Agriculture

  • Many “Green” policies trample on people, environment, science and ethics

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/cornfield.jpg

    One would think these paradigm shifts would alter environmentalist thinking and government programs designed to replace “disappearing” oil and gas with wind, solar and biofuel energy. But hell hath no fury like an environmentalist scorned. Any attempt to revise laws, regulations or subsidies is met with derision, outrage, expanded rules and funding, and new allegations, grievances and justifications.

  • They still sing

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/malenortherncardinal-628x353.jpg

    About 50 years ago, the book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson was published, and triggered an environmental debate that has been going on since then. Lot’s of articles are written about this these days, and, Cato Institute, among others, has published an essay collection. Carson passed away in 1964, and I do not for a […]

  • 80% of Obama farm bill going to food stamps

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/fieldhay.jpg

    As his reality-challenged reelection campaign swung through drought-ravaged swing state Iowa earlier this month, Candidate-in-Chief Obama accused his new VP candidate nemesis Rep. Paul Ryan of being “…one of those leaders in Congress standing in the way “…of a farm bill that would “provide relief and certainty to U.S. farmers and ranchers.” He said, “So, […]

  • What’s That Buzz

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/bees-628x353.jpg

    You might remember the Back-to-Nature movement of the 70’s. That was a rather harmless way for people, longing for the genuine way of living, to move into the countryside to enjoy the splendor of bad, or no, plumbing.

    Fine with me. A general observation is that most of these people eventually moved back to the cities, naturally with the exception of those who really knew the fine art of running a farm, instead of just manhandling animals. A slight, but just slight, generalisation, is also that they started to apply both standards and politics in their new back yards. Most Green parties in Northern Europe have their majority of supporters in fancy city center neighbourhoods.

    The thing this year is bee keeping. In the city.

    It’s a nice idea for the Hilton to be able to serve fresh honey. Nice idea for anyone, really. Bees, if handled the right way, tend to stay at home. When they wander, no such luck.

  • Western wildfires — horrific, devastating — and fueled by foolishness

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/forestfire-628x353.jpg

    Millions of Americans watched their evening news in horrified fascination. The Colorado Springs wildfire had doubled in size overnight, to 24 square miles – half the size of San Francisco – as 50-mph gusts carried fiery branches from exploding treetops across fire breaks, down Waldo Canyon and into fresh stands of drought-dried timber.

  • Corn ethanol and a non-warming Earth

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/ethanolsubsidies-628x353.jpg

    The earth has failed to warm at all for 15 years now, and American farmers are afraid of losing the “renewable fuel” mandate for corn ethanol—which has given them record crop prices and incomes since 2007. So, they’re proposing a new entitlement designed to ensure that they’ll never lose money again. Their proposed new federal farm bill would guarantee that farmers’ incomes don’t decline—and if future farm prices rise even more, the Feds’ guarantee would ratchet up too.

  • ‘Skeptical environmentalist’ Lomborg adopts high-yield farming

    CHURCHVILLE, VA—Bjorn Lomborg and his Copenhagen Consensus have just joined one of the smallest clubs in today’s world: people who believe that high-yield farming is the path to a sustainable future for people and wildlife despite, and even because of, its pesticides, chemical fertilizers, irrigation dams, and blast-freezers.   Lomborg, famous for his book The […]

  • The folly of E15 anti-hydrocarbon policies

    The Obama Administration’s anti-hydrocarbon ideology and “renewable” energy mythology continues to subsidize crony capitalists and the politicians they help keep in office – on the backs of American taxpayers, ratepayers and motorists. The latest chapter in the sorry ethanol saga is a perfect example. Bowing to pressure from ADM, Cargill, Growth Energy and other Big […]

  • Legal challenge to EPA’s E15 scheme picks up steam

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to allow a controversial blend of gasoline and ethanol to be sold in the U.S. could be headed for rough legal sledding. Federal appeals court judges recently heard a challenge to the Obama EPA’s approval of E15, a blend of 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, to be […]

  • Happy Earth Day Humans

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Only weeks after the peculiar, entirely symbolical and possibly dangerous Earth Hour gimmick, it’s now the 42’nd Earth Day. Hard to be against the Earth, but I’ve never understood the tendency to use these events to suggest an ongoing conflict between the earth and humanity.  

    CFACT International President David Rothbard comments:

    “Celebrate them all, we should. But as faithful followers of CFACT know, today’s environmentalism (at least the kind that gets all the attention) isn’t so much about reveling in the beauty of nature and its amazements as it is in using this lofty matter to hammer away at human productivity, prosperity, and plenty. Saddest and ironic of all, of course, is that people prospering is the very thing that helps us steward the environment the best.”

     You might add that without humans, there wouldn’t be an Earth Day, or that without human action, in the form of development and exploitation, there would be no humans. Ecological nostalgia is sometimes tempting to some, but I believe we all realize that if time travel was possible, none of us would survive even minutes in a prehistoric era.

     So, let’s take the opportunity to celebrate the innovations that increasingly is making it possible to lead a life even in areas still ridden by hardship. Not of prehistoric proportions, but at least with meagre possibilities to adjust housing and clothing to the weather, choose what we eat, or even have access to fresh drinking water.

    Today’s sunny news is that Brittish scientists now have shown that hidden groundwater resources wating to be exploited in Africa, may amount to a hundred times the more shallow wells being used today.

  • They Don’t Want To Hurt You – They Just Want Your Money

    by Einar Du Rietz

    Might appreciate some real support - not corruption and stupidity

    The heroic boy scouts collected money, went to a village in deepest Africa and helped develop a well. A few month later, excessive use had dried it up and the final result was an extension of the desert.

    Examples of unintended consequences (and sometimes plain stupidity) in development aid are numerous, some probably myths by now. Distributing loads of pork to Muslim countries. Rushing factory building until the installation collapse on top of people. The literature is also quite extensive. A useful introduction, or summary may be this.

    Important to remember is that humanitarian catastrophes are seldom, if ever, caused by real villains in these cases, hence the words unintended and aid. Wars, planned famine and genocides are indeed orchestrated by evil, but they are never intended by the do-gooders.

    The problems occur both with voluntary help and government programs, though the latter, for natural reason, tend to be more dangerous. As a matter of fact, lot’s of people working with government aid are smart, caring people, but often trapped in the system. One such hazard is the idea, launched some decades ago, and implemented in some countries, to legislate allocation of a minimum level of GDP to the foreign aid budget. Both the government, and the associated authorities are then forced to spend the annual funds.

    Some countries try to make the best of the situation, for example by allocating funds to emergency help rather than budget support. Pouring money into a corrupt countries state budget most often leads to, in the less evil scenario, the money going straight into a Swiss bank account, or, which is worse, into buying weaponry used against neighbours or the country’s own population. On the other hand, budget support can also be the only way to boost investments in infrastructure. An alternative to building governmental roads and airports is of course to let private companies both develop, build and own. Such investments tend, if they are even allowed, however to be quite risky for the entrepreneur, facing the constant threat of both war and plain nationalization. The only simple solution, if not sufficient, seems to be to, to the extent possible, minimize governmental aid and let the not so small private, international networks do the job.

  • Milking the public: a ‘raw’ deal?

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/cows-628x353.jpg

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control finally confirmed that drinking raw milk is more than twice as dangerous then drinking pasteurized milk. And the raw milk disease outbreaks are more dangerous, especially for kids and the elderly. This is the CDC’s reluctant response to a craze among the alternate believers for “all natural.” CDC made the announcement after a 13-year review!

  • Sustainable development: latest tool for expanding EPA’s empire

    http://www.cfact.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/fieldhay.jpg

    Determined to concentrate power in the hands of largely unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, Obama administration officials have devised a new scheme to justify expanding the regulatory reach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Turning seaweed into ethanol

    Researchers may have broken the biofuel barrier. A new biotech discovery enables ethanol to be made from a common variety of brown seaweed. This would by-pass the biggest problem with corn ethanol and biodiesel—the world’s shortage of cropland. The new ethanol process uses the familiar E. coli bacterium working on kombu, a variety of edible […]