Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas


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Posted by calderhome@yahoo.com on December 28, 2007, 12:45 am



     On December 19th, 2007, George W. Bush signed into law an
historic energy bill that mandates massive increases in the production
of ethanol, which is to be used as "biofuel" to run automobiles and
trucks.  Ethanol is currently made from corn and other foodstuffs, and
all of the various forms of biofuel, including "biodiesel," are made
from food or from inedible crops which displace normal agricultural
activity.  Even at current limited levels of biofuel production, this
"renewable energy source" has already caused huge increases in the
price of food around the world, which can be experienced firsthand at
any supermarket in America.  Unfortunately, consumers/voters are
undereducated as to exactly why food prices have risen so

     The United Nations has officially stated that its charity
programs can no longer afford to feed the starving peoples of the
world because of high food costs created by biofuel production.
Earlier this year, Jean Ziegler, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the
Right to Food, denounced biofuels as "a crime against humanity" and
called for a five-year moratorium on their production.  Local food
banks in the United States are running low on supplies, and many
families who use to contribute to food banks are now in need of help
themselves.  When farmers plant more corn in order to cash in on
artificially high prices created by political biofuel mandates, they
reduce production of other crops, and thus food prices rise across the
board.  We use corn to feed chickens and cattle, so the price of
poultry, eggs, beef, and dairy products have risen substantially and
will continue to rise with no end in sight.

     The advocacy and use of biofuels is one of the greatest political
hoaxes in American history.  The ideology of biofuel production sounds
wholesome superficially, a kind of green, health food store way of
producing energy.  The problem is that the entire biofuel scheme is
based on lies and political selfishness, without any legitimate
science based ecological justification.

 1)  Biofuel production starves the poor and reduces our standard of
living by dramatically increasing the cost of food, which we all need
just to survive.  Of course the homeless, the elderly, the disabled,
and those living on Social Security and other fixed incomes are the
hardest hit.

2)  Biofuel production increases our Federal budget deficit because it
demands large subsidies to exist.  Without massive Federal subsidies
and political mandates, there would be no significant free market
demand for biofuels at all.  Biofuel schemes are energy socialism gone

3)  Biofuel production harms the environment by needlessly eroding
topsoil and encouraging the destruction of forests, which are
desperately needed to soak up excess carbon dioxide from the
atmosphere.  Carbon dioxide (C02) is the major greenhouse gas that
causes global warming, and the two great sponges of carbon dioxide are
the oceans and the forests.  The oceans are losing their ability to
absorb C02 as they are becoming increasingly acidic due to pollution,
so if we also destroy our forests global warming will accelerate that
much faster.  Do we really want to cut down forests all over the
world, from Indonesia to Pennsylvania, just to have more land to grow
corn, soybeans, palm oil, sugarcane, and other crops to burn as fuel
in our SUVs?  Biofuel schemes speed up global warming because the
entire biofuel production process, from beginning to end, releases
huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while destroying
native forests which naturally clean and rejuvenate the air we

     Roland Clift, a senior science advisor to the British government,
has stated that British plans to promote ethanol and biodiesel
produced from plants is a "scam."  On the subject of tropical
biodiesel production, Clift states that "Biodiesel is a complete scam
because in the tropics the growing demand is causing forests to be
burnt to make way for palm oil and similar crops.  "We calculate that
the land will need to grow biodiesel crops for 70-300 years to
compensate for the CO2 emitted in forest destruction."  On British
plans to produce home grown biodiesel from rapeseed, Clift points to
research showing the crop generates copious amounts of nitrous oxide,
an even more powerful global warming gas than CO2.

     Biofuel production will aggravate water shortages world wide
because water is diverted to grow biofuel crops and thus taken away
from our shrinking supplies of safe drinking water.  Biofuel use also
demands a dramatic increase in the production of fertilizers made from
natural gas, coal and mined minerals in a messy industrial process
which unleashes even more greenhouse gases.  Biofuels are a losing
proposition on every level, except for the big profits giant
agricultural corporations will make producing them.

4)  Biofuels schemes are a scientific hoax and an economic fraud
because they take more energy to produce than they yield in the form
of the biofuel itself.  We have to use large amounts of coal, natural
gas, and oil just to produce biofuels.  The economic numbers for
biofuel production do not add up any way you look at them, and at the
December, 2007, Conference on Climate Change held in Bali, Indonesia,
several studies were presented detailing the dangers of making
automobile fuels from crops.  Respected scientists warned that biofuel
production is destructive to the environment and will not give us the
clean "renewable energy" its advocates claim.  Just a few days after
the Bali conference ended, America's political leaders enacted a new
law mandating massive increases in biofuel production, the science and
the facts be damned.

5)  The biofuel hoax in the United States is fueled to a large degree
by domestic American politics and corporate greed.  Both the
Republican and Democratic political parties want to get the "farm
vote" in politically strategic farming states like Iowa, Ohio, and
Nebraska.  Our politicians have put political gain ahead of the
world's starving poor, the elderly on fixed incomes, and the welfare
of the American middle class.  Rich politicians can afford to pay the
dramatically higher food bills that biofuel production creates, and
they have decided to throw science to the wind and charge blindly into
what will inevitably be branded as one of the most destructive
political fiascoes of the 21st century.

6)  Making cellulosic ethanol from lignocellulose, a structural
material that comprises much of the mass of plants, is better than
making ethanol from corn, but it still has most of the drawbacks
listed for ethanol made from food crops.  Growing lignocellulose
yielding grasses on land we currently use to graze cattle will
increase the price of beef and milk.  We will still have to use
fertilizers made from natural gas and coal to make inedible crops
grow, and the entire process will erode topsoil and increase the price
of food.  If we grow switchgrass for ethanol production on "marginal"
prairie land, we will soon turn that marginal land into a desert and a
dust bowl, which it may turn into anyway due to global warming, which
biofuel use will not stop.

     Computer models for the progression of global warming show the
America Midwest and Southwest getting hotter and dryer, with much of
our farm and grazing land turning into desert.  We know that biofuel
use will do nothing to stop this progression, so why are we pinning so
much hope on an environmental battle plan that any fool can see will
blow up in our face over time?  We won't be able to produce enough
biofuels to run our cars, or enough food to fill our bellies!  The
biofuel scheme is another example of a basic lack of intelligence of
our politicians, many of whom also voted for the disastrous Iraq war
despite the warnings of more thoughtful advisers.  If you cannot plan
ahead and anticipate future trends, then you will lead this nation
into one disaster after another, which is exactly what is occurring in
Washington DC at this very moment.  Our Congress has become a chorus
of stupidity, and our politicians are leading us to national suicide,
not to the nirvana of energy independence.

     The very process of making cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass
and other plants has not been proven to be economically viable, and
the Bush energy bill assumes new scientific breakthroughs that have
not yet occurred.  Many of the plants being proposed as lignocellulose
yielding crops are weeds which will have a destructive impact on
wildlife and biodiversity around the world.  In practical terms, there
is not enough usable land area to grow a sufficient quantity of
biofuel plants to meet the world's energy demands.

     The prospect of growing algae to make biodiesel has more positive
potential than making ethanol from switchgrass, but large open algae
sewage ponds are difficult to manage due to contamination from
invasive algae and bacteria, and the inherent problem of finding an
algae that will survive wide swings in temperature and pH.  If a
sealed algae system can be developed that produces biodiesel on only a
small amount of land, and that produces much more energy than it takes
to manufacture, then algae based biodiesel might be a very positive
venture.  To date there has been no proof that such a system is viable
or truly carbon neutral.  If you have to run algae farms off the waste
of coal fired power plants, as has been proposed, then you have a band-
aid solution that will not stop global warming in its tracks, which is
what we need to do if we want our children and grandchildren to
survive on this planet.

     Dramatic increases in food prices created by biofuel production
will cause political instability around the globe, because food
products are sold in a world wide marketplace just like oil.  There
have already been mass public protests and food riots in Mexico,
Morocco, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Senegal over the high price of basic
staple foods.  Imagine the political instability in Mexico, Central
and South America, Africa, India, and Pakistan that skyrocketing food
prices and mass starvation will cause.  Will a starving Pakistan,
armed with nuclear weapons, make the world a safer place?  If American
politicians lead us down a path to global use of biofuels, we will be
leading the world into a historic disaster that can easily kill more
people due to starvation than have been killed in the Iraq war by
bullets and bombs.

     If we truly wish to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and not just
waste time on destructive political scams, then we will have to create
an infrastructure based on nuclear energy, improved electric car
battery technology, and hydrogen fuel, not on ethanol and biofuels.
Hydrogen releases water vapor when burned and is the cleanest burning
fuel known to man.  Hydrogen can be used in both internal combustion
engines and in fuel cells.  Hydrogen fuel can be made through the
electrolysis of water via electricity generated from zero emissions
nuclear power plants, which currently produce about 19.4% of our
nation's electricity.  We need to build large numbers of nuclear power
plants now using mass production techniques if we want to end global
warming.  Otherwise, we will just continue talking endlessly about the
subject with no positive effect.

     Nuclear power plants do not contribute to global warming because
they release no greenhouse gases at all.  You do not need much land to
build a nuclear power plant, and you do not need to make fertilizer to
make nuclear energy grow.  Nuclear power plants are not vulnerable to
attack by viruses, bacteria, fungi, insects, or competing weeds, as
are biofuel crops.  We need to get off the organic carbon cycle for
energy production and use inorganic nuclear power to produce the
highly concentrated energy supply that solar and wind power can never
hope to provide.  Even by the most optimistic estimates, solar and
wind power can only hope to satisfy perhaps 20% of our future energy
needs.  Solar and wind power tap into natural energy sources that are
far too diffuse to be collected on a large enough scale to power an
advanced, industrialized nation.  Solar and wind power currently
produce only about 2.4% of our nation's electricity, so even an
increase to 20% would be a major undertaking.

     One of the added benefits of nuclear power is that we already own
huge amounts of nuclear fuel in the form of nuclear weapons materials,
which can be converted into fuel rods for civilian power production.
The United States Government has hundreds of years worth of nuclear
fuel in storage thanks to the cold war nuclear arms race of the 1950s
and 1960s.  We can turn our swords into plowshares while paying only
the modest costs of converting high level weapons grade nuclear
materials into low level nuclear fuel rods suitable for power
production.  Unlike oil, we do not have to import nuclear fuel from
foreign countries or fight endless foreign wars to protect our

     Nuclear fuel rods can be reprocessed over and over again because
only a tiny portion of the nuclear material is actually used up during
each fuel cycle.  When you reprocess fuel rods there is very little
high level nuclear waste that needs to be stored.  The nuclear "waste"
is simply reused as nuclear fuel, and that is part of the reason why
France's nuclear power program has been so successful.  France relies
heavily on nuclear power plants and nuclear fuel reprocessing, and
thus France has the cleanest air and lowest electricity rates in

     The fears many Americans have about civilian nuclear power plants
are largely unfounded.  Our latest nuclear reactor designs are
carefully engineered with many layers of redundant safety and security
features built-in.  One single disaster that occurred in 1986 at an
obsolete Ukrainian reactor is no reason to be eternally afraid of all
civilian nuclear power plants across the board.  The old Chernobyl
reactor used a dangerous design that has never been used in the West,
and which did not even have a containment vessel.  The infamous
Chernobyl accident was caused by Soviet engineers conducting wildly
irresponsible experiments that were totally unrelated to normal
civilian power production, and which would never be allowed in the
USA.  The Chernobyl nuclear accident killed a total of 56 people, a
great tragedy, but not a nation killing disaster.  Far fewer people
died at Chernobyl than on Japan Airlines Flight 123 in 1985, when a
lone 747 jetliner crashed and killed all 520 passengers.  Americans
suffer over 40,000 deaths due to automobile accidents every year, but
there is no great human cry to ban automobiles.

     Nuclear power plants in America have an excellent record for
safety and for clean, pollution free operation.  By contrast, the over
600 coal burning power plants in the United States which produce
approximately 49% of our nation's electricity emit sulfur dioxide
(SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) which combine with moisture in the
atmosphere to create destructive acid rain.  Coal burning power plants
also release microscopic particulate matter which clog the lungs and
are attributed to causing approximately 24,000 unnatural premature
deaths in America every year, which is 428 times the Chernobyl death

     Coal fired power plants in the USA release approximately 200,000
pounds of toxic mercury each year, and nearly 10% of global carbon
dioxide emissions, which represents an enormous river of skyward bound
greenhouse gas.  On top of all of that, coal burning power plants
release radioactive materials into the atmosphere due to the natural
thorium and uranium content of coal.  A single 1,000 megawatt coal-
burning power plant can release as much as 12.8 tons of radioactive
thorium every year, and 5.2 tons of uranium each year.  The uranium
figure includes 74 pounds of uranium-235, which is the highly
fissionable form of uranium that was used to construct the "Little
Boy" atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

     Why is there so little fear in the United States of coal burning
power plants, but so much hysterical fear of much safer and healthier
nuclear power?  The answer is that nuclear power has been unfairly
demonized by a Hollywood entertainment industry trying to make a quick
buck (The China Syndrome, The Simpsons, etc.), and by scientifically
undereducated politicians and environmental activists.  The fact is
there has never been a single human death attributable to the daily
activity of nuclear power plants in the USA, and American nuclear
power plants produce electricity at an average cost of less than two
cents per kilowatt-hour (2004 figure), which is comparable with coal
and hydroelectric power.  Newer, more efficient power plant designs
and the mass production of major structural and control components can
bring the cost down even further.

     Nuclear power is the only technology that can produce an
extremely high volume of energy using only a tiny amount of land and
at reasonable cost, all without emitting any greenhouse gases.  That
is why the father of Gaia theory, British atmospheric scientist James
Lovelock, stated that nuclear power is the only way to have a large
human population on planet earth without causing global warming and
destroying the environment.  Please read James Lovelock's public
statement on nuclear energy, Nuclear power is the only green solution,

     The economic benefits of a nuclear based, hydrogen fueled economy
are spectacular.  The United States foreign trade deficit and Federal
budget deficit will be greatly reduced by a nuclear powered economy.
All of the nuclear reactors will be built and run by Americans in
America, who will make high wages and pay taxes to Federal, state, and
local governments, and spend their income at local American stores.
As the USA currently imports over 60% of its oil supply, all of the
dollars we now ship off to Canada (18%), Mexico (14%), Saudi Arabia
(14%), Nigeria (12%), Venezuela (10%), and Angola (6%) will stay right
here in the USA.  In the year 2007, the USA is estimated to have
imported a total of about 3.8 billion barrels of crude oil, in
addition to a tremendous amount of natural gas and other hydrocarbon
products which can largely be replaced by nuclear power.  At $3. a
barrel (12/24/07 price), 3.8 billion barrels of crude oil is worth
over 353. billion dollars.  The current Iraq war, which was fought
both for the State of Israel and for oil, will cost United States
taxpayers over 2,000. billion dollars (2 trillion dollars) by the time
all of the long term war costs are paid.  Obviously, a nuclear based
hydrogen economy will make the United States richer in addition to
saving us from desertification of our heartland, increased storm
damage and coastal flooding, and world wide starvation caused by the
deadly combination of global warming and the biofuel hoax.

     Hydrogen fuel produced from nuclear generation will be expensive
at first, but the price will decline over time as the infrastructure
grows and economies of scale lower production costs.  Electric car
battery technology will also improve, allowing Americans to drive our
highways without guilt that they are burning up precious natural
resources or polluting the environment.  Cars will pass by leaving
behind only a small amount of water vapor if hydrogen powered, or just
a near silent wind if electric battery powered.  Hybrid vehicles that
run on both batteries and hydrogen fuel will be common.  If you modify
a current production line Toyota Prius by giving it a hydrogen capable
gas tank, slightly alter its internal combustion engine so that it can
run on hydrogen gas, and rewire its electrical system so that its
batteries can be plugged into a charging station, then you have an
excellent hydrogen-electric hybrid automobile right now.  The nuclear
based hydrogen economy is achievable with current technology, and is a
long term investment in America's future that will pay more benefits
every year as opposed to the biofuel hoax, which will lead to
destruction of our environment, our economy, and our nation.

     We must remember that biofuels are made from food or from
inedible crops which displace current levels of food production.  With
a world wide human population of over 6.6 billion people and growing,
we cannot afford to feed our families and at the same time use
precious farm and grazing land to produce food products and/or
lignocellulose yielding crops to burn in our automobile engines.  Food
belongs in the stomachs of hungry men, women, and children, not in the
gas tanks of our Fords, Hondas, and Mercedes Benz automobiles.  If we
wish a fast, short term fix to rising oil prices, then drilling in the
Alaska ANWR oil reserve will do far less environmental damage than
plunging ahead with the biofuel hoax, and drilling for oil in Alaska
will help lower food prices, not raise them.  One positive idea would
be to use Federal revenues from sale of the ANWR reserves to help fund
the switchover to a national nuclear-hydrogen infrastructure.

     If you do not want food prices to double, triple, or even
quadruple in the next ten years, then write your Congressman, Senator,
Governor, and President and tell them that you do not want to waste
food production resources on biofuels.  Furthermore, state the obvious
fact that food prices are already too high and that you want all
biofuel mandates repealed and all biofuel manufacturing subsidies
ended.  If this is done you will soon see food prices declining
instead of rising, your local food banks will become full again, and
the United Nations and other charitable organizations will be able to
meet their moral obligations to help feed the world's starving
masses.  Biofuel production for use in automobiles represents a
needless man made disaster, not a blessing, and biofuels are
effectively agricultural products no matter how you make them.  We
should not waste or displace food production capacity if we wish to
feed a hungry world.
Christopher Calder

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