August 10, 2010
By: Ethan A. Huff
A recent report issued by the European Union has revealed that biofuels, or fuel made from living, renewable sources, is not really all that beneficial to the environment. Rather than reduce the net carbon footprint as intended, biofuels can produce four times more carbon dioxide pollution than conventional fossil fuels do.
Common biofuels like corn ethanol, which has become a popular additive in gasoline, and soy biodiesel, which is being used in commercial trucks and other diesel-fueled vehicles, are often considered to be environmentally-friendly because they are renewable. But in order to grow enough of these crops to use for both food and fuel, large swaths of land around the world are being converted into crop fields for growing biofuels.
In other words, millions of acres of lush rainforests are becoming corn and soy fields in order to provide enough of these resources for their new uses. The net carbon footprint of growing crops for fuel is far higher than what is emitted from simple fossil fuel usage.
According to the report, American soybeans have an indirect carbon footprint of 340kg of CO2 per gigajoule (GJ), while conventional diesel and gasoline create only 85kg/GJ. Similarly, the European rapeseed, a plant similar to the North American canola, indirectly produces 150kg/GJ because additional land in other nations has been converted to grow rapeseed for food in order to replace the native crops that are now being grown for fuel.
Ironically, the amount of direct and indirect resources used to grow food for fuel is quite high compared to that of conventional fossil fuels. Biofuels also do not burn as efficiently and can be rough on the engines they fuel. Ethanol-enriched gasoline can also reduce gas mileage efficiency by upwards of 25 percent, depending on the vehicle.
Growing food for fuel ends up increasing the price of food for consumers. It also puts additional strain on families, many of whom are already having difficulties making ends meet in current economic conditions.
When all is said and done, biofuels seem to be a whole lot of hype with not a lot of benefit. Environmentally, fiscally and practically, biofuels are a disaster. Fossil fuels may not be an ideal form of clean energy, but at this point in time, they make a lot more sense than biofuels.
March 1, 2010
By David Gutierrez
Contamination of drinking water by a common herbicide poses a greater health threat than previously believed, according to a report issued by the nonprofit environmental organization Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors average yearly levels of the popular herbicide atrazine in drinking water supplies, based on four tests per year. But the NRDC notes that levels of the toxin in drinking water regularly spike after heavy rains or during the spring when it is being widely applied, and that the four yearly testings may miss these events. The organization’s researchers found several such spikes in its own testing of water supplies in towns in agricultural regions of the South and Midwest.
“Our biggest concern is early-life-stage development,” said Jennifer Sass of the NRDC. “If there’s a disruption during that time, it becomes hard-wired into the system. These endocrine disrupters act in the body at extremely low levels. These spikes matter.”
Because atrazine is compatible with no-till farming, it is popular among farmers seeking to acquire a “green” label by reducing their carbon footprint. It is known to disrupt the hormonal system, and may cause cancers and menstrual problems in adults. It is considered especially dangerous to the developing reproductive systems of fetuses and children. The chemical has been shown to kill aquatic microorganisms and suppress the immune systems of larger animals, and it can cause limb or reproductive deformities in amphibians at levels as low as 0.1 parts per billion.
The EPA has set a threshold of 3 billion parts per billion for permissible atrazine levels, which the NRDC says would be too high even without periodic spikes. The NRDC analysis of 139 different municipal water systems found that 54 of them had a one-time spike higher than 3 parts per billion at some point in 2003 or 2004.
Home or municipal carbon filters can remove atrazine from water, but many municipal treatment plants do not use such procedures.
December 7, 2009
Charlotte Front and Center
No matter the level of foolishness we tolerate from our leaders, politicians, and celebrities as Americans, one action we don’t accept among public figures is hypocrisy.
As the Copenhagen summit gets underway, American plebeians have suffered the admonitions from people such as Al Gore who proposes a plan that could finally sound the death knell for our economy. The green suggestion from Sheryl Crowe to use one single square of toilet paper is certainly for ward-looking, and all from celebrities that produce a carbon footprint 100 times over what the average western citizen ever produces!
John Travolta has the gall to lecture British citizens on being “green” as he flys to Britain on one of his 5 jets. It’s a hobby, you know. The Times also reports on Gore : “At the end of the film An Inconvenient Truth, the unbearably earnest former presidential candidate Al Gore asked his audience: “Are you ready to change the way you live?” His own huge Nashville mansion consumed over 20 times the electricity of an average American home.”
The examples of non-green living are numerous and easy to list from Sheryl Crowes numerous bio-diesel tour buses to the $12,000 electric scooter lugged in to the Hollywood Green Conference on a diesel truck.
What about the green jobs? Who is going to produce them and finance them? Its hard to wait on an answer when you have been laid-off from your non-green,old carbon filled job. As the NowPublic says, these countries gathered at Copenhagen will be looking to the green west for their green dollars…those sinful, carbon-footed, American taxpayers.
December 4, 2009
Los Angeles Times
By Andrew Malcolm
No, it wouldn’t do anything for the environment.
But two Hollywood conservatives (yes, there are some) have called on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rescind the prestigious, profitable gold Oscar statuette that it gave ex-Vice President Al Gore two years ago for the environmental movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Academy members, are among a small, meandering pack of known political conservatives still believed to be on the loose in the liberal bastion of movie-making.
In 2007, the Academy sanctified Gore’s cinematic message of global warming with its famous statue, enriched his earnings by $100,000 per 85-minute appearance and helped elevate the Tennessean’s profile to win the Nobel Peace Prize despite losing the election battle of 2000 to a Texan and living in a large house with lots of energy-driven appliances.
Chetwynd and Simon were prompted to make their hopeless demand this week by the …
… leak two weeks ago of a blizzard of British academic e-mails purporting to show that scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit systematically falsified data to document the appearance of global warming in recent years.
The university is reportedly investigating the claims, which added dry fuel to the never-ending political debate over whether the Earth really is warming as a result of human activity or if it’s just normal natural cycles and the debate is what’s heated. The demand to withdraw Gore’s award provides yet another opportunity to argue.
The startling leak comes at an inconvenient time, just before next week’s United Nations climate change meeting, which will cause an immense carbon footprint with thousands of people flying up or over to Denmark to talk about saving the environment.
These airplanes will include Air Force One with its primary passenger, President Obama, who’s returning to the Copenhagen scene where he didn’t help win the 2016 Summer Olympics for Chicago, which could do with a little global warming at this time of year.
Simon, a screenwriter who is also chief executive officer of Pajamas Media, a network of conservative online blogs, conceded he knew of no precedent for the Academy withdrawing a previously awarded Oscar, despite decades of Hollywood high jinks and worse. But, he added, “I think they should rescind this one.”
The controversial leaked documents have been assembled here by Pajamas Media and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The joint demand by Simon and filmmaker Chetwynd is available on video here.
The television news-watching world in America has not learned much about the so-called Climategate scandal because it has not really been mentioned on the air except for a notorious cable news channel named for a three-lettered, wily, wild animal that often seems to revel in debunking liberal shibboleths.
Network news programs have been far more concerned with the obviously more important White House party-crasher story involving a couple of formally-dressed phonies.
The falsified documents do not come up in Gore interview excerpts published late last night here by Politico’s John F. Harris and Mike Allen.
This week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs claimed that global warming was no longer in dispute by most people. But a subsequent Rasmussen Reports poll of Americans finds only one in four adults believes most scientists agree on the topic.
And while only 20% claim to have followed the leaked e-mail story very closely, nearly 60% believe it is at least somewhat likely that scientists have falsified environmental data to support their own global warming beliefs and theories.
October 27, 2009
By David Gutierrez
Editor’s note: NaturalNews doesn’t agree with all the conclusions reached by the scientists being covered in this article, but we thought it was important to bring you this story on one of the many ways in which climate change discussions might start targeting — or even criminalizing — individual eating behavior. Just yesterday, the world climate chief (Lord Stern) declared that in order to save the planet, everyone would have to stop eating meat. As a promoter of plant-emphasis in dietary habits, we here at NaturalNews believe there is a lot of validity to the idea that cattle ranching is extremely destructive to the environment, but we also believe that blaming obese people for climate change is a gross oversimplification of the real problems facing our global environment. Sure, food and environment are intertwined, but I think more blame rests with the Big Ag companies, junk food corporations, junk-food-pushing media giants and the utterly useless government health regulators who still won’t require honest food labeling that might help consumers make better dietary choices at the grocery store.
Researchers are increasingly warning that the obesity epidemic is contributing to global warming, with potentially devastating consequences for people and habitats around the world.
“Food production accounts for about one fifth of greenhouse gases,” said researcher Phil Edwards, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. “We need to do a lot more to reverse the global trend towards fatness. It is a key factor in the battle to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change.”
According to Edwards’ research, the average overweight person is responsible for an extra ton of carbon dioxide emissions a year, compared with a person of healthier weight. Based on World Health Organization estimates, this translates into an extra one billion tons per year.
The bulk of this extra contribution comes from the fossil fuels required to produce the food needed to sustain a larger person. Meat, in particular, is highly fossil fuel intensive. According to a 2007 United Nations report, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transportation combined.
“It is time we took account of the amount we are eating,” Edwards said. “This is about over-consumption by the wealthy countries. And the world demand for meat is increasing to match that of Britain and [the United States].”
In addition, heavier people are significantly more likely to drive than thinner people.
“Moving about in a heavy body is like driving in a gas guzzler. It is … much easier to get in your car and pick up a pint of milk than to take a walk,” Edwards said.
An estimated 33 percent of men and 35 percent of women in the United States are obese, defined as having a body mass index higher than 30. Worldwide, 400 million people are obese.