[GWSG] Contrived disasters: grain ethanol, nuclear power, nuclear waste; methane; Big Ag, plastics, & Blake's "London"

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Mon Feb 21 08:49:31 EST 2022

1. Since 2005, as part of the national Renewable Fuel Standard, the US has subsidized the use of corn to produce ethanol to replace gasoline. A new set of calculations shows that ethanol not only produces as much carbon as gasoline, “in all likelihood” it produces 24% more. The RFS is the world’s largest biofuel program, responsible for raising the price of corn 30% “and the prices of other crops by 20%.” Grain ethanol is a disaster we need to cease inflicting upon ourselves. https://www.pnas.org/content/119/9/e2101084119

2.  Nuclear plants continue their record of delays, cost overruns, and safety issues in the US and France.  https://climatecrocks.com/2022/02/19/more-delays-overruns-at-giant-georgia-nuclear-plant-are-not-unique/

3. In the articles of the previous item we avert our eyes from the issue of what will happen to nuclear waste products. The timescale of nuclear waste disposal stretches far beyond our sight and our imagination. https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinero/2019/11/26/the-staggering-timescales-of-nuclear-waste-disposal/?sh=1897c80729cf

Wikipedia supplies much more detail. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioactive_waste

4. Methane is increasing in the atmosphere, where it produces about 85 times the heating of CO2 over a 20 year period. About a third of the emissions arise from the process of producing it as a fuel; another 30% comes from animal agriculture. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_emissions

5. Grain ethanol, nuclear plants, and the gas industry were all intended to provide bountiful sources of energy. People devised them with great ingenuity. Yet they join industrial agriculture and consumer plastics as mind-forged manacles, Blakean disasters on a scale we have trouble facing. All save nuclear engineering are rooted in the fossil fuel industry. We have alternatives to all five in sustainable energy production and sustainable agriculture. We are trapped only in our imaginations (and those of fossil fuel public relations people, who would like to convince us that we are imprisoned). To free ourselves we have only to step away. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_(William_Blake_poem)

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