Editor’s note: this is Part Two of a two part series on ethanol in the US, its political roots and its disastrous environmental damage. Click here for Part One.
What is scientific fact?
Scientific fact is never produced by consensus. Science in general and mathematics in particular is unyielding in terms of standards of proof. Mathematics is the template used by the balance of the natural sciences for proofs. The precision of the “laws” of math and science are rigid and not subject to interpretation or “spin”.
For instance, we now refer to the Universal Law of Gravitational Attraction first theorized by Isaac Newton in the 1680s. This theory was subsequently proved and adopted worldwide as a scientific fact in the centuries since. It was not until science discovered sub-atomic particles a century ago that we suspect that Newton’s Law might not be so universal.
Another example is the Bing Bang Theory of the creation origin of the Universe. The key word is theory; it is not a scientific fact. The Theory of Evolution is just that, a theory. No matter how one thinks about evolution, the truth is that evolution, as theorized by Darwin and widely believed, is not a body of established scientific fact. Unfortunately, many who care not for or know little for science still lump global warming deniers in the same class as holocaust deniers. This is a scourge borne of political, not scientific beliefs.
The AP story refers to windmill farms to provide renewable fuels to combat global warming or climate change. Unfortunately, these wildly inefficient Quixotic electricity generators kill eagles and other protected wildlife. In the same vein, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is quoted in the story as saying about the environmental damage caused by ethanol, “This is what you give up if you do not recognize that renewable fuels have a place here. Not all renewable fuels are corn based ethanol.”
As the kids say, “NO, DUH”. Not all renewables have the devastating environmental effects that ethanol has either. Maybe Ms. Murphy should educate herself on biomass fuels, for sources of superb fuels that vastly out perform ethanol in terms of Btu density and reduced greenhouse gases. The story also casts ample doubt, if not aspersion on shaky government calculations proven to be inaccurate by independent third parties about ethanol reduces greenhouse gasses. Bravo
The story predicts that EPA will reduce the amount of ethanol required to be mixed with gasoline in the face of withering criticisms and the abundant evidence of the failure of ethanol as an alternative fuel. An unlikely coalition of oil producers, agricultural & food companies, and environmental groups is pushing for the elimination of the entire ethanol program.
As an illustration of politics prevailing over policy, the Obama administration stands by its ethanol mandate because it fears the fight with the agricultural lobby and the optics of aligning with “Big Oil”. Predictably, the ethanol lobbying group, Renewable Fuels Association spokesman denies any reason to change from ethanol. Again, “NO, DUH”. What else could he say?
The Obama administration continues to tout ethanol as an energy success and not an environmental failure. However, government predictions and promises often fall dreadfully short. ObamaCare and ethanol are but two examples.
Nothing will happen until the American people 1) recognize the problem and 2) get angry enough to act. Both conditions are colliding in the face of overwhelming evidence. Educate yourself and others and act in all of our economic and environment and sustainability interests.
Sustainability is the sole province of science and economics, never politics.