I’m not a scientist. Neither are most people. So when we listen to the arguments thrown back and forth over the threat and source of global warming, we are forced to choose sides in an academic debate based on what little we know.
The fact that Former Vice President Al Gore won a Nobel Prize for promoting the seriousness of climate change, only galls most conservatives who, as a result, will never ever believe in that stuff.
Whether or not the threat from global warming is real, the politics most often supersede the bias in the debate. I frankly was generally neutral on the issue, at most leaning slightly to the side that man’s contribution to global warming was being exaggerated. I was resigned to the conclusion that either way, the degree of public consensus necessary to actually do anything about it was impossible to achieve, so we should instead resign ourselves to learning to deal with a warmer planet as mankind is incapable of cooling it whether or not it is responsible for the warming.
I wouldn’t buy beach front property in Florida and owning a farm in northern Minnesota might one day be the center of the corn belt.
That was my mindset until last weekend when I had an epiphany resulting from a subscriber forwarding me a link to the Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change report. It maintains that “there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other green house gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate.”
The link included a variety of topics also damming the existence of global warming. I was forced to take their word on subjects such as glaciers, climate models, temperature records, species extinction and solar activity, topics that I am certainly no expert on until I stumbled over a topic that they expressed their views upon that I do know something about – biofuel.
Suffice it to say that those climate change opponents hate biofuel with a passion. Here is the executive summary of their biofuel opinion: “Biofuels for transportation (chiefly ethanol, biodiesel and methanol) are being used in growing quantities in the belief that they provide environmental benefits. In fact, those benefits are very dubious. By some measures, the net effect of biofuels production is to increase CO2 emissions for decades or centuries relative to the emissions caused by fossil fuel use.
“Biofuels compete with livestock growers and food processors for corn, soybeans and other feedstocks, leading to higher food prices. Rising food prices in 2008 led to food riots in several developing countries. The production of biofuels also consumes enormous quantities of water compared with the production of gasoline. There can be little doubt that ethanol mandates and subsidies have made both food and energy more, not less, expensive and therefore less available to a growing population.”
That summary just scratched the surface of their negative discourse on biofuel. They are big proponents of the bogus land use diversion theory that biofuel is deforesting the Amazon. Their food versus fuel analysis was so incompetent as to be intellectually sick. The report referred readers to Web sites that blamed biofuels for floods, deforestation, starvation, killing birds, creating a water crisis with titles of articles like “More Bad Consequences of Biofuels,” “The Corn Ethanol Con,” and even one entitled, “Biofuels as Religious Fodder,” seemingly claiming support of biofuel to be sacrilegious.
The purpose of this extensive work was to rebut the climate change argument. It didn’t work for me. If those idiots can be that wrong about biofuel, than I can only believe that the rest of their work is just as flawed and erroneous as their conclusion on biofuel.
After reading the Non-Governmental Panel on Climate Change Report, I feel like calling Al Gore up and asking where I can sign up. I consider the anti-ethanol stance of climate change opponents to be the strongest evidence that I have found that their science is flawed and the threat of climate change is real.
Collin Peterson and Tom Vilsack saw to it that agriculture and biofuel were protected in the proposed climate change bill. There is opposition to change on all of the major issues confronting the country. With change there is risk and uncertainty and not all change will be successful, but doing nothing is a known failure.
I’ll bet Big Oil played a role in producing this so-called study as they could go after both climate change and biofuels in the same breath.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report, an ag commentary and market analysis available daily by radio and by subscription on DTN/FarmDayta and the Internet.
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