Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Repeal the Renewable Fuel Mandate"

"Under the RFS, the average grocery bill for families has grown by $2,000 annually. Lower-income families, who spend a greater percentage of their paycheck on groceries, have been hit especially hard -- so much so that poverty advocates are now demanding that U.S. corn feed mouths rather than fuel tanks. According to Oxfam America, the grain required to fill an SUV's gas tank with biofuels is enough to feed one person for a year."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

"Gulf dead zone should be smaller than 2013, tied to ethanol production"

"The dead zone occurs when nitrogen-based fertilizer washes from Corn Belt  farms into the Mississippi River and winds its way south into the Gulf, providing nutrients for a bloom of algae. When the bloom dies, it leaves oxygen-depleted water where  other marine life can’t survive.

An indirect link was established between the dead zone and U.S. ethanol production when, in 2012, the dead zone contracted dramatically after an extreme drought damaged corn crops."

"Why is the EPA stalling on ethanol?" Chicago Tribune

"The Renewable Fuel Standard also requires more use of so-called advanced biofuels. Nearly all the ethanol produced in the U.S. today comes from corn รข€” roughly 40 percent of the nation's largest cash crop gets burned up in gas tanks. Congress approved the RFS mostly to encourage commercial production of ethanol from inedible ingredients such as grass or wood chips.

That idea has flopped. Very little of this next-generation ethanol is available commercially. The outlook is bleak for ramping up production. Yet under the law, refiners and blenders are required to boost their use of this scarce fuel, which adds more unnecessary costs.",0,6446153.story

Thursday, July 10, 2014

"EU to limit production of biofuels from food crops" The Guardian

"Initially, the EU backed biofuels as a way to tackle climate change, but research has since shown that making fuel out of crops such as maize displaces other crops, forces the clearing of valuable habitats, and can inflate food prices."

"EU agrees plan to cap use of food-based biofuels"

"EU energy ministers agreed a deal on Friday to limit production of biofuels made from food crops, responding to criticism these stoke inflation and do more environmental harm than good."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"Ethanol’s Broken Promise" EWG

 "Between 2008 and 2011, American farmers converted 23 million acres of wetlands and grasslands – an area the size of Indiana – to crop production.  EWG’s analysis estimates that this massive transformation in the way the land is being used has resulted in greenhouse gas emissions of between 85 million and 236 million metric tons a year more than previous years.
It turns out that corn ethanol has actually accelerated global warming more than gasoline. Recent research by the EPA has estimated that ethanol production increases greenhouse gas emissions by 33 percent, compared to gasoline."

"High Food Prices: An Investor's Dilemma" Forbes

"Finally, there’s the inflation part of the story. Prices at the grocery store are rising fast. The meat, poultry, fish, and eggs component of CPI has risen 25.6% in seven years, which represents 3.66% per year on average. The meat component has the highest weight (by far) in the CPI Food index."

"It hurts! High prices weigh on consumers, many of whom are unemployed or underemployed. Personal incomes are not growing, tax rates have risen along with costs for everything from rent to fuel to food. Don’t expect a consumer led improvement in the economy."

"The following chart shows the extraordinary relationship between the RFS and crop prices. We’ll focus on corn because it’s so important to the food supply. The price of corn was stable – between $2.00 a bushel and $2.50 per bushel – for 50 years until George Bush signed the Energy Policy Act in 2005. That blew the first air into the food price bubble we see today.
When the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 passed, officially establishing subsidies and the ambitious, escalating mandate, prices marched to all time highs. As you can see, they took a breather for the “Great Recession” before racing, yet again, to fresh highs as the drought of 2012 hit. Again, droughts come and go, but when 40% of the supply is diverted away from food production…well, corn prices peaked that year at $8.25 per bushel, a nearly 400% increase above their long-term average."