Can’t say they didn’t warn us.

Via on Apr 4, 2008

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Years ago, Lester Brown (author of “Plan B”) and other enviro-stars warned that if we didn’t go renewable (solar, wind) not only would we attain Peak Oil production (meaning diminishing returns from here on out) but the biofuels craze (not to be confused with veggie biodiesel, which is aok by us) would cause corn and wheat prices to go through the roof.

Today’s headline: “Corn jumps to $6 a bushel.”

The good news—if we took our subsidies from oil and put ‘em toward wind and solar, we could go sustainable as a nation faster than you can say “we’ve done it before—as with our war effort in WWII.”

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One Response to “Can’t say they didn’t warn us.”

  1. Heather says:

    Check out this excerpt from a New Yorker [ http://www.newyorker.com ] article, written by Michael Specter, about how the growth of biofuels has catalyzed rainforest destruction, creating more carbon that they offset:

    Just two countries—Indonesia and Brazil—account for about 10 percent of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. Neither possesses the type of heavy industry that can be found in the west, or for that matter in Russia or India. Still, only the United States and China are responsible for greater levels of emissions. That is because tropical forests in Indonesia and Brazil are disappearing with incredible speed. “It’s really very simple,” John O. Niles told me. Niles, the chief science and policy officer for the environmental group Carbon Conservation, argues that spending five billion dollars a year to prevent deforestation in countries like Indonesia would be one of the best investments the world could ever make. “The value of that land is seen as consisting only of the value of its lumber,” he said. “A logging company comes along and offers to strip the forest to make some trivial wooden product, or a palm-oil plantation. The governments in these places have no cash. They are sitting on this resource that is doing nothing for their economy. So when a guy says ‘I will give you a few hundred dollars if you let me cut down these trees,’ it’s not easy to turn your nose up at that. Those are dollars people can spend on schools and hospitals.” fines, or in the form of less access to the kind of fresh, local produce that the country is crying out for.
    The ecological impact of decisions like that are devastating. Decaying trees contribute greatly to increases in the level of greenhouse gases. Plant life absorbs CO2. But when forests disappear, the earth loses one of its two essential carbon sponges (the other is the ocean). The results are visible even from space. Satellite photographs taken over Indonesia and Brazil show thick plumes of smoke rising from the forest. According to the latest figures, deforestation pushes nearly six billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. That amounts to thirty million acres—an area half the size of the United Kingdom—chopped down each year. Put another way, according to one recent calculation, during the next 24 hours the effect of losing forests in Brazil and Indonesia will be the same as if eight million people boarded airplanes at Heathrow Airport and flew en masse to New York.

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