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Old 04-20-2008, 05:33 PM
 
955 posts, read 2,005,339 times
Reputation: 401

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MSNBC Business had an interesting article today which discussed ethanol production in this country. The crux of the article was:

The potential problem, economists said, is that strong demand for corn and other grains has caused prices to reach historic highs. That has led to record farmland values and steadily increasing debt as farmers borrow money to buy more land, finance the higher costs of fertilizer and seed and upgrade their equipment.

As long as the demand remains, good times for farmers should continue. But if demand falls, they could find themselves in a situation reminiscent of the early 1980s when the farm economy largely crumbled.

Among factors that could affect demand would be a change in the federal government's policy on ethanol subsidies, now estimated at about $6 billion a year, revisions in the farm bill that would lower support payments or an increase in the dollar's value, which would hurt exports.

Farm economists question whether the federal backing for ethanol will continue in the face of complaints that soaring corn prices are increasing food costs.


With an estimated $6 billion subsidy for ethanol production, and subsidies for other alternative fuels, coupled with the reported subsidies for petroleum energy, why don't we eliminate all subsidies and let the best and brightest find the optimal solutions. Are our lawmakers in the best position to try and drive solutions when they are not experts in the technology?
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Old 04-20-2008, 05:56 PM
 
6,759 posts, read 10,769,252 times
Reputation: 3008
This is exactly why I totally scoff at anyone who suggest that America's economy is free market capitalism. It is anything but "free market" when the government is constantly involved with subsidies, grants, bailouts, and other structural controls. Just like the deregulation of energy and everyone complaining about the mess and pointing to "free markets" as the failing. It IS NOT A FREE MARKET WHEN THE GOVERNMENT IMPOSES PRICE CONTROLS which is what happened when they deregulated energy.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:09 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
10,825 posts, read 22,195,917 times
Reputation: 10630
As I stated in my electric car thread, there is NO cheap way to fuel 300 million Americans commuting in their SUVs 60 miles a day.

If everyone drives electric cars there will be as much pollution coming from coal fired power plants as there was out of their gasoline driven car's tailpipes, not to mention what to do with all the old toxic batteries.
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:27 PM
 
212 posts, read 890,987 times
Reputation: 139
Default Wind Farms could power plug-in hybrids

According to Lester Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute in Wash DC, building thousands of wind farms across this country would provide power for plug-in hybrid vehicles. It's worth thinking about. We cannot keep the competition between food and fuel; people will go hungry. If you have not read his book, "Plan B 3.0" I highly recommend it. He outlines a plan for a sustainable future for this country and the world.

"One option that is gaining momentum is a shift to plug-in hybrids. Adding a second storage battery to a gas-electric hybrid car along with a plug-in capacity so that the batteries can be recharged at night allows most short-distance driving—daily commuting and grocery shopping, for example—to be done with electricity. If this shift were accompanied by investment in thousands of wind farms that could feed cheap electricity into the grid, then cars could run largely on electricity for the equivalent cost of $1 per gallon gasoline." Lester Brown, Mar. 2007
Plug-In Partners
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Old 04-20-2008, 06:35 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
10,825 posts, read 22,195,917 times
Reputation: 10630
The problem with wind, solar, & hydro power is that it doesn't produce electricity all of the time (esp at night). Obviously, nuclear has its own problems. These could be a big piece of the puzzle, but in 2008 'dirty' coal is still the only reliable provider of electricity.
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Old 04-20-2008, 07:52 PM
 
212 posts, read 890,987 times
Reputation: 139
Default We need leaders who have a vision of a clean energy future

First, we need leaders who understand the problem and promise to get us off dirty coal. And we need to invest money into development of clean energy. It can work if we try hard enough.

Think of the 450 mountains that have had their tops blown off in W Va. and the environmental devastation in that area of our country, every time we turn on a light or leave our TVs running for hours. Could it be that maybe we don't need as much electricity? That we are wasteful? By conserving, we could reduce our energy needs by about half.
Mountaintop Removal Mining - High Resolution Photos

We only have a few years to change the way we think about energy. Are we ready?
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Old 04-21-2008, 01:23 AM
 
Location: Ruidoso NM
1,483 posts, read 1,674,523 times
Reputation: 581
Wow going ethanol.......sounds green, but causing riots and starvation in other countries......I know I do not want there blood on my hands. it is diffently changing the face of global economy.
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Old 04-21-2008, 03:59 AM
 
6,759 posts, read 10,769,252 times
Reputation: 3008
Nuclear is the best solution right now for replacing dirty coal and providing sufficient energy while solar, wind, and hydro are being advanced. There was recently a uranium field found somewhere in the eastern half of the US that contains enough Uranium to power the entire United States for well over a year. There are some new nuclear power plants going up, one not very far from where I live. I'm all for it. Nuclear plants produce less toxic waste to our environment than coal plants simply due to the volume of nuclear materials needed being very small compared to trainload after trainload all day every day of coal being needed for coal plants.

As for powering electric cars, I think combination vehicles would be a great solution, although I don't know how feasible mass production would be. A battery/hybrid car that also has the capacity to burn hydrogen and or gas has been built, I wish I could find the link. Would probably cost an arm and leg right now, but a vehicle with that versatility would be great.
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