Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh, Germany!

I would be cross too:

"It's absolutely outrageous that beer is getting even more expensive," Glutsch said, gulping down the last swig of his half-liter dark beer at lunch. "But there's nothing we can do about it — except drinking less and that's not going to happen."

The price of beer is going up in Germany due to the politics of global warming. Farmer's are giving up growing barley and are growing other crops used for biofuels. The effect has left a high demand for barley causing the price to double. Naturally everyone, including brewers must raise their prices to cover the costs.

This of course is what the global warming crowd would have us do: pay more for everything or forgo conveniences in the name of the environment and the children.

5 comments:

Psyclist said...

As stated in the linked article: "Beer prices are a very emotional issue in Germany — people expect it to be as inexpensive as other basic staples like eggs, bread and milk," said Erdmann...
Insert Gasoline in place of Beer and US in place of Germany, and you have the US perspective.

I believe this article represents nothing more than economics. Biofuels are competitive with other fuels because of the cost of gasoline and diesel. I am no advocate of using agriculture to supplement energy needs. In the US, if you live in a corn state like IA, MN, NE or any other corn belt area, the elected officials will push renewable fuels. Not for the virtue of the fuel, but for the votes. The farmers will get more money. Subsidizing fuel in the US makes senseless agricultural practices commonplace.

"This of course is what the global warming crowd would have us do: pay more for everything or forgo conveniences in the name of the environment and the children."

This statement reflects the current dymanic in America because of rising fuel cost. The US economy is almost entirely strucuted on fossil fuels, specifically crude oil for energy.

Keep in mind that the "global warming crowd" is interested in a habitable earth for thier and your children. That means protection of the environment, or maintaining the status quo.

Why do you think that global warming does not exist and if it does exist (as any credible scientist will argue) what should be done?

John said...

Scott,

I agree that biofuels are only competitive because they are heavily subsidized by the government.

But I believe the primary reason the pressure to subsidize biofuels exists is because of the environmental lobby (the global warming crowd) has hoodwinked us into thinking that the use of fossil fuels is causing global warming.

I don't think the agricultural lobby could have pulled this off without the environmentalists creating a culture of fear around the state of the environment.

For the record, I don't necessarily believe the earth isn't warming. I believe the earth's temperature is self regulating and that it goes through cycles of warming and cooling. I do have serious doubts about the ability of man to change the climate of the earth--hot or cold.

Psyclist said...

It is apparent when looking at the geologic record that there are periods of warming and cooling. These events are correlated to milankovich cycles, and periods of climatic change. Climatic change, presence of gasses in the atmosphere are recorded in the cold regions of the world. As you look at the levels of CO2 and warm periods, parallel patterns emerge. Since the industrial revolution, we have consumed fossil fuels with increasing carbon density. Transitioning from wood to coal to crude oil to natural gas. At each iterative step, we have increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Put simply, if we were to attempt to run all of our energy needs with wood, there would be no more trees in a short amount of time. That represents that we put carbon in the atmosphere at a rate faster than natural mechanisms can sequester carbon.
It is not disputable that we input more carbon in the atmosphere in a very stable form that takes a signicantly long period to remove. It is akin to filling a leaking pail with a full flow hose. Until the rate of addition is equal to rate of removal, it will accumulate. This is simple mass balance.
Now we have atmospheric CO2 at levels that have not been seen in geologic time. Add to that fact that, when looking at the historical drivers of climate change, we should be entering cooling period at this time versus the current evidence of warming. I am confident that the next 20 years will answer the skeptics and demonstrate that humans can change the face of the planet and the climate.
I would invite you to look very seriously at historic climate data, the accepted reasons for the hot and cold periods, and review our present situation in light of that data. It is easy to focus on a narrow set of data that tells a comfortable story instead of looking at the sobering reality that the data reveals.

bobbydale said...

John,

Ethanol has not just been supported by "tree-huggers". It has been supported by large companies, because it would allow them to avoid larger technical innovations that would be more meaningful for the environment and our energy consumption. Instead of making cars that get 60 or 70 miles to the gallon, now they can retrofit existing cars simply. Ethanol only allows us to tame our "addiction to foriegn oil," but does not force us to look at the larger problem of excessive consumption.

This "BioFuel" stuff has not actually been supported by very many with in the "Global Warming Crowd." Because of many issues with ethanol:
1. The amount of fuel needed to plant, grow, harvest and process this into fuel.
2. The fact that it is only cost effective to produce ethanol if gasoline prices continue to rise above 3.00 per gallon.
3. Most cars get slightly worse fuel economy when using ethanol.
4. The emissions haven't been proven to be any better.
This fuel has many of the same issues as petroleum. But has one major new one that is highlighted by this article:
5. Food and fuel are now in direct competition.
Will the corn go to the grocery store, or to the ethanol plant? If more goes to the ethanol plant, then the corn for your 4th of July party will cost more. Now in Germany the farmers are choosing not to grow grains for beer, because they will make more money growing grains for fuel. Ethanol has been our current administrations attempt to create a more healthy environment, and I also believe that it seems to be a little short sighted.

Talk to you later,

Bob

John said...

Bob,

Ethanol is clearly more political than practical--I agree with you both on that.

You wrote, "Ethanol only allows us to tame our "addiction to foriegn oil," but does not force us to look at the larger problem of excessive consumption."

How does one define "excessive consumption?" What kind of metric should be used and who should enforce it?

I do agree that gasoline use is excessive. That may shock you both. I believe SUV's in particular are a bane upon civilization--but they are symbolic of a larger problem.

However, I do not think it is anyone's responsibility or jurisdiction to punish SUV owners outside of market forces. This is where I differ from those that believe the government should enforce strict fuel efficiency rules.

And I believe the government should get out of the ethanol business. I want no part in subsidizing farmer's to produce corn for ethanol.