Biofuel and Blather: Apologists Try to Pin Ill-advised Farm Subsidy on Al Gore

Corporate apologists, politicians (and their media stooges) are twisting the language and misrepresenting the truth in an effort to deflect responsibility for a global food crisis that is being exacerbated by biofuel farm subsidies.

The issue dusted up last week when U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture Marian Fischer Boel blamed the global food shortage on people in India and China who are shifting their diet toward meat and away from vegetables.

But the facts get in the way: the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported in response that grain consumption went up in the last year by just over four million tonnes in India and slightly less than seven million tonnes in China, while in the U.S. it climbed more than 33 million tonnes. And the bulk of that increase has gone into the subsidized biofuel crop - a demand that has driven corn prices in the U.S. from $2 per bushel when President George Bush began his ethanol push to $5 per bushel today.

In Canada, where production of biofuel has tripled since 2003, the federal government - which has been otherwise resistant to any policy that might address climate change - has tried to paint the new farm subsidy as an environmental gesture.

“Good for the environment and good for farmers,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said as he announced a $1.5-billion ecoENERGY plan last summer to get more ethanol and biodiesel pouring into Canadian gas tanks. “Our government's investment in biofuels is a double win.”

But the spin gets worse. In the same story that included the above quote, Gordon Quaiattini, president of the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association, calls criticism of the diversion of foodcrops to biofuels, “intellectually dishonest.”

Quaiattini says biofuels have nothing to with growing world hunger, that there is plenty of food to go around. The problem, he says, is the world's poorest citizens can no longer afford to buy rice, corn and wheat.

Unable - or unwilling - to connect the rising price driven by his own industry to affordability in the developing world, Quaiattini instead tries to blame the whole thing on rising oil prices, which are certainly a consideration, but a minor one compared to the competitive effect of tens of millions of tonnes of food being diverted to make a “green” energy source that is not even very green.

The push for biofuel is nothing short of a huge farm subsidy, a traditional corporate boondoggle that is putting unforgivable pressure on global food stocks.

More unforgivable yet, however, is the cheap political points that some people are trying to score as a result. For example, Rex Murphy, the self-styled Canadian iconoclast, cuddles up to government and corporate position makers once again, arguing (accurately) that biofuels are partly to blame for world food shortages, but then blaming, of all people, Al Gore for the whole problem.

In truth, the former Vice President and Nobel Prize winner was warning a year ago that our turn to biofuels had inherent dangers. But in clinging to a “debate about global warming” that exists only in the minds of a shrinking and risible crowd of idealogues-for-hire, Murphy thrashes around in his thesaurus trying ever more desperately to make ludicrous arguments sound cogent.

No luck Rex. No luck at all.

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that bullshit and blurted out loud “what the f*ck?!?!”

Rex, like the resident trolls and harpies, is just being a useful idiot, but as for the rest of the named cast of characters, what do you expect from those who intentionally misrepresent the facts, actively spread disinformation, and deliberately lie to further their agenda?

“Rex, like the resident trolls and harpies, is just being a useful idiot …”

As opposed to being what, a useless idiot such as yourself?

“… what do you expect from those who intentionally misrepresent the facts, actively spread disinformation, and deliberately lie to further their agenda?”

Anyone who questions the radical AGW agenda is labelled with your slanderous words exusian. In case you haven’t noticed however, radical warmers have no power, political or otherwise.

You have to engage average Canadians and the diversity of opinions they hold if you hope to ever have any serious chance of affecting real change in regards to AGW. Unfortunately, your attitude towards “others” indicates this is not likely to happen soon.

my comment was slanderous.

Let’s take a look at that. First the legal definition of slander:

The US Supreme Court has defined slander as:
(1.) Words falsely spoken of a person which impute to the party the commission of some criminal offense involving moral turpitude, for which the party, if the charge is true, may be indicted and punished.
(2.) Words falsely spoken of a person which impute that the party is infected with some contagious disease, where, if the charge is true, it would exclude the party from society
(3.) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a person, which impute to the party unfitness to perform the duties of an office or employment of profit, or the want of integrity in the discharge of the duties of such an office or employment.
(4.) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a party which prejudice such party in his or her profession or trade.
(5.) Defamatory words falsely spoken of a person, which, though not in themselves actionable, occasion the party special damage.

Note the operative word ‘falsely’ in each of the five legal definitions.

Now to the operative words in my comments:

Misrepresent - to represent falsely with an intent to mislead or deceive

At least 56 cases of misrepresentation have been demonstrated in this single example from the Heartland Institute alone. No falsehood here.

Disinformation - false and deliberately misleading information intended to influence opinion or perception

Numerous examples of false and deliberately misleading information intended to influence opinion or perception originating from the denialsphere can be demonstrated, ranging from doctored and fabricated graphs (falsified by commission) to truncated graphs (falsified by omission). Again, no falsehood in my comment.

Lie - a falsehood or untrue statement intended to deceive

The lies emanating from the denialsphere are legion, ranging from truly slanderous ones told about the financial motivations of climate scientists to those told by energy companies that CO2 is harmless. Again, no falsehood in my comment.

If it walks like a duck, floats like a duck, flies like a duck and quacks like a duck, then call it a bloody duck.

At its core, the denialsphere is made up of those who do not hesitate to willfully misrepresent the science and scientists, actively spread fabricated disinformation about the science and scientists, and deliberately lie about the science and scientists to further their agenda.

Go ahead, try to sue me for slander and libel.

Go ahead, try to sue me for slander and libel.

Sue an anonymous poster on the internet who hides behind a made up name? ROFLMAO!

If it walks like a duck, floats like a duck, flies like a duck and quacks like a duck, then … it’s probably Exusian. ;)

Well I have a whole brain and have zero interest in knowing your real name Exusian, so what does that say?

You’re just another dour warmer regurgitating the alarmist lines fed to you. Cheers!

Yes you are right, some of the mentioned people do tell a lot of disinformation.

I think that is their job and they were paid to do so. The political system of the USA is too vulnerable to corruption and theft.

See it as a normal business for them.

Of course I am right, I thought that went without saying?

Not sure what your point is however Roxana. I would argue it is the warmists, in particular the more ideological ones, who have spread the most amount of harmful disinformation.

Not sure why you dragged the USA into the discussion (gratuitous anti-American slur coming?) either but I’m sure it’s irrelevant to the topic.

So what point were you trying to make?

is a stark reminder that we have reached certain limits. There is very little “wiggle room” (tolerance) for anything going wrong in any one of the wide range of factors influencing the general well-being of our species. In the past it hasn’t been as critical – the slack could be made up here or there. But all it takes now is for an increase in people who can afford to eat meat to throw a whole system out of kilter. I remember an episode of MASH in which Frank “Ferret-face” Burns was ranting on about the North Koreans all wanting our lawnmowers. The trouble is, he was right, in a way. The west has set a standard for lifestyle and will brook no sacrifices. The developing world wants the same standard. Now we will find out how much the planet can REALLY take …

Fern Mackenzie

oh, look – here come Rob & Troll …

let’s try ignoring them this time, ok?

I do try, dear fellow, I really do try. Went for weeks once …

Fern Mackenzie

Remember how well that worked when John Kerry tried ignoring “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth”?

that you’re ignoring them by prefacing your comment with something like “Skipping over the useless troll….” and then staying on the thread topic.

I’ve always been in favor of diversity in terms of energy production. When it comes to biofuels I’ve always had the cautious notion as the energy gain per unit produced is so low, but there is potential there. A variety of biomass sources have the potential for fuel production but with currently tech it seems those high in sugars or starches are the only economical ones for ethanol production. I posted a long while back that biofuels in the current state are just the starting point. Unfortunately it seems overpopulation, food production stress (decreasing yields due to soil loss and drought), and first world over consumption of everything is going to use biofuels instead as a scapegoat.

With oil now at 122 US a barrel and a variety of sources predicting 200 within 6 months to 2 years being a possibility, I don’t expect to see biofuel production stop as their profit is directly linked to energy prices and in general a shortage of fuel. What I’d hope to see is increasing focus away from food crops but I don’t expect to see that soon as it seems first world concerns over energy shortages and trying to keep fuel costs low to keep economic growth going are more important than third world food shortages. Though perhaps I am wrong on this. The government of Canada estimates that we are saving 1% in terms of CO2 emissions by using biofuels, clearly not making much of an impact to get our emissions down. Cant help but think there is something else government could subsidize……..

Mr. Hoggan must have watched a different commentary by Rex Murphy then the one I did. How Mr. Hoggan could say Rex Murphy blamed everything on Al Gore is beyond me.

And to quote Al Gore concerning biofuels:

“If it is produced in a careful way, the strategy of producing more biofuels can be part of the solution for the climate crisis without causing damage to the environment.” - Al Gore

Sure sounds like Al supports biofuels to me.

If it is produced in a careful way, the strategy of producing more biofuels can be part of the solution for the climate crisis without causing damage to the environment.
Fern Mackenzie

That’s self evident Fern. Who is going to advocate producing biofuels in an uncareful way? Duh.

Those are probably the only names that ever come to your mind Hugh. You don’t exactly come across as an independent thinker.

You asked for names and you got 3.
And your response? Insults…..

May 11, 2007

No Richard, not last year’s news - 1994’s news i.e. the year when Gore started to do his dirty work, which is what we’ve been trying to draw to your attention. Dumkopf.

What the heck is that supposed to mean, “last year’s news”?

Do you have any evidence that the Reverend Gore has changed his support for bio-fuels within the last year Richard?

I thought not.

See Paul? I told you reading the links in the posts can be useful. Fern is right though – you should pay attention to the caveats. The one at the beginning of the same article you quote is more important than the wiggle language pointed to by her, though:
BUENOS AIRES – (AP) – Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned Friday that the drive to produce alternative fuels to combat global warming must not create new forms of environmental damage.

”Every potential solution much be handled carefully and the danger with biofuels is that extremely valuable forests will be destroyed unnecessarily,” said Gore, whose global warming documentary An Inconvenient Truth won an Academy Award this year. “Another danger is that, if it is not pursued carefully, it will drive food prices up.”

He predicted the problem. And who doesn’t support biofuels? A supporter of biofuels doesn’t necessarily support the method currently legislated/subsidized.

Since Hoggan is a PR man, it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s trying to deflect the blame for the biofuel fiasco onto his ideological enemies, from where it rightly belongs – his own mob of enviromental alarmists.

What is surprising is the ineptitude and outright audacity with which he attempts to revise history. This time, Hoggan has bitten off more than he can chew.

Not only would the biofuel industry not even exist as it does today, but guess who not only advocated it, but also rescued it from dying a natural death?

Excerpt from a speech by Vice President Al Gore, December 1, 1998:

“I was also proud to stand up for the ethanol tax exemption when it was under attack in the Congress – at one point, supplying a tie-breaking vote in the Senate to save it. The more we can make this home-grown fuel a successful, widely-used product, the better-off our farmers and our environment will be.”

It should be pretty obvious by now, that any policy advocated by environmentalists is pure irresponsible idiocy. Hoggan disowns all negative consequences after the fact, and lies about it. Now he seeks to replace bad policies of tax subsidies with even more bad policies of tax subsidies, based on the latest whims of “environmentalists”.

Isn’t it time we stopped pandering to fools who pass themselves off as “environmentalists”, and treat them as the capricious, opportunistic ideologues they obviously are?

Since George W Bush and Mr Harper are pushing bio-fuel really hard right now….does that make them environmentalists and irresponsible idiots?

YES. Politicians who suck up for the warmist vote are, by definition, irresponsible (and unprincipled) idiots. Now that the warmists are desperately trying to distance themselves from the biofuel silliness, a very “intersting” situation is developing.

Good point ZOG. Yes, Harper and Bush are both POLITICIANS. As such, in a democratic system, they are of necessity bound to pander to certain entrenched groups – many of which were nurtured under previous government policies.

While I generally support Stephen Harper and the CPC, and I consider myself a conservative, I am not duty-bound to agree with or approve of everything they do.

I think where the cranial melt-down comes for leftists is that they cannot concieve of a political philosophy not modelled on their own. Conservatives tend to encompass a wide spectrum of opinion, unlike the leftist conception of a monolithic and inerrant central comittees.

I’m glad people can challenge the party they support and differentiate parties from philosophies. That’s good. The stuff you wrote about the right being more diverse is a load. Last ballot I looked at, there was one Conservative Party (got rid of the word Progressive), and a heap of things to the left of that including one Communist Party, and one Marxist-Leninist Party. Please note: I’m a conservative.

a Conservative, that is, but as they say, “Some of my best friends …”

Nor am I a Marxist, Leninist or Communist. It’s a huge issue with me that science has been politicized to such a degree that matters of global importance are being trivialized in this way. These issues transcend politics, they affect us all. It won’t matter much whether I advocate universal health care or private clinics if all of the hospitals in Bangladesh and the Yangtse delta are bailing water out of their emergency wards. What happens when the coastal flood zones are inundated, and the already stressed-out agricultural areas have to absorb the eco-refugee population while still producing the same amount of food (or more)? Maybe a melodramatic scenario, but my point is this: there are things we can do to slow this down. Why are we talking about communists under the bed?

Fern Mackenzie

The AGW-deniers want to frame it as a war between ideologies and try to claim the high ground. They don’t want people discussing real issues and they certainly don’t want people to think about the science. Importantly, the polarization they advocate in describing this as being about ideology is exactly what Rob claims to dislike.

” What happens when the coastal flood zones are inundated, and the already stressed-out agricultural areas have to absorb the eco-refugee population while still producing the same amount of food (or more)?”

Don’t worry, we’ll have all been enslaved by an army of ruthless killer-robots which have risen up against us, long before that ever happens.

Unless, of course, we can perfect an effective anti-robot death ray.

I say we act now.

“Maybe a melodramatic scenario”

Ya’ think?
But melodramatic scenarios are the best kind. Very exciting. Beats imagining yourself dying in your bed at 84 of congestive heart failure. Which is statistically only slightly more likely.

“but my point is this: there are things we can do to slow this down.”

Of course there are. How hard can it be to make an anti-robot death ray? Or control the Earth’s climate?

“i” before “e” except after “c”

Fern Mackenzie

“”i” before “e” except after “c”
Fern Mackenzie”

Gosh, Fern, you sure “put me in my place”.

Let that be a lesson to anyone so foolish as to think they can lock horns with the likes of you.

Ever notice that Rex Murphy never really makes a point or apparently takes a stand on issues despite his pretentious words?

Yet another great media agent of no-change serving to confuse the public about an issue of great importance - a perfect addition to the repertoire of AGW deniers.

No, I never noticed that Jon. You must be a little dense if you can’t understand what Murphy is saying.

Yes, there is definitely ideological conflict within his presented statements.

For example, he presents himself as a “true” Canadian libertarian iconoclast, yet refers (in his video) to the need to avoid upsetting the world’s “interdependent” economy.

In other words, despite his seemingly intellectual critique of celebrities and institutions, Rex offers no solutions or alternatives to draw upon leaving us with the prospect of doing nothing.

“Ever notice that Rex Murphy never really makes a point or apparently takes a stand on issues despite his pretentious words?”

That’s pretty funny. Rex Murphy, pretentious?! Murphy is one of the few erudite and clear-headed people left in Canadian journalism.

Perhaps you are so used to the mealy-mouthed pablum usually offered by the CBC, being exposed to Rex Murphy has left you in fear of a life of sobriety?

they need to be put in their place.

Fern Mackenzie;

about the trolls and intellectual kite enthusiasts, you said:

they need to be put in their place.

Trolls, and their type do have a place;

it is at the Happy Hour Bar and Lounge where drinks are cheap, chicken wings are hot, conversation is minimally light and related to their dating fantasies and their libertarian ways are protected.

But, they like all of us have no place to hide when global warming and subsequent drought causes us to ration beer.

John McCormick