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Stop biofuel lunacy

by wolram
Tags: biofuel, lunacy, stop
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esbo
#19
Apr15-08, 12:17 PM
P: 84
Quote Quote by Nabeshin View Post
I don't consider myself an expert on the topic, but here's my two cents. Food is somewhat of a renewable resource in that we continuously produce more and more of it. Moreover, techniques for producing food are improving rapidly as we genetically engineer our food to grow in more desolate climates and produce bigger yields. Fossil fuels, however, are not renewable on human timescales. Once it's gone, it's gone. Therefore, biofuels can help to ease the transition and make what is still here last until we are able to move completely onto a different type of fuel.

In regards to starvation, food prices have increased. Most people who are comfortably middle class are not going to begin starving, however. Likely, they are being hurt much more overall from the soaring gas prices. As for the lower class, a lot of people in this catagory live on what they grow for themselves, so they are likely to benefit as food prices increase and they can, perhaps, sell their crops for a profit. Those who do not grow their own food, I admit, do get the short end of the stick here. Hopefully, current welfare systems (food stamps etc.) will compensate for the rise in food prices.
So you happy to steal the bread from a poor famillies table to stuff in your SUV?
Whilist you may be 'comfortable middle class' there are many people who are not.

whilst you may think the currenct food riots are a long way away, it won't be long before
they are on your doorstep.
LURCH
#20
Apr15-08, 01:00 PM
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As you said in your original post, these effects are taking place now, and biofuels arebaely getting started. In fact, biofuel production is less than a drop in the ocean (far less than the incrase in the Chinese middel class), and cannot possibly be the cause of any sudden of the "sudden and dramatic" changes you mention. There must be a cause, but biofuels are not it.

I would suggest tha the term "food shortage" is missleading. There exists plenty of food to feed everyone on the planet. The problem is that many people simply cannot afford it, and a lot of the food is not where the people are.
latecommer
#21
Apr15-08, 01:52 PM
P: 39
I don't steal food to fill my SUV, in fact I drive a Honda Civic, and i can't think of a post on any science site more rediculous than the one you wrote me just now.
In the first place gas and fuel do nothave the connection you refer too, and I can do nothing about the misguided policies that created the bio-fuel Hoax. No more than I can do much about the simple minded HOAX of global warming. I am just a poor scientist who has more brains than money. I am a Paleo-geologist who has spent the last three years studing the warming hysteria that you apparently are a part of. If as you say the food riots are coming I am prepared. I have plenty to share, and am also fully prepared to defend that which I wish to keep.
You have brought up a very good topic, but I suggest that you do some personal research and correct your false assumptions about what is and will happen. As Lurch has pointed out and I will amplify, the problem is not lack of food but lack of logistical means to move the food to the needed areas. I live in the richest farm land sector in the world, central California where nearly 17% of the worlds food is produced and more than 130 products are exported.
luben
#22
Apr15-08, 02:25 PM
P: 68
Hello, want to raise a point here. The main reason of the food/commodity/oil price surge is the increase (a lot!) of money supplies due to the current global financial crisis. In fact, the biofuel solution and food production takes a long time (in terms of year) to reach equilibrium point. A sudden surge of price will not be physically related to their relation in production. The money , which is the most liquid form, 'flows' to the commodity sector and surge the price of everything there. So it is fair to say the increase use of food for fuel is not a very important reason for the recent food shortage at poor regions. A control of the money supplies will quickly ease the problem. But for why they increase the money supplies, one may need to ask the economist.

EDIT: a reference here for those interested
wolram
#23
Apr15-08, 02:45 PM
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Quote Quote by luben View Post
Hello, want to raise a point here. The main reason of the food/commodity/oil price surge is the increase (a lot!) of money supplies due to the current global financial crisis. In fact, the biofuel solution and food production takes a long time (in terms of year) to reach equilibrium point. A sudden surge of price will not be physically related to their relation in production. The money , which is the most liquid form, 'flows' to the commodity sector and surge the price of everything there. So it is fair to say the increase use of food for fuel is not a very important reason for the recent food shortage at poor regions. A control of the money supplies will quickly ease the problem. But for why they increase the money supplies, one may need to ask the economist.

EDIT: a reference here for those interested
From your link.

And it's not just the Fed's weak US dollar policy that is driving up agricultural prices to record highs these days. Growing Bio-fuel demand has pushed up corn and soybean prices. Furthermore, the cost of transporting dry goods such as coal, iron ore, and grains overseas, as measured by the Baltic Dry Index, have doubled since January, to all-time highs. Higher transportations costs, by land or by sea, are expected to be passed along to the final consumer.
wolram
#24
Apr15-08, 02:55 PM
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Quote Quote by LURCH View Post

I would suggest tha the term "food shortage" is missleading. There exists plenty of food to feed everyone on the planet. The problem is that many people simply cannot afford it, and a lot of the food is not where the people are.

In some cases farmers are hoarding it waiting for top dollar or yen, in other cases governments have order a halt on exports.
In poorer countries theft is driving prices up.
luben
#25
Apr15-08, 03:05 PM
P: 68
Hello Wolram. my point is, the main reason of a quick price surge being the increase of money supplies. The reference hasnt point out the priority of the each reason, but just put “Too much Money, Chasing too few Goods” as a subtitle early in the passage. Yes you are right, the use of bio-fuel is one of the reason. But it should only constitute a lengthy and gradual rise of price, not a sudden surge. I think i am talking about a short term solution to ease the food price quickly, and you are talking about a long term one which secure food resource for those in need. I hope this is clearer when i put it like that.
wolram
#26
Apr15-08, 03:22 PM
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Hi, Luben

I have been babbling about food shortages and over population, some form of population control will be the only ultimate ansewer, i am sorry to use this term, but i can see no use for people that just subsist with no near or long term plan to improve.
luben
#27
Apr15-08, 04:01 PM
P: 68
oic~ this is truly a complicated problem, especially when one try to look for long term solution. The distribution of food, poverty, improper use of food, etc etc all constitute to the big problem. Some quick measures should be used to ease the pain of the poor. But still i agree this should be solve and could be solved in the long term.

Nations have to come together to work for the solution. unfortunately the solution may take a long time. the politics involved is so terrible.
esbo
#28
Apr15-08, 05:33 PM
P: 84
Quote Quote by wolram View Post
Hi, Luben

I have been babbling about food shortages and over population, some form of population control will be the only ultimate ansewer, i am sorry to use this term, but i can see no use for people that just subsist with no near or long term plan to improve.
What does that mean? "i can see no use for people" People are not there for you to
'use', also "that just subsist with no near or long term plan to improve" Improve what,
why should they improve? Maybe they don't want to 'improve' whatever that means?
Improve their cholesterol levels?????
esbo
#29
Apr15-08, 05:50 PM
P: 84
Just to make things clear the problem is cause by using grain etc for biofuel.
You cannot take away vast swathes of the food supply to use for fuel without
having a dramatic effect of food prices.
The grain required to fill an SUV would feed a person for a year.
So if everyone had an SUV and fill their tank up then thats is it, the entire world food supply has gone. Obviously not everyone has an SUV but then people fill their cars more than once a year.
A target is set for 10% biofuel use. Do the maths, say you fill up 10 times a year, then
one tank will be biodiesel, thats the entire worlds food supply!! It is insanity.
And you cannot take away even a small part of the the food supply without having a dramatic effect on prices people *have* to eat.
Hurkyl
#30
Apr15-08, 05:53 PM
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Quote Quote by esbo View Post
So if everyone had an SUV and fill their tank up then thats is it, the entire world food supply has gone.
Wrong. The world supply of food is far greater than what the current human population eats, and the capacity for food production is far greater than what is actually supplied.
Ivan Seeking
#31
Apr15-08, 06:14 PM
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We couldn't possibly grow enough corn in the US to make enough ethanol to replace gasoline in the US. It is even argued by some that ethanol from corn is an energy sink.

Even if we assume a nominal net efficiency 30%, a typical gross of 400 gallons of fuel per acre-year of corn, and a demand of 400 million gallons per day, it would take [as a best case] about 1 billion acres of corn, which would be just under half the land area of the US. This also ignores that ethanol has about 60% as much energy per gallon as does gasoline, so in principle we need almost the entire land area of the US to make enough ethanol to replace gasoline, given the current demand.
wolram
#32
Apr15-08, 06:20 PM
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Quote Quote by esbo View Post
What does that mean? "i can see no use for people" People are not there for you to
'use', also "that just subsist with no near or long term plan to improve" Improve what,
why should they improve? Maybe they don't want to 'improve' whatever that means?
Improve their cholesterol levels?????

Why should the rest of the world support them, these people have been unlucky enough to be born into a land that is raveged by war or is not fit to support them, why should they all ways be (our) problem

Improve means make headway in supporting them selfs, if they have no ecconomy that should not be my problem.
esbo
#33
Apr15-08, 06:30 PM
P: 84
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
Wrong. The world supply of food is far greater than what the current human population eats, and the capacity for food production is far greater than what is actually supplied.
No the world basically only produces what it eats it does not have great stores of food
lying around anymore.

It does not matter what the capacity is, what matters what is produced and how
much of that is poured into an SUV.

But the single most important thing to remember is that when food prices have rocketed
it is insane to be putting it your SUV.

Maybe you would like to go to Haiti and tell them that the world food supply is fine and it is OK to fill your SUV with biodeiesil. I wonder how long it would before you were hacked to death?
esbo
#34
Apr15-08, 06:32 PM
P: 84
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
Wrong. The world supply of food is far greater than what the current human population eats, and the capacity for food production is far greater than what is actually supplied.
Go and tell that to the people in Haiti. You would be lynched in minutes.
Hurkyl
#35
Apr15-08, 06:39 PM
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Quote Quote by esbo View Post
Go and tell that to the people in Haiti. You would be lynched in minutes.
So, you've given up entirely on being rational? Good to know.
esbo
#36
Apr15-08, 06:50 PM
P: 84
Quote Quote by Hurkyl View Post
So, you've given up entirely on being rational? Good to know.
No I am just replying to your irrational view of the issue.
When people are staving your arhuement that they are not really starving is not going to go down too well.

It must be obvious to even the least intelligent of people that burning food in your fuel
take will push up food prices.
If you cannot accept that then this is utterly pointless.
It must also be obvious that by putting biodiesel in your tank you are effictively making
youself a murderer.
More biofuel= more deaths.
That is what is boils down to.


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