Filed under: Capitalism, Europe, Freedom, Junk Science, Statism | Tags: Ethanol Content, European Union, Germans Said No
Gasoline, laced with ethanol and known as E10, is ubiquitous in the United States and the EPA is busily trying to force the country to accept E15. The Germans, on the other hand, will have none of it.
A European Union directive requires gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content. The law regulating the introduction of E10 foresees industry penalties should CO2 targets not be met, so the average tank of gasoline will cost more.
Der Spiegel reports that:
An attempt to introduce the biofuel mixture E10 in Germany has been a disaster, after motorists refused to buy the supposed green gasoline. Car makers, oil companies and politicians have all tried to blame each other for the mess. Even environmentalists oppose the new fuel. …
German motorists are to blame for the commercial failure of the supposed green gasoline. The first attempt by politicians to foist a product that is both expensive and environmentally questionable on consumers has failed. German Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen, who had earlier argued in favor of the fuel, is now as embarrassed as the petroleum industry and the auto industry. …
Of course, drivers are the ones paying for the setback. Oil companies, like Aral, Shell, Esso and Jet, have already raised their prices to recoup their additional costs. According to industry information, the cost of converting refineries and filling stations to E-10 was in the triple-digit millions, while reversing the development is unlikely to be much cheaper.
The article includes all the usual political themes. Drivers are just uninformed, drivers don’t think wheat belongs in their gas tanks with people starving in many countries, the benefits of E10 were not properly explained, and drivers were uncertain if their cars could cope with E10. Sounds just like our media, except you probably would never find a source that would say “supposed green gasoline.”
The EU had intended to limit emissions in carmakers’ new models to an average of only 120 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Auto makers were uncertain about promoting the fuel. Even the German Interior Ministry instructed its employees not to fill up their official vehicles with biofuel until further notice. Auto makers have backed off, have been slow to issue a liability promise for E10 damage. Motorists are required to show that E10 damaged their engine, a major hurdle.
The car industry blames the oil industry, which has not done a big advertising campaign. The oil companies have little interest in biofuels, beyond doing the bare minimum needed to satisfy the requirement.
Greenpeace says increasing the ethanol content of gasoline is not a sensible climate or environmental protection measure. BUND (Friends of the Earth) calls the measure ineffective. The London-based Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and nine other European environmental organizations funded a study that found that the environmental record of fuel from renewable resources is not positive, but negative. Biofuel, they reported, is “more harmful” to the climate than the fossil fuels it is supposed to replace.
About 27,000 square miles of forest, pasture and wetlands would have to be cultivated as farmland to satisfy the future demand for biofuel in Europe alone, or an area twice the size of Belgium. Corn grown for ethanol is replacing potatoes, raw materials for beer, and food prices are rising. Farmers like higher prices, subsidies confuse the situation, the EU changes its mind and admits that it is wrong about as often as the EPA. In the meantime, can you buy plain old gasoline anywhere here?
Filed under: Europe, Freedom, United Kingdom | Tags: European Union, The Father of the Bride, Weddings
David Pryce-Jones, a senior editor at National Review wrote yesterday:
I spent the week-end celebrating a wedding. The bride and bridegroom made a fine couple. The church was very old, with a magnificent Norman arch and medieval wall decorations. Afterwards we repaired to a nearby great house built in the seventeenth century of beautiful grey stone, with a chapel of its own, mullion windows, statues, a vast lawn and gardens which I in my ignorance only then learnt are famous. Everything was perfect, in other words, here was a traditional moment of the kind that has made England what it is, and formed the loyalty of its daughters and sons.
In the course of his speech in her honour, the father of the bride then informed the audience that the European Union has passed a Gender Equality Bill. One provision of this preposterous and impudent measure is that fathers are no longer allowed to give away their daughters in the traditional church ceremony.
Greece is in flames, the Germans close to rebellion, and the entire European Union on the brink of breaking apart with some nations bankrupt beyond help, and the future of the euro is in doubt. So, of course with everything seemingly falling apart, the bureaucrats in Brussels have decided to prohibit fathers from giving away their daughters in marriage as they have done for centuries. The bureaucrats have decided that the custom treats daughters as chattel.
Sometimes the real world is so ludicrous that it wouldn’t be believed if it were fiction.
Filed under: Energy, Europe, Foreign Policy, Military, News, Politics | Tags: European Union, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Russia, South Ossetia, UN, War in Georgia
The crisis in far off Georgia is worrying. Georgia, a former Soviet state, if you look at a map, sits just outside the bear’s den, right on Russia’s border. South Ossetia, a breakaway province of Georgia, wanted to become independent. Georgia reasserted her authority. Russia, massing on the border in the role of “peacekeeper” crossed the border with an additional 10.000 soldiers, and many tanks into South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russian aircraft bombed a military airfield near Tbilisi. Russia also sent ships to the coast of the Black Sea with reinforcements.
Reports say that Russia attacked not only targets in South Ossetia, but also targeted the major Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) gas and oil pipeline. The pipeline, in which British Petroleum is the lead partner, is important strategically, for it is the only outlet for countries in the region to get their oil to the international market without relying on Russia.
Russia has been what can be charitably described as a bully with their oil and gas, which supplies over a quarter of Europe’s needs. A gas pipeline called the South Caucasus pipeline is being built next to the oil pipeline. It is important to all the states in the region, including Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. Russia has steadfastly opposed its construction.
Another part of the story has been Georgia’s desire to join NATO, and seek protection from the West. NATO’s refusal to date suggests weakness to the Russians, who keep track of that sort of thing.
Russia has not made much of a secret at her anger over the dissolution of the Soviet Union and loss of Superpower status. With oil funds flowing into a now state-controlled oil industry, the West must take notice. It is reported that Russia has just nationalized half of its wheat crop.
The European Union made bland protests, apparently shocked, shocked, that Russia didn’t realize that we had entered a new era when we solved problems by talking. The United Nations did what they do best, they had a meeting.
John McCain said that “Tensions and hostilities between Georgians and Ossetians are in no way justification for Russian troops crossing an internationally recognized border.” He also called on “Russia to immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia.”
Barack Obama called for “talks among all sides and said the United States, the UN. Security Council and other parties should try to help bring about a peaceful resolution.” Obama looked forward to an international peacekeeping force under an appropriate UN mandate.” Appropriately wimpy.
Georgia has pulled out of South Ossetia. Russia is in control. Georgia has ordered a cease fire and called for talks. A little war. Lots of dead.
Do you suppose that these events will arouse a slumbering Europe into a realization of the true nature of the world, or will they go on dreaming of a world without conflict? Of armies that are unneeded and unfunded?
Will Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid understand that drilling for our own oil is also a national security issue? That the Strategic Reserve is a – strategic – reserve. Or will they go on making up stories about greedy oil companies, evil speculators, and threatened species (that are multiplying nicely) and, oh yes, the need to save the planet, rising seas, disastrous storms and droughts and all those other mythical results from a one degree warming that stopped ten years ago.
Well, no, probably not.