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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Is Jeb Bush running for President?

If he isn't, this doesn't make any sense to me.

CORAL GABLES - In one of his final initiatives as governor, Jeb Bush on Monday announced the creation of the Interamerican Ethanol Commission to promote the use of the alternative fuel throughout the Americas and slowly wean the region off gasoline.

Bush said his support for ethanol was shaped by watching the suffering of Floridians through eight hurricanes in the past two years, and the resulting damage caused by a temporary loss of fuel supply.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have alternative sources of fuel as we prepare for hurricanes?" he said.

Also launching the commission was Luis Alberto Moreno, head of the Interamerican Development Bank, and former Brazilian agriculture minister Roberto Rodrigues, who now heads the country's agribusiness council.

"For the last 35 years, I have been thinking how stupid has been humankind to build a whole civilization over oil, which is something that is going to finish one day," an emotional Rodrigues told a crowd of more than 100 mostly business leaders at the Biltmore Hotel.

Rodrigues said in the coming months the group will begin presenting "road shows" on ethanol throughout Latin America.

Bush leaves office in January. He said increased ethanol consumption will reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil, help improve the environment and provide a catalyst for poor nations to "grow their own energy."

Governor Bush must have never read this.

In 2004, approximately 3.57 billion gallons of ethanol were used as a gas additive in the United States, according to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). During the February State of the Union address, President George Bush urged Congress to pass an energy bill that would pump up the amount to 5 billion gallons by 2012. UC Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad W. Patzek thinks that's a very bad idea.

For two years, Patzek has analyzed the environmental ramifications of ethanol, a renewable fuel that many believe could significantly reduce our dependence on petroleum-based fossil fuels. According to Patzek though, ethanol may do more harm than good.

"In terms of renewable fuels, ethanol is the worst solution," Patzek says. "It has the highest energy cost with the least benefit."

Ethanol is produced by fermenting renewable crops like corn or sugarcane. It may sound green, Patzek says, but that's because many scientists are not looking at the whole picture. According to his research, more fossil energy is used to produce ethanol than the energy contained within it.

Patzek's ethanol critique began during a freshman seminar he taught in which he and his students calculated the energy balance of the biofuel. Taking into account the energy required to grow the corn and convert it into ethanol, they determined that burning the biofuel as a gasoline additive actually results in a net energy loss of 65 percent. Later, Patzek says he realized the loss is much more than that even.

"Limiting yourself to the energy balance, and within that balance, just the fossil fuel used, is just scraping the surface of the problem," he says. "Corn is not 'free energy.'"

Recently, Patzek published a fifty-page study on the subject in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Science. This time, he factored in the myriad energy inputs required by industrial agriculture, from the amount of fuel used to produce fertilizers and corn seeds to the transportation and wastewater disposal costs. All told, he believes that the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than what the end product provides your car engine in terms of power.
That is from a website at Cal-Berkeley University. Not exactly a bastion of conservatism. Science Daily also reported on Professor Patzek's findings. Corn based Ethanol is not viable as an alternative fuel source.

Corn isn't grown in Florida, so why did Governor Bush feel the need to revive this canard before a South Florida audience? Could his past denials of interest in running for President all be a smoke screen? Or is Governor Bush just an ill-informed idiot?

Bottom line- This initiative doesn't make any sense unless Jeb will use this stance so as to pander to Iowa caucus voters in a future bid for the White House.

Linked to- Hill Chronicles, Right Wing Nation, Right Wing Guy, Bright & Early,

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