Green Energy Steals from the Biosphere

Earth has only three significant sources of energy.

First is geothermal energy from Earth’s molten core and decaying radioactive minerals in Earth’s crust. This energy moves continents, powers volcanoes and its heat migrates towards the crust, warming the lithosphere and the deep oceans. It can be harvested successfully in favourable locations, and radioactive minerals can be extracted to provide large amounts of reliable heat for power generation.

Second is energy stored in combustible hydrocarbon minerals such as coal, oil, gas, tar sands and oil shale. These all store solar and geothermal energy collected eons ago and they are the primary energy sources supporting the modern world and its large and growing populations.

Third are radiation and gravitational energies from the Sun and Moon which are captured by the biosphere as heat, winds, tides, rain, rivers and in biomass such as forests, crops and animals. These are the natural “Green” energies that support all processes of life and still support a peasant existence for some peoples.

Green zealots believe that we can and should run modern societies exclusively on “Green” energies, and they have embarked on a war on hydrocarbons. They need to be told that their green energy favourites are just stealing from the biosphere – they are not as green as they claim.

Green Energy Powered our Past, but cannot Provide for our Future

Climate Alarmists turn back the Clock

Three centuries ago, the world ran on green power. Wood was used for heating and cooking, charcoal for smelting and smithing, wind or water-power for pumps mills and ships, and whale oil or tallow for lamps. People and soldiers walked or rode horses, and millions of horses and oxen pulled ploughs, wagons, coaches and artillery.

But smoke from open fires choked cities, forests were stripped of trees, most of the crops went to feed draft animals, and streets were littered with horse manure. For many people, life was “nasty, brutish and short”.

Then the steam engine was developed, and later the internal combustion engine, electricity and refrigeration came along. Green power was replaced by coal and oil. Carbon energy powered factories, mills, pumps, ships, trains, and smelters; and cars, trucks and tractors replaced the work-horses. The result was a green revolution – forests began to regrow and vast areas of crop-land used for horse feed were released to produce food for humans. Poverty declined and population soared.

But new environmental problems emerged. Smoke pollution from burning cheap dirty coal in millions of open fires, old boilers and smelters produced massive smog problems in cities like London and Pittsburgh.

The solution was improved technology, sensible pollution-control laws and the supply of coal gas and coal-powered electricity to the cities. The air was cleared by “Clean Coal by Wire” at the flick of a switch and “Piped Coal Energy” at the click of a gas-lighter. In some places use of hydro, geothermal and nuclear power also helped.

In recent years, however, affluent urban alarmists have declared war on the carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and gas. They claim it is a pollutant and it causes dangerous global warming.

The Biofuel Curse

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), President Obama, and hisadministration think that alternative energy sources (like wind and solarpower) and biofuels in particular are the salvation from “climate change,”previously called “global warming.”

They view “carbon pollution” (a misnomer, as they actually mean carbondioxide, CO2) as the root cause of the current economic and environmentalmalaise in general. That’s why they blessed the nation with the “RenewableFuel Standard.”

I think the opposite is true; neither CO2 nor the “carbon footprint” is thecause of today’s many problems. In fact, the world today would be muchbetter off if that nonsense had never become a political football.

By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser
Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution –
perceptions, politics, and facts

Read More:

The Ethanol Disaster

Governments everywhere are mandating the use of ethanol, and giving tax breaks, pretending that they are doing good things for the climate, the environment and the economy.

None of these benefits have appeared, and ethanol promotion must cease.

The only people who truly benefit from government promotion of ethanol are corn farmers and the builders, owners and operators of ethanol plants. This stupid policy has huge costs everywhere else.

Just like their one-sided promotion of wind and solar energy, environmentalists choose to turn a blind eye to the environmental damage caused by ethanol promotion. These include:

  • Ethanol now consumes 40% of the US corn crop, pushing up the costs of feed for cattle, pigs, poultry and humans.
  • Millions of acres of native grasslands, prairie, conservation areas and wetlands have been cultivated for corn ethanol.
  • The extra corn grown has caused a large increase in nitrogen fertiliser applications and run-off. Nitrogen fertiliser is made from natural gas.
  • The diesel and other carbon fuels used to cultivate, fertilise, plant, harvest, transport and ferment corn and distribute ethanol to reluctant consumers creates more carbon dioxide than is saved by using ethanol in cars.
  • Ethanol is a poor quality fuel for combustion engines and has damaged many of them.

If ethanol is so good it does not need market mandates, tax breaks and tax penalties on its competitors. It should compete fairly with all other fuels and also with competing needs for corn.

For more information see:

Cows, Cars and Ethanol

My car operates on ethanol made from corn. My car produces CO2 but it is
“ethanol CO2” so that’s OK. The ethanol production is subsidised by the

I have a cow. I feed it corn. But now I will have to pay tax on the
CO2/methane the cow produces from the corn.

Why are cows discriminated against?

Read more: [PDF, 142 KB]

Petrol vs Ethanol

Ethanol produces more carbon dioxide than petrol.

Both petrol and ethanol produce carbon dioxide when burnt. But to produce the same energy requires more ethanol than petrol, and it produces more carbon dioxide.

Moreover producing ethanol from corn by fermentation also produces more carbon dioxide during the fermentation process. And then the dilute ethanol produced by fermentation (about 12%) has to be concentrated using a distillation process which requires more energy and more emissions. Burning ethanol rather than petrol thus probably increases the production of carbon dioxide.

For detailed calculations by Professor Jim Barrante see: [PDF, 38 KB]

James R. Barrante is an Emeritus Professor in the Chemistry Department at Southern Connecticut State University. He has devoted his last ten years to the study of the physical chemistry of greenhouse gases. He is the author of two textbooks, Physical Chemistry for the Life Sciences (in Japanese) and Applied Mathematics for Physical Chemistry.

Excuse Me. I’m Going to Need this to Run My Car


Fuelish Food Policies

The Carbon Sense Coalition today claimed that mis-guided government policies on global warming were going to cause a crisis in food.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that subsidising ethanol, taxing carbon fuels and covering grasslands and farms with trees would cause massive dislocation of rural industries and shortages and runaway prices for food.

Ethanol Biofuel is Uneconomic, Unsustainable and Un-green

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called for an end to all government promotion and subsidies for the domestic production of ethanol.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that all taxpayers, all consumers of food and most farmers will be harmed by the creation of an artificial industry producing subsidised ethanol.

“Subsidising the production of ethanol will waste taxes, harm the environment, cause sharply increased costs for everyone in the food chain, and do nothing to reduce carbon dioxide emissions or air pollution.

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