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Posts Tagged ‘gjep’

Cellulosic Ethanol: Firsts, Failures, Myths and Risks

Rachel Smolker   Huffington Post Green

Wires have been buzzing with news about the “first” commercial production of cellulosic biofuels, a project of POET and the Dutch State Mines (DSM) in Emmetsburg, Iowa that is to produce ethanol from corn stover.

There have actually been several “firsts” already, testament to the fact that each of those ended in failure, clearing the path for a new “first.” For example, Ineos Bio in Vero Beach Forida announced it was the first back in 2013. But then followed in December with an “operational update” announcing they would be “de-bottlenecking over the coming year. Hopes were pinned on Kior, but after spending 629 million dollars on a facility in Mississippi they are now headed into bankruptcy.

We’ve been told for years not to worry about the impact of corn ethanol on global food prices because corn ethanol was only a “stepping stone” to cellulosic fuels. We’ve also been told for years — since the initial mandate or ethanol was adopted back in 2005, that cellulosic ethanol was “just around the corner.” So now we have the latest “first,” supposedly to be followed in short order by two others: Dupont in Iowa and Abengoa in Kansas.

The POET DSM refinery is referred to, absurdly, as “Project Liberty,” but investors are concerned that federal policy may not reflect their enthusiasm for the idea that corncobs will deliver us from oil state bondage. Does anyone really believe that we will achieve any significant degree of energy independence nirvana using biofuels?

Right now we are putting around 40 percent of our corn crop into ethanol in the US, which is causing reverberating impacts around the world. Globally, the biofuel boom is driving up food prices, stimulating land grabs, depleting soils and waterways and causing loss of biodiversity. And even with all of these impacts, biofuels are providing only about 2 percent of global transportation fuel.

It hasn’t been cheap either, dependent on absurdly generous subsidies. Project Liberty itself received $105 million dollar loan guarantee, $20 million in grants from the state of Iowa, USDA funds to support feedstock delivery and more. Our tax dollars at work. According to the International Energy Agency, global subsidies for biofuels in 2010 were around 22 billion, rising 67 billion per year to a cumulative projected accumulation of 1.4 trillion in subsidies from 2011-2035. What else could that money be used for?

Making fuel from corn cobs requires harvesting, transporting, storing, refining process, more transporting…. all of which require energy and infrastructure while also depleting soils, waterways and ecosystems. A government funded study published in Nature Climate Change recently concluded that biofuels made from corn stover would release 7 percent more CO2 than the gasoline they supposedly replace. (Dupont’s own lifecycle analysis (surprise surprise!) revealed a fabulous 100 percent greenhouse gas reduction over gasoline).

Another recent study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science reported that around 530,000 hectares of precious remaining biodiverse prairie lands in the western corn belt had been converted to corn and soya between 2006 and 2011 (i.e. since the biofuel mandates).

Removing corn stover or other agricultural residues means soils get more compacted and less organic matter is recycled back into the soils, which are also left more exposed to erosion. More soil depletion means using more fertilizers. Fertilizers are made with fossil fuels and their application causes emissions of nitrous oxide (a potent greenhouse gas) and contamination of precious freshwater resources.

The refinery process in use by Project Liberty isn’t clear to me, but involves some proprietary “enzymatic cocktail” followed by fermentation with DSM’s “advanced yeast.” Presumably these enzymes are produced using genetically engineered microbes, and the yeast also are genetically engineered.

Tinkering with microbial genomes via both traditional genetic engineering and recently evolving synthetic biology techniques is risky business that we appear to be plowing headlong into without much thought or oversight! Tiny single-celled organisms are near impossible to contain. They are also known to engage in a range of gene transfer trickery (such as horizontal gene transfer, which means passing genes not only from parent to offspring, but also to unrelated individuals. (It is the primary mechanism for bacteria growing resistant to antibiotics). Are we sure that these engineered microbes and yeasts will be harmless when they escape the confines of Project Liberty?

Corn ethanol was initially lauded as a path to reduce emissions from transportation, but has since proven to be a path to hunger, biodiversity loss, increased greenhouse gas emissions, water eutrophication and more.

Do we need to keep repeating history in pursuit of the myth that we can substitute living plant biomass for fossil? Is it not already clear that we desperately need to protect soils, waterways, forests and ecosystems? Is it not obvious that with a rapidly expanding population to feed, escalating climate impacts and dwindling resources, biofuels are a flagrant and dangerous waste?

Why not focus on the one thing that is absolutely guaranteed to effectively reduce emissions and deliver lots of collateral benefits: drastically cut down on fuel consumption? The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind, a gale force wind heading right down Wall Street.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

According to a recent article on Common Dreams by Sarah Lazare, hundreds of grassroots organizations around the world are uniting through the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit to put the spotlight on the corporate agendas that taint legitimate climate change actions.

Grassroots groups were mobilizing in early August in Richmond, California, in ongoing preparation for the People's Climate March and Summit. Photo: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Grassroots groups were mobilizing in early August in Richmond, California, in ongoing preparation for the People’s Climate March and Summit. Photo: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Current solutions to climate change, such as biomass and renewable energy, are false solutions, proclaimed as green and sustainable when, in actuality, they are not. They are false solutions that are fixated on profits, not on the environment.

Groups Slam ‘Corporate Takeover’ of UN Climate Summit, Call for System Change

by Sara Lazare, Common Dreams, Sept. 10, 2014

Ahead of the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, which trumpets itself as an event to “catalyze ambitious action,” grassroots organizations from around the world are warning that the global gathering, in fact, has been hijacked by corporations that are pursuing “false promises” and “exploiting the tragedy of climate change.”

“The undersigned social movements that all together represent more than 200 million people around the world, denounce [the] corporate takeover of the UN and the climate negotiations process and call for a deep systemic change,” reads a statement, released Tuesday by international social movement groups, including La Via Campesina, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and more.

“There will be no going back from the climate chaos if we do not fight for real solutions and do nothing to confront and challenge the inaction of our governments’ policy-making being hijacked by polluting corporations,” the statement continues. “It is crucial for us to unify and strengthen our economic, social and environmental struggles and focus our energies on changing the capitalist system.”

But this capitalist system will be heavily represented at the upcoming UN summit, which will take place September 23 at the New York City headquarters of the UN. The meeting was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to showcase “government, finance, business, and civil society” solutions to the climate crisis, according to a UN announcement. The summit, which President Obama is expected to attend, will not host negotiations for binding climate commitments, but rather will provide a platform for the announcement of voluntary commitments to cut emissions, as well a host of so-called private-public partnerships.

Read the full story on Climate Dreams.

According to a recent article on Common Dreams by Sarah Lazare, hundreds of grassroots organizations around the world are uniting through the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit to put the spotlight on the corporate agendas that taint legitimate climate change actions.

Grassroots groups were mobilizing in early August in Richmond, California, in ongoing preparation for the People's Climate March and Summit. Photo: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Grassroots groups were mobilizing in early August in Richmond, California, in ongoing preparation for the People’s Climate March and Summit. Photo: Grassroots Global Justice Alliance

Current solutions to climate change, such as biomass and renewable energy, are false solutions, proclaimed as green and sustainable when, in actuality, they are not. They are false solutions that are fixated on profits, not on the environment.

Groups Slam ‘Corporate Takeover’ of UN Climate Summit, Call for System Change

by Sara Lazare, Common Dreams, Sept. 10, 2014

Ahead of the 2014 United Nations Climate Summit, which trumpets itself as an event to “catalyze ambitious action,” grassroots organizations from around the world are warning that the global gathering, in fact, has been hijacked by corporations that are pursuing “false promises” and “exploiting the tragedy of climate change.”

“The undersigned social movements that all together represent more than 200 million people around the world, denounce [the] corporate takeover of the UN and the climate negotiations process and call for a deep systemic change,” reads a statement, released Tuesday by international social movement groups, including La Via Campesina, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and more.

“There will be no going back from the climate chaos if we do not fight for real solutions and do nothing to confront and challenge the inaction of our governments’ policy-making being hijacked by polluting corporations,” the statement continues. “It is crucial for us to unify and strengthen our economic, social and environmental struggles and focus our energies on changing the capitalist system.”

But this capitalist system will be heavily represented at the upcoming UN summit, which will take place September 23 at the New York City headquarters of the UN. The meeting was convened by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to showcase “government, finance, business, and civil society” solutions to the climate crisis, according to a UN announcement. The summit, which President Obama is expected to attend, will not host negotiations for binding climate commitments, but rather will provide a platform for the announcement of voluntary commitments to cut emissions, as well a host of so-called private-public partnerships.

Read the full story on Climate Dreams.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

180px-RodCoronadoLast Thursday, September 4th, Margaret Prescod interviewed Rod Coronado about his lifetime of work, whaling, and the Yellowstone Wolf Patrol. At the end, Rod encouraged listeners to go to this site in particular:
 http://www.gofundme.com/bk1big

Earth Watch is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

 


http://climate-connections.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ST_9-4-14_Earth_Watch.mp3

180px-RodCoronadoLast Thursday, September 4th, Margaret Prescod interviewed Rod Coronado about his lifetime of work, whaling, and the Yellowstone Wolf Patrol. At the end, Rod encouraged listeners to go to this site in particular:
 http://www.gofundme.com/bk1big

Earth Watch is coordinated by GJEP in partnership with KPFK’s Sojourner Truth show with Margaret Prescod.

 


http://climate-connections.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/ST_9-4-14_Earth_Watch.mp3

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization found that forests in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park are facing annihilation from the skyrocketing incidents of heat, wildfires, tree-killing insects and drought.

Photo: Climate Progress

Photo: Climate Progress

The culprit behind it all?

“No obvious cause.”

That’s right. The study basically concluded with a collective shoulder shrug.

According to the article, “Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says”, by Ari Phillips (@re_ari) on Climate Progress, the scientists only slightly allude to these changing conditions being the result of climate change.

Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says
By Ari Phillips, Climate Progress, September 11, 2014

The Rocky Mountain forests that traverse the West are under unprecedented danger from climate-related impacts according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The Rockies include national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Park, and are facing a “triple assault — tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought — that could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.”

According to the report, titled “Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk,” many western trees are dying from “no obvious cause” like the bark beetle epidemic or increasing threat of wildfire, with scientists suggesting that these deaths are due simply to the hotter and drier conditions associated with climate change. The mortality rate for old-growth trees in undisturbed forests has doubled recently, with a sharp increase in recent years, and there’s been no compensating increase in the number of seedlings.

Read the rest of the study’s findings at Climate Progress.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization found that forests in Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Park are facing annihilation from the skyrocketing incidents of heat, wildfires, tree-killing insects and drought.

Photo: Climate Progress

Photo: Climate Progress

The culprit behind it all?

“No obvious cause.”

That’s right. The study basically concluded with a collective shoulder shrug.

According to the article, “Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says”, by Ari Phillips (@re_ari) on Climate Progress, the scientists only slightly allude to these changing conditions being the result of climate change.

Trees Are Dying From ‘No Obvious Cause’ In Rocky Mountains, Report Says
By Ari Phillips, Climate Progress, September 11, 2014

The Rocky Mountain forests that traverse the West are under unprecedented danger from climate-related impacts according to a new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization. The Rockies include national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Park, and are facing a “triple assault — tree-killing insects, wildfires, and heat and drought — that could fundamentally alter these forests as we know them.”

According to the report, titled “Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk,” many western trees are dying from “no obvious cause” like the bark beetle epidemic or increasing threat of wildfire, with scientists suggesting that these deaths are due simply to the hotter and drier conditions associated with climate change. The mortality rate for old-growth trees in undisturbed forests has doubled recently, with a sharp increase in recent years, and there’s been no compensating increase in the number of seedlings.

Read the rest of the study’s findings at Climate Progress.

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Filed under Biodiversity, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

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Filed under Biodiversity, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Leave a Comment

Filed under Biodiversity, BREAKING NEWS, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Forests and Climate Change, Great Lakes, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Human made disasters, Industrial agriculture, Latin America-Caribbean, Oceans, Pollution, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Uncategorized

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Uncategorized

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Uncategorized

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Uncategorized

Photo via GM Watch Twitter

Photo via GMWatch Twitter

Last Thursday, Guatemala lawmakers voted to repeal the so-called “Monsanto Law,” a provision demanded by a trade agreement with the US that would have authorized the privatization of seeds and copyrighting of agriculture.

As this photo posted by GM Watch illustrates, popular resistance, especially from Indigenous communities, played a significant role in pressuring the final decision!

Guatemala strikes down “Monsanto Law”
TeleSUR, September 5, 2014.

On Thursday, Guatemalan lawmakers voted 117-111 in favor of repealing the ‘Monsanto Law,’ a provision of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States.

The ‘Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties,’ called the ‘Monsanto Law’ for its seed-privatization provisions. The agreement requires signing countries to adopt the law and adhere to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties.

Read the whole article at TeleSUR, found via GMWatch.

Article source: GJEP Climate Connections Blog

Photo via GM Watch Twitter

Photo via GMWatch Twitter

Last Thursday, Guatemala lawmakers voted to repeal the so-called “Monsanto Law,” a provision demanded by a trade agreement with the US that would have authorized the privatization of seeds and copyrighting of agriculture.

As this photo posted by GM Watch illustrates, popular resistance, especially from Indigenous communities, played a significant role in pressuring the final decision!

Guatemala strikes down “Monsanto Law”
TeleSUR, September 5, 2014.

On Thursday, Guatemalan lawmakers voted 117-111 in favor of repealing the ‘Monsanto Law,’ a provision of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) with the United States.

The ‘Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties,’ called the ‘Monsanto Law’ for its seed-privatization provisions. The agreement requires signing countries to adopt the law and adhere to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties.

Read the whole article at TeleSUR, found via GMWatch.