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:

More Destructive Green Policies

Creating Bushfire Hazards

A recent report from friends who suffered terrible losses of buildings, fences, pasture and cattle in the Coonabarabran fire commenced with the ominous and oft-repeated message: “a raging fire came out of the National Park straight for us”.

There is only one way to limit fire damage – reduce the fuel available.

Fuel load can be reduced in three ways – by grazing animals, by planned small “cool” fires, or by mechanical reduction with slashers, mulchers or dozers.

Australia’s grassland landscape was created and managed by generations of Aborigines who were masters at using man’s most useful tool – fire. Every explorer from Abel Tasman (1642) and Captain Cook (1770) onwards noted the smoke in the sky and the burnt trees whenever they landed. This burning created the open grassland landscapes that dominated pre-European Australia. Aborigines lit fires continually, mainly to keep their fires sticks alight. Their small patchwork fires caused no permanent damage to the environment and fortuitously created and maintained the healthy grasslands and open forests on which many animals and Aborigines depended.

There have been two major changes to the tree/grass balance since European settlement. In the fertile well-watered coastal strip, large areas of thick scrub and open forest were logged and cleared for timber, farms, towns, roads, schools and the domesticated grasses of suburban lawns. Most of those trees have been displaced by those people who now, in ignorance, are also destroying the grasslands and remaining open forests by locking up land and preventing any form of regrowth control. Having destroyed much of the coastal forests and scrubs, they are now destroying the open forests and grasslands.

Misguided tree lovers and green politicians have locked the gates on ever-increasing areas of land for trees, parks, heritage, wilderness, habitat, weekend retreats, carbon sequestration etc. Never before on this ancient continent has anyone tried to ban land use or limit bushfires on certain land. The short-sighted policy of surrounding their massive land-banks with fences, locked gates, fire bans and exclusion of livestock has created a new alien environment in Australia. They have created tinder boxes where the growth of woody weeds and the accumulation of dead vegetation in eucalypt re-growth create the perfect environment for fierce fires.

Once ignited by lightning, carelessness, or arson, the inevitable fire-storms incinerate the park trees and wildlife, and then invade the unfortunate neighbouring properties. Many of today’s locked-up areas were created to sequester carbon to fulfil Kyoto obligations. Who pays the carbon tax on the carbon dioxide released to the atmosphere by wild fires? The green bureaucracies and politicians are clearly mis-managing their huge land-bank. Aborigines and graziers did a far better job. There should be a moratorium on locking up any more land and a return to sustainable management for existing land holdings.

More, as well as:

  • Time to Build Better Infrastructure
  • Magic-gas Discovery
  • Extreme Weather is Nothing New
  • The Blind Worship of Windmills
  • The Last Word

Read the full report: [PDF, 65 KB]

Keywords: Bushfires, grasslands, parks, floods, infrastructure, carbon dioxide magic, extreme weather, windmill monuments, James Lovelock, CSIROh!, Monckton, politicians on drugs.

Greens Destroy Grassland Heritage

When Europeans settled Australia, much of the country was covered by grasslands and open forests. In 1770, that great botanist Sir Joseph Banks reported “very few tree species, but every place was covered with vast quantities of grass”. Many other explorers and settlers made similar observations.

The land had been kept in this state for centuries by aboriginal land managers using their main tool, fire. However, since 1788, the use of fire was progressively suppressed by settlers, foresters, city dwellers, bureaucrats and environmentalists.

Trees invade and then suffocate grasslands unless tree seedlings are kept in check by fire or by mechanical or chemical means.

The destruction of Australia’s ancestral grasslands has received a massive boost in recent years by green extremists aiming to remove human activities from rural Australia using national parks, reservations, crown land, heritage areas, Wild Rivers, vegetation orders, logging bans and now Kyoto bans on regrowth clearing.

Prevention of hazard reduction burning (the key tool used by generations of aborigines to maintain Australia’s landscape), lockout of grazing animals and the spread of carbon credit forests is completing the destruction of our savannah lands.

Once the grasslands become infested by woody scrubs, these quickly give protection to noxious weeds such as lantana, groundsel and boxthorn, and vermin such as foxes and wild dogs, cats, and pigs.

The amazing grasses of the world and their seeds feed most of the animal kingdom. The deliberate sacrifice of native grasslands to woody weeds is another suicidal green policy.

For those who would like read some fascinating comments by early explorers and settlers see: [PDF, 1.8 MB]

Fire and the Australian Landscape

“Australia, when Europeans arrived, consisted of a series of biota highly adapted to what we now call hazard reduction burning. The reason is that this is what the aborigines had been practicing for 50,000 years or so.

“They were greatly assisted in this by the existence in Australia of the “The Fire Tree”, the eucalypt. The eucalypt promotes fire and is resistant to fire, so that in a regime of constant burning, eucalypts have a higher survival rate and you tend to get the type of monoculture remarked on by many early scientists, including Charles Darwin.

“Early settlers repeatedly remarked on the constant burning carried out by the Aborigines and often described the Australian landscape as grasslands with widely spaced trees.”

Peter Stitt, Bushwaker and Environmentalist.

For a fascinating report on the condition of Australia when Europeans arrived see: [PDF, 1.8 MB]

We acknowledge that this report was prepared for the Murrumbidgee Catchment Management Committee and was obtained from the library of the NSW Farmers Association.

Carbon Sense Newsletter: Grass is also Green

You may have heard of Peter Spencer, the desperate Australian farmer who went on a hunger strike to draw attention to the fact that government bans on clearing vegetation had stolen his assets and destroyed his business. Peter is just one of many Australian farm families reduced to desperation and even suicide by seizure or sterilisation of their land to satisfy the voracious green god.

The most massive injustice occurred a couple of years ago, when, as a sacrifice to the Kyoto god, the federal government conspired with state governments to ban vegetation clearing on all property, even freehold. This was done in an underhand way to allow the government to seize carbon credits from landowners without paying compensation.

Many well meaning people, while not happy with the tactics and the refusal to pay compensation for property seized or devalued, think that there will be some environmental or climate benefits to come from all this.

Generally there are none.

Even if extraction of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was a good idea (and it isn’t), no tree can keep extracting it on a long term basis. Every living thing (including trees, grass, cows and humans) borrows carbon from the environment as it grow, stops extracting it at maturity, and hands the valuable carbon back to the environment when it dies and the body rots. Net life time extraction equals ZERO. It is absolute scientific nonsense to believe that trees can have a long term effect on so called greenhouse gases. Like everything politicians touch, short term appearances and secret agendas are preferred to long term reality.

Banning the clearing of scrub regrowth in our grasslands is also a backward step environmentally. Everyone can see and understand tree forests, but no one appreciates the grass forests beneath their feet. Natural fires created our grasslands long before humans occupied Australia. They are valuable environmental landscapes far more important to humans than the stupid carbon credit forests and eucalypt weeds now invading them. With closer settlement and excessive areas locked up by governments, fires no longer protect our grasslands and landowners must use machinery to maintain their grass. Preventing this is like telling a market gardener he is not allowed to chip weeds invading his vegetable patch. Every landowner tries to guard the long term value of his land. No one has a monopoly on knowledge on how to do it. Some properties may need more trees, some less – if more trees are a benefit, landowners will grow them without coercion.

Does anyone seriously believe that a few green politicians and activists can devise one dictatorial land plan for every property from Longreach to Wagga and then use legal bludgeons, land confiscation and a desk bound bureaucracy to enforce the co-operation of landowners?

The Senate is currently carrying out an enquiry into some aspects of this massive land mismanagement. It is a bigger scandal than the home insulation scheme, and few politicians are free of blame. The Senate will be surprised at the injustices that will be revealed by this enquiry.

The Carbon Sense Coalition has (in some haste) made a Submission to this enquiry. We urge you to read it and print it out for friends. See it at:

Even if you don’t read it, open it and look at the pictures.

We must not let them sweep all this under the table again. We need your help to get this short note to every landowner, every media outlet and every politician. Please help us spread it around.

And remember to tell everyone “Grass is also Green”.

Media Release
21st March 2010

Can’t see the Grass for the Trees?

The Carbon Sense Coalition today called on the Australian Parliament to repeal the vegetation clearing bans before Australia’s productive grasslands are lost to woody weeds.

The Chairman of “Carbon Sense”, Mr Viv Forbes, said that the Kyoto bans were introduced deviously by state governments acting as stooges for the federal government to deprive landowners of potential carbon credits without paying compensation.

“Now they are creating a growing public liability as trees invade ancestral grasslands.

“Every continent in the world had vast native grasslands, often treeless, kept free of trees by lightning fires, and supporting huge populations of herbivores and their dependent predators. The treeless Prairies supported bison and antelope; the Pampas supported deer and camelids; the Veldts supported wildebeest, zebra and antelopes; and Australia’s grasslands supported kangaroos and emus.

“Trees and grasses are in continual competition for soil space and access to solar energy. Old journals, diaries, sketches and photos can attest the fact that there are now more trees in Australian grasslands than there were 100 years ago. Some properties can document the substantial tree invasion even since the first aerial photos were taken in the 1950’s. This invasion has accelerated since governments started meddling in vegetation control.

“Human settlers, both black and white, have learned that fires were essential to re-invigorate the grasslands and control their invasion by trees. But with closer settlement, there are reduced opportunities to use fires to control trees and landowners must use machinery to protect their grass.

“White settlement in Australia has brought two major changes to vegetation. Firstly, in the forests and scrubs along the coast, timber getters and small selectors cleared the fertile soil for crops and farms. Human development and infrastructure ensure that these forests seldom recovered. Secondly, scrubby regrowth and trees have invaded much of the grassland and open forest.

“If governments want to turn back the vegetation clock, they should be removing towns, roads, railways, schools, orchards, housing developments, cultivation and market gardens from the once forested coastal areas to allow coastal forests to re-establish. But this would lose too many votes, so they advocate accelerated destruction of our ancient grasslands. Their hope is that this will gain more votes from tree huggers than will be lost from grass farmers, where there are few votes to lose.

“Today the grasslands support domesticated grazing animals and farms of cultivated grasses and legumes that are essential food sources for humans. Invasion of Australia’s grasslands by eucalypt weeds is destroying our ability to produce food, which will show up in the cities as rising food prices and declining jobs.

“These bans can have no long term effect on greenhouse gases. They will reduce food production and slash property values. They are cynical exercises in vote buying and international grandstanding which should be immediately abandoned.”

“If action is not taken we will soon reach a state where we can’t see the grass for the trees.”

For a fuller discussion of “Grasses, Trees, Climate and Food” see:

Disclosure: Viv Forbes and his wife own and live on a freehold sheep and cattle grazing property at Rosevale in Queensland. The tree population on this property has increased greatly during their occupation. The property is affected by vegetation management plans prepared without any consultation with the owners.

Man-made Global Warming Does Not Exist

The truth is emerging – there is not a scrap of evidence that man-made carbon dioxide causes global warming. The IPCC has been devious and incompetent. Australia should boycott all further meetings and withhold future funding. The most recent Ice Age ended about 20,000 years ago, and there was dramatic natural global warming – ice sheets melted, sea levels rose and the warming seas expelled carbon dioxide. All of these beneficial events encouraged the spread of grasslands, forests and animal and human populations over lands once covered by barren sheets of ice. None of these dramatic changes were caused by emissions from the camp fires of the Cave Men.

Full article: [PDF, 99 KB]

Where do plants get their carbon?

The essential ingredient for all growing plants is CO2 in the atmosphere. But organic matter in the soil is also of value for the plant life on which we all depend. It can only be put into the soil by growing plants (including fungi) and the bacteria, worms and other microbes that live on and beside the plants. All plant and soil carbon comes, in the end, from CO2 in the atmosphere.

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.

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