Posts Tagged the environment

Required Viewing

I ran across this web site the other day while reading about climate change. In my mind, it is required viewing for anyone interested in residing on this planet. Especially check out the sections about Carbon Dioxide Levels and Global Average Temperature, as they speak volumes.

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Bush Not "A good steward of the land"

This article at the Washington Post is just more evidence to add to the pile that Bush was lying through his teeth when he claimed to be “.. a good steward of the land.”

Maybe Henry Waxman will be successful in bringing the EPA back into the role of actually protecting the environment.

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Oregon House Bill 3610 and Global Warming

It appears that Oregon House Bill 3610 has been put on hold. This bill was intended to help gather data on greenhouse gas emissions for the 2009 legislative session. Sounds pretty simple. It is ironic considering how Oregon wants to be “a leader in the fight against Global Warming”.

You can encourage your representative to take a different stance on the bill by going here.

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Ethanol doesn't make a lot of sense…

At least after reading this article it doesn’t seem to. For example:

Corn requires large doses of herbicide and nitrogen fertilizer and can cause more soil erosion than any other crop. And producing corn ethanol consumes just about as much fossil fuel as the ethanol itself replaces. Biodiesel from soybeans fares only slightly better.

Much of what happens in its tanks and pipes is typical of any large distillery–after all, people have been turning grain into alcohol for eons. The corn is ground, mixed with water, and heated; added enzymes convert the starch into sugars. In a fermentation tank, yeast gradually turns the sugars into alcohol, which is sepa- rated from the water by distillation. The leftover, known as distillers’ grains, is fed to the cows, and some of the wastewater, high in nitrogen, is applied to fields as a fertilizer.

The process also gives off large amounts of carbon dioxide, and that’s where ethanol’s green label starts to brown. Most ethanol plants burn natural gas or, increasingly, coal to create the steam that drives the distillation, adding fossil- fuel emissions to the carbon dioxide emitted by the yeast. Growing the corn also requires nitrogen fertilizer, made with natural gas, and heavy use of diesel farm machinery. Some studies of the energy balance of corn ethanol–the amount of fossil energy needed to make ethanol versus the energy it produces–suggest that ethanol is a loser’s game, requiring more carbon-emitting fossil fuel than it displaces. Others give it a slight advantage. But however the accounting is done, corn ethanol is no greenhouse panacea.

I recently finished watching NOVA’s “Saved By the Sun”, and it described a more optimistic means of powering the planet. While solar may not be an ideal solution for several reasons, it certainly has a lot lower impact than ethanol. Did you know that Germany is investing a lot of money and resources in solar energy? Or that Las Vegas is moving toward solar energy? You can watch the program on the PBS website.

Anyway you look at it, this country has to come up with some solution to our energy dependance, and global warming too. My personal favorite candidate has a lot of good things to day on the topic, if anyone would just bother to listen.

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