Food Prices and Ethanol Mandates

By Andy May

This post is a follow up to my previous post on biofuels, here we discuss the impact of biofuels on food prices in more detail. Ethanol has been produced in large quantities in the United States for fuel since 1978. That was the year the Congress passed the Energy Tax Act (Tyner 2008) which provided for a 40 cent per ethanol gallon exemption to the gasoline excise tax. This tax exemption for ethanol was increased to fifty cents in 1982.

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#biofuels, #food-prices

Polar Push and Pull

Guest post by Renee Hannon

This post examines regional temperature reconstructions during the past several thousand years relative to different baselines and the responses of end member deviants, the Arctic and Antarctic polar extremes. And it’s a quite interesting tug of war.

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Key documents in the Exxon-Mobil lawsuit by state Attorneys General

By Andy May

A reader has pointed out that many of the links in my 2016 post on the Exxon-Mobil Climate Papers are busted. This means that the documents have been removed from the internet or moved to another location. I had copies of many of the documents on my hard drive, so I’ve uploaded them and the links to them are below.

First some helpful links to my original posts:

ExxonMobil sues Massachusetts Attorney General

The Exxon Climate Papers

The supporting documents that I could find:

The court case articles

The Exxon Internal memos

The Exxon peer-reviewed papers

Exxon Mobil and Free Speech

Finally, another useful link to and article on ExxonMobil’s court win.

Steve Milloy wins against Exxon with SEC

By Andy May

h/t Willie Soon

Steve Milloy is the publisher of and trained as a lawyer and biostatistician. He was “lauded” as one of the top ten “climate deniers” by George Monbiot at the Guardian. Milloy has filed a shareholder proposal with Exxon-Mobil insisting that they account for their “greenwashing” activities that are not required by law. He defines greenwashing as expenditures that are supposed to be environment-related but are actually undertaken to improve the company’s public image. These insincere green activities waste shareholder money, deceive shareholders and the public.

Exxon Mobil submitted a request to the SEC to exclude Milloy’s proposal from the shareholder meeting, scheduled for May 27, 2020. The SEC ruled in Milloy’s favor as you can see in Figure 1.

Figure 1. SEC summary of their decision, they turned down Exxon Mobil’s request to exclude Milloy’s proposal. Source: SEC.

Exxon-Mobil management has long been divided on the risks of climate change, as I have written here. But, the risks of human-caused climate change have been investigated by thousands of researchers, worldwide, since 1979 and they have uncovered nothing significant. The only solid impacts of human-caused global warming or climate change uncovered are positive, as seen here.

Greenwashing by Exxon-Mobil, sends the wrong signal to the public and the environmentalists. They use it as a club to beat the fossil fuel industry, saying “See climate denier, even the largest private fossil-fuel producer agrees with us!” As a long-time Exxon-Mobil shareholder and a past Exxon employee, I will vote with Milloy and against Exxon-Mobil in May. Exxon-Mobil should stand up for itself and what is right.

#exxon-mobil, #steve-milloy

How much human-caused global warming should we expect?

By Andy May

OMG! The world is going to end, and we caused it. This story, in one form or another, goes back to biblical times. According to Genesis (6:9 to 9:17) God decided that humans had sinned too much and must be punished, so he called up a great flood to destroy the world. A similar story also appears in the earlier Epic of Gilgamesh. End of the world predictions are very popular and recur regularly in human history.

More recently, prognosticators have predicted climate change disasters that are due to human actions (sins?). During the Little Ice Age (see Figure 3 in the link), the European public blamed the cold weather on witches and Jews, over 50,000 “witches” and tens of thousands of Jews were killed because they supposedly caused the cold weather and glacial advances. Thus, the idea that humans somehow control climate change is very old. We have no more proof that this is the case today than people had in 800AD, which is about when Archbishop Agobard of Lyons, France said:

“In these parts nearly everyone – nobles and common folk, town and country, young and old – believe that human beings can bring about hail and thunder … We have seen and heard how most people are gripped by such nonsense, indeed possessed by such stupidity…” (Behringer 2010, p. 69)

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By Andy May

According to Exxon-Mobil, 9% of the world’s energy came from biofuels in 2017. They do not expect this percentage to increase by 2040, and it may go down. For the most part it is a developing world fuel. Primary biofuels include dung, wood, wood chips and pellets. Secondary, or manufactured biofuels include ethanol and biodiesel, which derive from several agricultural products, mainly corn, sugar cane, palm oil, soybeans and canola. The main advantage of using locally sourced wood and dung are their low cost and wide availability. Using imported wood or wood chips for generating electricity, as is done in Europe, is more problematic. Due to the economic and environmental costs of farming the trees, making the wood pellets or chips and shipping them to the powerplants; wood is not a competitive fuel for most powerplants. The energy density is too low. However, if the source of the wood is within fifty miles of the plant, it can be competitive with coal and it may produce fewer greenhouse gases than coal, estimates vary. Ethanol and biodiesel are also more expensive than fossil fuels and must be subsidized to be competitive.

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The Virus: Helicopter Money Needed

Guest opinion by Wim Röst


A virus dies out if it cannot spread to ‘fresh people’ for two or three weeks. All infected people should be contained at the beginning of an epidemic. ‘Helicopter money’ is proposed to prevent the further spread of the virus and to boost parts of the economy. It should be provided broadly to all individuals in affected areas and to essential parts of the economy needed to respond effectively to an unknown situation. Unusual times require unusual but effective measures.


After an internationally relatively ‘quiet’ period ‘the virus’ is spreading explosively over larger areas, even worldwide. Because the virus spreads by physical contact all people should be isolated as much as possible which lays a heavy burden on the economy. National and international economies are affected but also millions of ‘personal economies’. People need to earn money and that is why they continue with physical contacts and spread the virus.

Original measures are needed to stop the spiral.

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