either are offered.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 3 months ago

" Through their actions, more damage, permanent damage, is being done than any imaginary CO2 "pollution"."What damage is that?"No facts presented, but it's "well-established"."If you want the facts, they are easily enough found. But you don't want them, do you?"Does it cause you to pause, that with something like evolution, you do the same? Why should we believe you any more on that?"You don't have to believe me. You can choose to believe the vast body of scientific research and literature, or whatever it is you have chosen to believe instead. I really don't care.

gr 7 years, 3 months ago

"What damage is that?"Read the link, bozo."If you want the facts, they are easily enough found. But you don't want them, do you?"Too bad you can't find them. I did. I found. I presented. You disagreed, but failed to present any. Hmmmm.....What should we conclude?

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