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home : opinions : letters October 1, 2016

2/5/2013 1:03:00 PM
Letter: New worry on greenhouse gas front


In 2003, the European Union issued a directive mandating replacement of petroleum products with biofuels, purportedly to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses.

However, biofuels require oily biomass that Europe cannot produce in quantity without converting land used for food production into energy production. So the European energy industry turned to Indonesia for palm oil.

The results were certainly consequential. Extensive burning of pristine rainforest, forced displacement of indigenous peoples, slaughter of orangutans, and possible extinction of Sumatran tigers as an incredibly rich ecosystem is converted into massive oil palm plantations that further enrich the elite landowners who influence Indonesian government.

With loss of forest and exposure of methane-rich peat soils, Indonesia became the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gasses behind China and the USA. And a subsequent study showed that total emissions from creation and use of biofuel from palm oil exceeds that of petro-fuel.

Given the results, many environmentalists called for a change in policy, but it seems the palm oil industry and tax-subsidized biofuel industry have more influential voices.

Here in the U.S. we have our own biofuels mandate: the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). Last year the EPA issued a proposed finding that biofuel derived from palm oil doesn’t meet the renewable fuel standard. The palm oil industry has been lobbying the EPA to reject that finding.

David Perrell


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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@Common Sense
Glad you finally realized we're discussing the adverse effects of government subsidies on the environment and other living things.

@David Perrell:
I like Webster's spelling of boon and pickings better.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ Common Sense:

Yes, Pickens is a good example of someone who uses government subsidies to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense. He got his subsidies for purchases of wind turbines from GE (which also gets subsides reducing corporate taxes to zero), fully expecting he'd be able to force ranchers to sell a corridor to Dallas through the power of eminent domain given to him by the Texas legislature. He could then sell both water and government-mandated 'renewable' power to Dallas. Ranchers threatened to resist coercion, and Pickens backed down. ( http://www.newswithviews.com/DeWeese/tom120.htm )

Subsidies + mandates = corruption.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: David Perrell

Common sense: "you are part of the problem."

Define "the problem."

Then tell me which patents you are referring to and how the "asphalt unions" are "backed by the petroleum industry."

Then consider that Steven Chu, Obama's Energy Secretary, said in 2008 that “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe” and tell me why you think raising the price of gas would be an "implied threat to President Obama."

Assuming you're aware that 70% of oil used in U.S. is fuel for transportation and farming (plus 15% for home heating), who do you think suffers most when higher petrol costs increase the cost of food and a ride to work?

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

@ David Perrell:

T. Boone Pickens was only interested in getting government funding to put in a wind farm that he is using to pump water for resale from the biggest aquifer in the United States. The state of Texas has no restrictions on how much water any individual can pump from an aquifer.

Our own Fred Ruskin is using T Boone Pickens as an example of what he wants to do with the Big Chino aquifer.

Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

@ Mary Heartman Mary Heartman

Once again tearing apart the message instead of accepting the common sense behind the message.

Of course tires are made with petroleum byproducts. That message was supposed to be understood, the rubber tires used in asphalt do not leach into the ground as fast as just using asphalt. I also said rubberized asphalt lasts longer and requires less maintenance, are you going to argue about that too.

I just can't believe the people that would rather shoot the messenger than accept the truth. Our dependence on the petroleum industry is unhealthy, period, plain and simple. There are plenty of viable alternatives that are "owned" in the form of patents that can't be implemented by the public because the petroleum industry owns the patents and so those patents aren't available to the public for any kind of implementation or production.

Now argue with someone about the color of the sky and other things equally important to you. I am getting a little annoyed with the "nit pickers" that need everything written to "their" satisfaction, before they are able to grasp the truth and importance behind what is being said.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@ Common [Non]sense:

Good heavens. You need to work on your reading comprehension, THE TIRES USED FOR RUBBERIZED ASPHALT ARE MADE FROM PETROLEUM BYPRODUCTS.

Posted: Monday, February 18, 2013
Article comment by: Common sense

@ David Perrell

Excuse me I meant to say the pavers and asphalt unions that are all backed by the petroleum industry. Some states are now insisting that rubberized asphalt be used on certain state highway and city paving projects.

It is easy to pick apart a post that has to be limited in words but the technology is out there to free us from at least 50% of our dependence on the petroleum industry and it is the petroleum industry that is doing everything in its power to keep us from that technology.

As we speak they are raising the price of gas as an implied threat to President Obama what will happen if he tries to take away some of the loopholes and tax credits. That coming from an industry that is experiencing record profits for its CEOs and shareholders.

Like I said before we need to reduce our dependence on the oil industry, if you can't accept that as common sense then you are part of the problem.

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ Common Sense:

"...patents on wind generators and their best implementation is owned and locked in a vault by the oil industry…"
Patents are publicly searchable, not "locked in a vault." Which patents are you referring to?

"...petroleum industry went on strike and refused to apply the rubber infused asphalt…"
Industries don't go on strike, and the petro industry is in no position to refuse to apply anything. Rubberized asphalt using ground-up old tires as aggregate is being applied as I write this.

Are you consciously proving that your pseudonym is inappropriate or simply trying to bend the conversation away from the issue of government subsidies and mandates having negative consequences? I'm not arguing against local wind generators and solar panel installations, earthship homes, or rubberized asphalt (even though tires are a petroleum product).

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

@ David P.

Like I said patents on wind generators and their best implementation is owned and locked in a vault by the oil industry. In Holland and across Scandanavia people have solar panels and personal wind generators on every roof.
I never said the petroleum was unnecessary but even you have to admit they are trying to monopolize everything they are into, It is this belief that we are dependent on the petroleum industry for everything that makes us sheep for them too exploit at every turn.
Earthships use tires filled with rammed earth as the base for most of the foundation and walls for insulation, I find that a very practical solution for something else that was just filling up the landfills and would never biodegrade.
FYI tires can be used in the manufacture of highway surfaces but because after it is in place it requires less maintenance and lasts longer than asphalt. The petroleum industry went on strike and refused to apply the rubber infused asphalt so we are back to using asphalt almost everywhere. Asphalt highways run along side most rivers in this country and the PCPs are leached into the river forever. Petro Chemical by Products cause cancer and have killed millions and millions of people.
We need to use less petroleum products and that's just common sense

Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ Common Sense:

"If the petroleum industry was forced to give up all the patents they hold concerning free energy…"
How do you put the squeeze on the petro industry? They're a slippery bunch. You might have better luck forcing the auto industry to give up all those patents for 100 MPG carburetors.

"...the real polluters, the petroleum industry."
Who are the real polluters, the industry that supplies a product or the people who buy and burn it?

There is probably not a single manufactured product that doesn't depend on petroleum for manufacture and transport, including solar cells and wind turbines. Without petroleum products (not to mention a suspension of building codes in most places),'earthships' can not be built.

Is wind energy free?

Tax subsidies for wind energy so far are about $24 billion. The extension just passed by Congress adds another $12 billion. Without subsidies, wind-generated electricity costs 2-3 times as much that produced from natural gas, thanks in part to wind's freedom not to blow.

OK, not free. So, is wind energy good for the environment?

Vast vistas are uglified and polluted with noise. Thousands of birds and bats die yearly, many of which are protected species. In China, the earth is fouled by the byproducts of rare earth mining to make magnets for turbine generators. Giant gear boxes leak oil and catch fire.

Nope, not so good. So what is wind energy good for?

GE, NextEra, and their investors. And, possibly, Fred Ruskin.

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2013
Article comment by: Common Sense

Our best source of fuel is free, it comes from the wind and the sun. If the petroleum industry was forced to give up all the patents they hold concerning free energy, then everyone in the world would benefit, except for the real polluters, the petroleum industry.
The need for water and energy, to heat and cool homes, and provide transportation and to grow food are the biggest needs in this world for everyone The wealthiest already know this and that is why they cornering the market on water and oil and are willing to let millions die from pollution related illnesses, radiation and cancer, and dying from starvation and lack of clean drinking water . Water will soon become as big an expense as gasoline and if you buy it in a grocery store for drinking it is more expensive than gasoline. The plastic water bottles are also a petroleum product.
This used to sound like problems 3rd world countries faced, but it is happening in this country right now. We are letting the wealthy slowly kill this planet in the name of greed. The solutions are out there, staring us in the face. I am beginning to wonder if Common Sense will ever prevail again. What a great world we will be leaving for our children.
If you want to know how it could be, Type in earthships on your browser and find out how independent,, pollution free, clean living is not only possible, but is happening in small areas across the globe.

Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013
Article comment by: David Perrell

@ Mary Heartman:

"...why look so far from home?"
Have you not noticed how many folks here seem to crave a Euro bureaucracy? Were those truly unintended consequences, or just acceptable collateral damage in a quest for corrupt control of an economy?

"...stimulus funds poised to pour into the pockets of windmill hustlers like T. Boon Pickings and Fred Ruskin."
T. Boone Pickens is out of the wind business. However, thanks to Congress's 'fiscal cliff' bridgework that continues subsidizing real "windmill hustlers" like GE and NextEra, Fred Ruskin is once more in a position to receive $ millions in leasing fees courtesy of taxpayers.

Dodd & Frank...aren't they the jolly fellows who helped loosen RE credit, enrich Fannie/Freddie CEOs, and bring on the economic meltdown that Bush is blamed for before they gave us 'reform' that does little to prevent the same thing from happening again?

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: Mary Heartman

@What a lot of hot air...:
I wouldn't bother holding my breath. The hot air emanating from State Houses around the country far exceeds the product of Yavapai County.

@David Perrell
That's a good, clear example of bureaucratic Unintended Consequences Policy: Shove it under the rug and hope nobody notices the stench. But since, as Nutso Fasst points out, the EPA isn't likely to be wooed away from ethanol's unintended consequences by anything, including reason, why look so far from home? We currently have plenty that we at least have some chance of mitigating:

* On the alternative energy front, there are the stimulus funds poised to pour into the pockets of windmill hustlers like T. Boon Pickings and Fred Ruskin.

* On the health care front, the provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will cost working-poor families their employer-paid Family Plans is just for starters.

* On the economic front, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act makes sure the Bush-years high-frequency-trading time bomb just keeps ticking toward another flash crash.

Etc., etc., and etc.

Posted: Thursday, February 7, 2013
Article comment by: What a lot of hot air...

oops...maybe the hot air is source of global

Think we'll stop generating hot air.

Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Article comment by: nutso fasst

The palm oil lobby will have to do some heavy palm oiling to entice the EPA to act outside the interests of the ethanol lobby. Google 'E15 fuel'.

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