Wednesday, March 21, 2007

he came as a rat

What drives biofuel Bush?
Brazilian President Lula da Silva, the former metalworker, posing as a world leader in front of the powerful Sao Paulo industrial/agribusiness bourgeoisie - delighted that they may soon become the new sheikhs of a Green Saudi Arabia - as he struck a biofuel agreement with US President George "Social Justice" Bush.

It will be a long and winding road. Brazil produces 17.5 billion liters of ethanol a year. It plans to step up to 30 billion liters by 2012. But the US will need 132 billion liters a year to reach the goal of 20% reduction in its consumption of gasoline. For the moment, 90% of Brazil's ethanol is for the internal market. And the hefty, protectionist 54-US-cent tariff on every gallon (3.785 liters) of Brazilian ethanol imported to the US won't be renegotiated before 2009.

This must be why the Bush Administration is out to cut research for an actual renewable resource, geothermal energy. Can only stretch the dollar so far, and a decision has been made. Sugar and Corn Syrup, with a bullet.

So Americans, instead of being oil crazy, are to become flexaholics. Glug Glug. I think Bruce Sterling recently put it like this:

“We’re gonna glam, spend and consume our way into planetary survival.”

Now, I am with Mr Sterling in many respects. I wholeheartedly believe we should not constrain our future based on any anti-technology, anti design ideology. That said, biofuels of any stripe are already failed ideology, so be careful what you consume, all ye glamour pigs.

Yes, with biofuels, the threads are already unraveling from the greenwashed sweater, whether one looks to Iowa or Brazil. Sugarcane based ethanol, wherein the leavings are burned for energy during the manufacturing process, may in time prove to be as efficient as the unproven yet modestly promising cellulosic ethanol.

Modest net energy gains in the near term do not describe the damage to the globe in the long term. The basic problem is once a technology is developed, it is exploited to meet supposed crisis’s. In this case moving monkeys from point A to point B.

Brazil's Ethanol Slaves
Palmares Paulista is both a burgeoning agricultural town and a social catastrophe. "They arrive here with nothing," said Valeria Gardiano, who heads the social service department in Palmares, a town of 9,000 whose population swells each year with the influx of between 4,000 and 5,000 migrant workers.
"They have the clothes on their bodies and nothing else. They bring their children with malnutrition, their ill mothers-in-law. We try to reduce the problem. But there is no way we can fix it 100%. It is total exploitation," she said.

"They come here because they are forced from their homes by the lack of work," said Francisco Alves, a professor from nearby Sao Carlos University who has spent more than 20 years studying Sao Paulo's migrant workforce. "They will do anything to get by."

Marvelous. No need to read between the lines. Net energy gains are born on the backs of the displaced. That wouldn't be french fries we smell coming out of the back of your Bio-Car anymore.

In Iowa, slaves are not favored, rather tractors and government subsidies to prop up the illusion of a competitive fuel. However, because the subsidy is actually a energy subsidy, the final price of corn ethanol will always be indexed to the current price of oil, awl, texas tea, whatnot. TANSTAAFL.

In Brazil, in addition to the human misery which feeds the callow and pointless appetites of the bourgeoisie-consumptive wannebes, the sugarcane plantations can be seen from space and “Some of the cane plantations are the size of European states…

All this so Brazil may produce in a year:

The equivalent of 2.5 percent of the gasoline by volume that the United States consumes in a year. Adjust for ethanol energy content, and it is less than that.

I’m dumb, not stupid, but I’d have to say that we’re going to run out of Brazil before we feed the fuelish appetites of the United States of America with sugarcane bio-fuel. The Middle East was once a forest. Humans are presently changing the rest of the world along similar lines.

So what did Bush achieve in Brazil?

He added a bullet point to burnish republican geo-green street cred in a changing world.

Not a real thing. Which is like anything that comes out of Washington these days.


Post a Comment

<< Home