Thursday, July 06, 2006

SYNTH-ARCHIVE#25: "Hemp/Energy & the Economy"

original posting: 3 march 2002

from The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer

Energy & the Economy

The book Solar Gas, Science Digest, Omni magazine, The Alliance for Survival, the Green Party of Germany, the United States and others put the total figure of our energy costs at 80% of the total dollar expense of living for each human being.

In validation, 82% of the total value of all issues traded on the New York Stock Exchange and other world stock exchanges, etc., are tied directly to:

- Energy producers such as Exxon, Shell Oil, Conoco, Con-Edison, and so forth.

- Energy transporters such as pipeline companies, oil shipping and delivery companies.

- Refineries and retail sales of Exxon, Mobil, Shell, So. California Edison, Con-Edison, etc.

Eighty-two percent of all your money means that roughly 33 of every 40 hours you work goes to pay for the ultimate energy cost in the goods and services you purchase, including transportation, heating, cooking, lighting. Americans - 5% of world population - in our insatiable drive for greater "net worth" and "productivity," use 25-40% of the worlds' energy. The hidden cost to the environment cannot be measured.

Our current fossil energy sources also supply about 80% of the solid and airborne pollution which is quickly poisoning the environment of the planet. (See U.S. EPA report 1983-96 on the coming world catastrophe from carbon dioxide imbalance caused by burning fossil fuels). The best and cheapest substitute for these expensive and wasteful energy methods is not wind or solar panels, nuclear, geothermal and the like, but the evenly distributed light of the sun for growing biomass.

On a global scale, the plant that produces the most net biomass is hemp. It's the only annually renewable plant on Earth able to replace all fossil fuels.

In the Twenties, the early oil barons such as Rockefeller of Standard Oil, Rothschild of Shell, etc., became paranoically aware of the possibilities of Henry Ford's vision of cheap methanol fuel,* and they kept oil prices incredibly low - between one dollar and four dollars per barrel (there are 42 gallons in an oil barrel) until 1970 - almost 50 years! Prices were so low, in fact, that no other energy source could compete with it. Then, once they were finally sure of the lack of competition, the price of oil jumped to almost $40 per barrel over the next 10 years.

* Henry Ford grew marijuana on his estate after 1937, possibly to prove the cheapness of methanol production at Iron Mountain. He made plastic cars with wheat straw, hemp and sisal. (Popular Mechanics, Dec. 1941, "Pinch Hitters for Defense.") In 1892, Rudolph Diesel invented the diesel engine, which he intended to fuel "by a variety of fuels, especially vegetable and seed oils."

By the year 2000, the U.S. will have burned 80% of its petroleum resources, while our coal reserves may last 100-300 years longer. But the decision to continue burning coal has serious drawbacks. This high-sulfur coal is responsible for our acid rain, which already kills 50,000 Americans and 5,000-10,000 Canadians annually. In addition, the acid rains destroy the forests, rivers, and animals.

(Brookhaven National Laboratory, 1986.)

Conversion to biomass fuels should begin immediately to stop both planetary pollution and lemming-life genocide, and to make us naturally energy independent.

"Marine Management is All at Sea" Japan Times

NOTE: An excellent article on Japan's obsession with whaling.

Marine Management Is All at Sea

By Stephen Hesse, for the Japan Times

Our oceans and seas are in deep trouble, and if the Japanese government is to be believed, part of the blame rests with the whales. This is nonsense, of course. The degradation and resource depletion that threaten marine ecosystems worldwide are solely due to human activity.

Still, Japan has struggled for decades to end an International Whaling Commission moratorium on whaling that went into force in 1986, and it is difficult not to sympathize with their frustration, if not with their cause.

It's not that Japan can't kill whales. For years they have been harpooning hundreds of minke whales each year as part of a "scientific research" program carried out in the South Pacific and Southern Ocean, and the number killed is increasing steadily. In its own coastal waters, too, Japanese kill thousands of porpoises and dolphins annually.

But Japan does not need more whales because people are clamoring for steaks and chunks of fried blubber. These days there is not even enough demand to finish off the small mountain of whale meat that is processed each year. Japan has an embarrassing surplus when it comes to whale carcasses.

So why is the Japanese government still so eager to slaughter?

For years the argument was cultural, that whales are a unique part of Japan's fishing and dietary traditions. That seemed reasonable to many observers, but Japanese mariners still preferred catching more profitable fish, and consumers continued to prefer anything but whale.

Government spokespeople then began touting whale meat as a solution to feeding the world's starving masses. That argument, too, seemed reasonable -- but rather disingenuous. After all, Japan had spent years criticizing the cultural imperialism of anti-whaling nations that did not accept the unique role whales play in Japanese culture. Now, the same government was suggesting that non-whale eaters change their own diets.

Most recently, Japanese delegates to the IWC have been preaching that whales eat far too many fish and threaten the food security of coastal nations. In short, whales are eating our fish!

The solution? Kill the whales and there will be more fish for human consumption.

Fortunately no amount of hubris can change the fact that such simple manipulation of the planet's ecosystems is impossible.

Myriad, constantly evolving interdependencies between plants, animals and natural systems form complex ecosystems that are the foundation of human survival, providing food, fuel, pharmaceuticals and material for clothing and shelter -- the very backbone of our economic system. If marine and terrestrial ecosystems collapse, so too will the economic house of cards we have built upon them.

Yes, there is trouble on the high seas, but the whales are not the problem; they are simply another species, like the tuna, swordfish, salmon and sharks that are falling victim to human ignorance and rapacious consumption.

Even as we recognize that oceans are perhaps our best and last resort for food sustenance, we continue to dump our wastes into them, including industrial and agricultural chemicals, oil waste and petroleum products, heavy metals and radioactive materials.

Incredibly, these are the same waters from which we pull much of the fish and shellfish we eat. Almost 20 percent of the animal protein consumed worldwide comes from seafood. Ocean fisheries are some of the most important resources for food security, and yet we are undermining their survival.

Earlier this month, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN), an international organization headquartered in Gland, Switzerland that cooperates with 81 nations, 120 government agencies, 800 NGOs and experts in 181 countries, released a report that highlights the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde nature of our relationship with the planet's oceans.

"The conservation and sustainable use of the vulnerable ecosystems and biodiversity in deep waters and high seas are among the most critical oceans issues and environmental challenges today. Immediate impacts and threats, such as those posed by fishing, have to be reduced urgently. Activities that generate long-lasting pollution, alter climate, disrupt oceanic circulation regimes and acidify ocean waters have to be addressed, while we still can," warns the report.

Kristina M. Gjerde, High Seas Policy Adviser to IUCN's Global Marine Program, authored the report, titled "Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas." Readers interested in marine policy management can view it on the Web (see addresses below). But even for those interested in just knowing more about our oceans, the report contains an array of intriguing information about what goes on in the dark depths of our deep waters and high seas.

Here, for example, are some morsels to chew on next time you order chu toro (fatty tuna) and the sushi chef tells you they've run out:

"In the last 42 years, capture of wild marine fish for human consumption increased from 20 million tons to 84.5 million tons," states the report.

In addition, "52 percent of global fish stocks are fully exploited," while "overexploited and depleted species have increased from about 10 percent in the mid 1970s to 24 percent in 2002," according to Gjerde.
Are you a fan of shark fin soup? You might find it less palatable if you knew that each year 100 million sharks and related species are caught, and many thrown back into the sea finless. Unable to swim, they are left to flounder and die.

In short, we are taking more and more and leaving less and less. Over 75 percent of fish populations are fully or overexploited, and the stocks of large fish with high commercial value, such as tuna, cod and swordfish, have declined as much as 90 percent in the past 100 years.
Meanwhile, the world's population has climbed to more than 6.2 billion and demand for marine resources continues to grow.

To feed these billions there are now as many as 3.5 million fishing boats plying the world's oceans, and "1 percent of those are classified as large, industrial vessels, which have the capacity to take around 60 percent of all the fish caught globally," states the report.

How much of the global catch does Japan consume? According to a Bloomberg story by Yasumasa Song that appeared earlier this month in The Japan Times, looking at tuna alone, Japan accounts for about 630,000 tons annually -- one third of the world's total consumption.

Unfortunately, waste is also rampant in the fishing industry. According to the IUCN-UNEP report, global by-catch (marine species that are caught then thrown back dead or dying because they are not commercially valued) amounts to 20 million tons a year, or approximately 25 percent of all the fish caught worldwide.
Abuses, too, prevail. Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) catches worldwide total between $ 4.9 billion and $ 9.5 billion. So even if most fishers do their best to conserve fish stocks, others are catching and selling fish illegally, undermining essential conservation efforts.

Gjerde notes that 90 percent of our oceans are unexplored, and only about 0.0001 percent of the deep seafloor has been subject to biological investigations. Nevertheless, human impacts can be seen shore to shore across the high seas:

Over 46,000 pieces of plastic litter are floating on every sq. mile (2.56 sq. km) of ocean. In the central Pacific, there are up to 6 pounds (2.72 kg) of marine litter to every pound (0.45 kg) of plankton. Plastic waste kills up to 1 million seabirds, 100,000 sea mammals and countless fish each year, says the report. That's not to mention the millions of tons of human sewage and toxic waste that make their way into our rivers, bays and majestic oceans.

So what can we do to restock, conserve and sustainably exploit the unique resources hidden beneath our seas?

Gjerde calls for "integrated oceans management based on 'ecological boundaries' rather than political ones." She also suggests greater protection for vulnerable species, such as deep-sea fish, and for biologically and ecologically significant ecosystems.

For those wondering how difficult this might be, imagine China, Japan and Korea sitting down and agreeing to manage their shared ocean boundaries cooperatively, the same waters where patrol boats now face off. Or imagine Japan volunteering to cut its consumption of tuna by half in order to help bluefin and yellowtail stocks rebound.

There is too much wealth beneath the waves for nations to cooperate willingly. It is likely to take more crashing fish stocks, more lost coral and more toxic spills before countries worldwide awaken to the critical challenges that face us and our oceans.

And even if we do rise to the challenge, there is no guarantee that we will respond in time. After all, if the world's greatest marine consumer, Japan, still seeks to lay partial blame for the state of our oceans on whales, what hope is there for rational and informed policymaking anytime soon?

SPACESHIP EARTH quote, Adlai Stevenson, 1964

"We travel together, passengers on a little spaceship, dependent upon its vulnerable reserves of air and soil, all committed for our safety to its security and peace; preserved from annihilation only by the care, the work, and, I will say, the love we give our fragile craft. We cannot maintain it half fortunate, half miserable, half confident, half despairing, half slave to the ancient enemies of man, half free in a liberation of resources undreamed of until this day. No craft, no crew can travel safely with such vast contradictions. On their resolution depends the survival of us all."

Adlai Stevenson, US Ambassador to the United Nations, 1964

Al Gore and Some Inconvenient Truths about "global warming"

Al Gore and some inconvenient truths about global warming

"...all scientists agree that we're in a period of increased solar activity. The sun, of course, provides all of the heat for earth except the insignificant amount generated by humans. The heat from the sun has increased over the past 100 years and especially over the past 20 years."


lobal warming has become a big issue over the past few months with the release of Al Gore's idiotic movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Just two days ago, as a matter of fact, Bill Clinton blamed the increasing number of hurricanes on “Republican policies.” While the press is fawning over the movie and Gore, they have once again neglected — or refused — to do their research. It turns out there are quite a few inconvenient truths for Al Gore and his movie.

History is overwhelmingly inconvenient for Gore. The earth's temperature, CO2 levels, and other environmental conditions are well within the norm for the past 1,000 years and don't even show up as a blip on the screen for the past 50 million years. Wild weather swings are the norm in our planet's history and we are living in an exceptionally stable climatic period.

While our ancestors were spearing woolly mammoths and painting cave walls, the climate was wobbling wildly. A few centuries of warm, wet, calm climate alternated with a few centuries of cold, dry, windy weather. The climate jumped between cold and warm not over centuries, but in as little as a single year. Often, conditions “flickered” back and forth between cold and warm for a few decades before settling down.

Remember that 1,000 years ago the Vikings were growing grapes in Greenland. Now the area where they lived is too cold to sustain any reasonable amount of agriculture. Perhaps there were some evil proto-Republicans around 1,000 years ago to cause the global cooling.

A really, really inconvenient truth for Gore is that all scientists agree that we're in a period of increased solar activity. The sun, of course, provides all of the heat for earth except the insignificant amount generated by humans. The heat from the sun has increased over the past 100 years and especially over the past 20 years.

According to observations by V. Ramanathan, B. R. Barkstrom, and E. F. Harrison, clouds have a net cooling effect of -17 W/m2 . Svensmark and Friis-Christensen conclude from the diminution of this cooling effect between 1986 and 1990 that the solar irradiance has increased by about 1.5 W/m2 within these three and a half years. A change of this order is quite remarkable, since the total radiative forcing by carbon dioxide accumulated since 1750 has been estimated by the IPCC not to go beyond 1.5 W/m2 . This means that cosmic rays, strongly modulated by solar activity, achieve an effect within three and a half years for which the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere needs centuries. This shows clearly to what extent the greenhouse effect has been overestimated in comparison with the solar contribution to climate change, which turns out to be the most important factor.

According to NASA, Mars is experiencing global warming, too:

And for three Mars summers in a row, deposits of frozen carbon dioxide near Mars' south pole have shrunk from the previous year's size, suggesting a climate change in progress.

Not only is our red neighbor heating up, but Neptune's largest moon, Triton, is also experiencing global warming:

The Earth is not alone in suffering global warming. According to observations made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and several ground-based instruments, temperatures on Neptune's largest moon have increased dramatically since the Voyager space probe swung by in 1989. So much so, in fact, that Triton's surface of frozen nitrogen is turning into gas, making its thin atmosphere denser by the day.

“At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming,” confirms astronomer James Elliot, professor of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Percentage-wise, it's a very large increase.”

There are thousands of references on the Internet about Triton's global warming but Al Gore conveniently omits those truths in his movie.

Further, the big boy in our solar system, Jupiter, is also undergoing global warming.

The latest images could provide evidence that Jupiter is in the midst of a global change that can modify temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit on different parts of the globe.

The global change cycle began when the last of the white oval-shaped storms formed south of the Great Red Spot in 1939.

Finally, Al Gore's movie conveniently omits the fact that water vapor — not carbon dioxide or other man-made compounds — is responsible for about 95% of the greenhouse effect on our planet. The amount of water vapor in the air is controlled by nature and human activity has no effect on water vapor.

Here is a summary of inconvenient truths that Al Gore conveniently fails to mention in his movie. Use these as talking points the next time you talk to someone about global warming:

  • Global warming is occurring on Earth, Mars, and Jupiter and Triton in our solar system. If global warming is occurring throughout the solar system, then this is not the fault of humans and casts doubts upon the claims that humans are responsible for global warming on earth.
  • Solar activity and heat output has been increasing for 100 years and virtually ALL heat on earth depends on the sun, not humans.
  • Our current climate changes are within the norm for the past 1,000 years and unusually stable in comparison to the last 150 million years.
  • Water vapor, the concentration of which does not depend on humans, is responsible for 95% of the greenhouse effect. A large percentage of other global warming gases — like methane from termite mounds — come from nature, not humans. The effect that humans have on the greenhouse effect is minimal.
  • Al Gore's movie, and the global warming wackos, conveniently omits all of these facts. Global warming is a political issue, not a scientific issue, and unfortunately people are being fooled by Al Gore and scientists with a political agenda.

Global warming is a phony issue cooked up by politicians and scientists with an agenda. I am all for sound environmental policies (I worked in the environmental business for 15 years) but in my work, unlike Democrats and most journalists, I have to deal with facts, not fantasy. We cannot depend on the American mainstream media to give us the facts because most reporters have an agenda and are willing to accept whatever the Democrats say without checking their statements for accuracy.