Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Inconsistent Biofuel Data Is Questioned - WSJ.com

I am less surprised by the assertion that the Bush administation would misrepresent the truth about the impact of biofuel on price of food to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, than I am by the disclosure that large amounts of the soybean crop are being converted into diesel fuel. What's next, beef fat?

I'm virtually certain that Tyson Foods is going to build a plant that will turn chicken fat into biodiesel .

Even though one could argue that beef and chicken fat are byproducts, they do have food value as cooking fat and shortening. And what impact will there be on food prices in markets that consume animal based shortenings when gets diverted into gas tanks?

Food should not be used to make fuel for internal combustion engines. Food should be used to feed people and livestock. We need to phase out the internal combustion engine and in the meantime drive smaller cars less often. Lets ramp up public transportation, walk more and spend more time at home.

Oh, and another thing. Ban low density housing developments that are not built close to where a majority of residents work, shop and seek services.

Inconsistent Biofuel Data Is Questioned - WSJ.com

9 comments:

blondee47 said...

Actually I am reading a book by Raj Patel who states that Henry Ford back in 1935 had a love affair with soybeans and used them to build his cars..Patel further describes Soy as being found everywhere from biodiesel to the ink on your morning newspaper...and in clothes i might add....so maybe we truly can use soy in a way that can make a soy farmer rich and protect us from soaring gas prices?

Cameron S said...

I couldn't agree more. I think it is a troubling sign when a civilization burns food for fuel. Especially when the predominant choice, corn, is one of the least efficient for its intended outcome and is heavily subsidized.

I have read recently some interesting things. If people in North America drove less aggressively there would be a 25% drop in fuel consumption.

I also read recently that a farmer pressing seeds into cake and biodiesel suitable oil using a specialized seed press and a low rpm lister style diesel engine can become energy self sufficient.

A farmer interviewed said that with 100 acres reserved for canola oil that he can produce around 18,000 to 20,000 gallons of biodiesel, enough for his entire large farm. If he was to purchase fuel on the open market it would take nearly 600 acres of cropland to sell enough cash crops to buy the fuel at current prices.

Ecodensity is something that is gaining a lot of ground. Some people think suburbs and exurbs will simply die out and be crime ridden wastelands one day.

I live in a dense but highly livable (and safe) city (Vancouver), where I use my vehicle about 4000 miles a year (basically to leave town for trips / excursions) and walk 1 hour a day going to work and back, buying food, and all other item are within walkable distances.

The city planners here have practiced traffic calming techniques that discourage speeding through downtown and encourage biking and walking, HOV car pooling and using buses / mass transit. It is definitely not perfect here, and many more improvements and lifestyle changes are needed.

Jennie/Tikka said...

I agree again, B. But I live in Los Angeles - a place where everything in our financial culture is against that happening.

Things are mildly improving, I can report. We do have some light-rail restored. L.A. used to have a very extensive system back in the 40's but all those tracks were subsequently removed so we could buy/drive more cars. If you remember the movie "Roger Rabbit," its based on L.A.'s destroyed light-rail system and the evil car manufacturers who were behind it.

All along the light-rail stations now you see high-rise condos built right next to and over the tracks. They're incredibly convenient and very nice, making it possible for the first time in a very long time to actually go without owning a car (or at least not having to use it nearly as much for getting to work). Its also causing people to move OUT of the suburbs and BACK INTO urban/downtown areas that haven't been lived in by white collar folks since the 50's. Its suddenly cool to live in downtown L.A. again.

Still though, you need a car and in many cases, can't get a job without one (they nearly always ask you point blank in an interview if you own your own transportation, and is it in good mechanical condition).

Biofuels out here on the Left Coast tend to be homemade and cars that use them tend to be homemade conversions as well. Mostly its cars (and even some boats) that are using used fryolater oil from restaurants. The exhaust tends to smell like fried food!!

Once in a while somebody pulls out the idea of a bullet train for L.A. and the idea gets quickly shelved due to our heavy use of rail for freight traffic (which always has the right of way over transportation traffic).

Bike riding is a good idea but when your commute is two hours by car and 100 miles sometimes, it's not practical to try and bike it. Almost nobody has a short commute (under 30 minutes) in this town. If you do - you're truly fortunate.

blondee47 said...

Oh jennie there is no question that the united states is unique in that most suburbs would be considered rural for us canadians except perhaps Toronto and parts of Calgary.

I, like Cameron, put 12,000 km on my car in three years...even tho we pay 1.45 kilo x 3.5 for a gallon...a fill-up can last a week - and i live in a suburb of Montreal (most our suburbs are 10-20 min from downtown, mine is 10)

Cameron what's happening with La Lumiere? and where is Rob Feenie now?

I remember a long long time ago a friend came to stay with me from Miami and asked for directions somewhere and when she asked if it was far I said 'yes, it's about 20 minutes away'...she looked at me like i was crazy...that's so close it's not far at all...

but my sister who lives in Chicago drives almost and hour and half to get to the magnificent mile...nuts!!

Cameron S said...

Rob Feenie had brought in investors - who like most people with money thought they knew everything and brought in some chef from Gordon Ramsay's NYC restaurant (if I remember right)....

Eventually things became tense and Rob walked...

Rob hosts his own television show New Classics with Chef Rob Feenie. I think its on Food Network Canada.

Rob Feenie in February 2008 became a 'Food concept architect' for a west coast "fusion" style restaurant chain. Its decent food, good decor, kind of place people go to because its dependable.

I don't really eat there myself. I want to have transcendent experiences when I dine out. I think he was fairly in debt from Lumiere and decided to consult for a bit before he tries again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus_Club_Cafe

I could live in Quebec easily :)

I find Vancouver a bit overrated, and its very expensive. Luckily I do well and thrive here, but I would love to be closer to Europe and the east coast. It is pretty here though.

Cameron S said...

Oh - this also is worth a read

http://www.cactusclubcafe.com/news/chef-rob-feenie-joins-cactus/

Jennie/Tikka said...

blondee - its so bad here, that it isn't really unusual for people to own a home, and, have an apartment close to their job. Its become somewhat normal to stay in your apartment during the week and only visit your family and your home on weekends.

blondee47 said...

Cameron, Montreal might seem to others like the "paris" of Canada but as you well know politically that is not the case and we feel it here all the time....rob's show is not on tv here any more...

jennie, i cannot imagine living like that...btw here one call's them pieds a terre (or love homes LOL)and scotty if u are reading this u owe me a joke :)

Cameron S. said...

Oh - I would live in Paris if I wanted to live in Paris, I just would enjoy the cheese, local food, and living in an old city for a bit.

And being an easy distance from the east coast for restaurant pilgrimages :)