To the Corn-Farming CLIMATE Protectors — especially in Iowa and Illinois

To the Corn-Farming CLIMATE Protectors — especially in Iowa and Illinois

Protection — from what?


To the Corn-Farming CLIMATE Protectors — especially in Iowa and Illinois

There is a lot of dough in the corn-to-ethanol gravy train
By Dr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser

Greetings to you, with my hope that you are doing well! According to public records, most of you are. That’s good!

The whole U.S. produces somewhere around 15 billion bushels (BB) of corn a year at a rate of ca. 145 bushels per acre.  Roughly, that’s 1/3 of the entire world production.  Nearly ½ of the entire U.S. production comes from Iowa (2.7 BB), Illinois (2.3 BB), Nebraska (1.7 BB), Minnesota (1.5 BB), and Indiana (0.9 BB).  Of that bountiful harvest, in the order of 25% are being converted via fermentation and distillation into ethanol, resulting in ~2.9 gallons of ethanol per bushel of corn.

This “fuel” part of the corn consumption is essentially mandated by the (IMHO, entirely misguided) “Renewable Fuels Standards” (RFS) that requires a 10% ethanol content in regular gasoline. For example, CNBC states

Since 2007, nearly every gallon of gasoline sold in the United States is mixed with about 10 percent ethanol as part of a mandate enacted to reduce dependence on foreign oil and boost use of renewable fuels.

Neither the country nor you need the continuation of the (RFS) “ethanol mandate.” Not that it made much sense ever (chemically speaking, ethanol is partially-burnt gasoline and therefore, provides much less usable energy than an equal amount of unadulterated gasoline). Even the originator of that misguided ethanol-idea, former U.S. Vice-President Al Gore admitted to that, already several years ago but continues to scare the world with his climate alarmism. IMHO, while the mandate was claimed to be a way to “protect the climate” at the time, in reality it was more or less a ruse, designed to help you, corn farmers out at a time of depressed corn prices but sold to the public as a “climate protection” plan. Later on, Mr. Gore even alluded to that as well.

Protection — from what?

To begin with, the term CLIMATE describes a 30-year (or longer) average of the WEATHER at a certain location on earth. Therefore, the CLIMATE is a mathematical construct that bears little resemblance to what’s happening outside your domicile or office. It may be hot in summer or dangerously cold in winter; the seasons come and go as per the earth’s path around the sun. Even if that decades-spanning average would change, the weather still would be “too [whatever]” many days of the year.  Mother Nature just doesn’t serve a global average of anything at any location and rarely placates any specific desire.

As recently noted by Paul Driessen, Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow, “… corn ethanol and other biofuel mandates remain embedded in US law” and “… once a government program is created, it becomes virtually impossible to eliminate, revise or even trim fat from it.”

Corn-to-ethanol gravy train

Of course, it’s no surprise that some Senators from the corn-belt areas want to keep the “corn-to-ethanol gravy train” going for their constituents. After all, there is lot of dough in that, not only for the farmers but for them as well.

The Renewable Fuels Association has interesting flow sheet diagrams of the available corn-to ethanol (C2E) conversion processes. According to their information, one bushel of corn can be converted to 2.85 gallons of ethanol. In other words, roughly one bushel of corn to fill a common pickup truck with gasoline at 10% ethanol. Neither from a corn-energy nor a carbon dioxide emissions point of view can the C2E processes be anything else but a waste of resources. Without the mandated RFS and concomitant subsidies, tax benefits, and the like, there would be little or no demand for ethanol containing gasoline. While it may have been a half-baked idea at the time of high crude oil prices and a comparatively small production then within the country, times have changed.

Now, the world’s crude oil producers are feeling the pinch of an extended period of much lower prices than existed just a few years ago. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC exporters alike are getting much less revenue from the “black gold” than they had become accustomed to. Even Saudi Arabia cannot balance its budget at the current crude oil prices without major deficit spending.

U.S. Oil Production  

Unless I’m totally mistaken, the U.S. has in recent years become nearly self-sufficient in crude oil production and is on the way to become a significant exporter of natural gas (liquefied [LNG]). LNG-tankers with LNG loads of 170,000 cbm (m^3) have already been shipped to Europe from the Sabine Pass terminal in Texas. Both from a chemical consideration (hydrocarbons) and its energy content per unit of weight, LNG is very similar to high quality crude oil. In other words, one could view the U.S. as a non-OPEC hydrocarbon exporting country.

Why then, one might ask, does the RFS still exist at all?

Do you venerable corn-farmers in Iowa, etc. really need to continue sucking on the “public money trough,” aka RFS mandate for bio-ethanol made from corn and similar requirements for the bio-diesel content in diesel fuel?

With the unemployment rate at 4.2%, the economy strengthening, a commercial “tax holiday” in the offing, and consumer confidence at a 17-year high, perhaps it’s time to get weaned off the bio-ethanol bandwagon.


Dr Klaus L E KaiserDr. Klaus L.E. Kaiser is a professional scientist with a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Technical University, Munich, Germany. He has worked as a research scientist and project chief at Environment Canada‘s Canada Centre for Inland Waters for over 30 years and is currently Director of Research at TerraBase Inc. He is author of nearly 300 publications in scientific journals, government and agency reports, books, computer programs, trade magazines, and newspaper articles.

Dr. Kaiser has been president of the International Association for Great Lakes Research, a peer reviewer of numerous scientific papers for several journals, Editor-in-Chief of the Water Quality Research Journal of Canada for nearly a decade, and an adjunct professor. He has contributed to a variety of scientific projects and reports and has made many presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Kaiser is author of CONVENIENT MYTHS, the green revolution – perceptions, politics, and facts

Dr. Kaiser can be reached at:

17 thoughts on “To the Corn-Farming CLIMATE Protectors — especially in Iowa and Illinois

  1. Not all the swamps are in D. C. There are swamps in the mid-west that need to be drained too. The sooner the better.

    • There are strong connections between the Swamps there and in D.C. Draining the D.C. swamp will do a lot to drain the one in the Midwest.

  2. You might find that after the third future failure of North American, and Russian Wheat harvests due to the Climate effects of the Modern Grand Solar Minimum, in say 7 years from now, and by that time the world may well be on the cusp of its second T7 volcanic eruption which will take all the blame and credit for the climate cooling to come, as it has recently for the LILIA GSM and erruptions which followed it.
    The Climate Alarmists will be in a froth to get more Government taxation based research funds to prove their pet hate of the Energy Civilisation is right or wrong, or politically left or right, blaming man for the rise in Volcanism, and forgetting the massive rise in CO2 and SO2 which will accompany each eruption and simply blame man for being on the planet, upsetting Gia.
    It doesn’t matter, they are all wrong, and 10 to 15 years behind the real causes, by that time the Gravity Waves from the SC24 trefoil solar orbit around the Solar System Gravity Well, or BarryCentre will have dissipated, as well as caused its damage, or added its energy to the Earths tectonic plate structures and the movement of them.
    Fortunately, the human races has about 4 more cycles though the various Solar Warm periods before a Glaciation tipping point is reached and the decent into oblivion starts for the Human race. That’s a minimum of 688 years, from 2008, just sufficient to get us off this planet and out into the Solar system, as if we don’t, we won’t get another chance. The last one reduced us to 12000 individuals fortunately a large proportion were females, who did most of the work, and still do.
    I place Climate Ologists, a particularly odd bunch studying chaos in a heat engine environment, in the same league as Astrologers who have very similar belief system.

    Yet what is really funny is an Astrologer mathematician discovered the planetary effects on the BarryCentre position in relation to the Sun, that’s causes Grand Solar Minimums and predicted this Modern GSM, whilst looking for some else entirely.

  3. They may be in need of protection or relocation in the future due to a major glaciation or a little ice age. Anyone have a clear idea how far south of the ice sheet zone a tundra or polar desert is likely to extend? Beyond that how far south will a new boreal forest extend before one is in a new temperate zone capable of supporting agriculture? My gut tells me corn growing might be limited to the gulf states and mexico. Am I close?

  4. a recent economic analysis was published several months ago(since disappeared) that estimated that C2E carbon tax equivalent that consumers are paying is $ 120/tonne or greater for the privilege of using a product that gums-up small engines and eats up the plastic gas lines on these engines if left in gas tank over winter.

  5. Once the Grand Solar Minimum begins setting in, and the corn belt begins experiencing the effects of the coming cold, I wonder which will matter most? Will it be feeding the ever growing numbers of starving humans around the world, or the continued feathering of politicians pockets? And who will be screaming the loudest? Will it be the corn farmers, facing crop destruction, and how much will they be wanting as subsidy?

    This is all going to be interesting to watch, as the agricultural ‘sweet spot’ continues moving southward.

  6. Strange it is a mandate. I can buy Ethanol free (E0), gas in my area on NY state. There are many different stations and brands that sell it.

  7. as the movie King Corn pointed out…growing the gmo maize used for ethanol is NOT cost effective without govvy subsidies of 1,500$ an acre planted
    the land use fetiliser water and pesticide costs as well as time n fuel actually came out NEGATIVE$ if not supported.
    the used waste goes to CAFO fed(torture by another name) cattle/pigs etc and their gut tissue tells the tale of how nasty it is.ulcers inflamed bowels etc.

  8. One of the saddest parts of this “grow corn for fuel” effort is what it is doing to our future. Corn is a crop that really stresses the soil and if farmers don’t recognize and deal with this thru proper crop rotation we could very well be left with nothing but dust fields that used to be productive farm lands.

  9. Let us not also forget that the millions of TONS of fertilizer residues and chemical poisons used to grow this corn runs off into the Mississippi River, right down the middle of the country into the Gulf of Mexico, frequently causing dead zone fish kills – all so that we can make way TOO MUCH corn, when fields should be naturally resting on one hand, or growing more land-friendly crops on the other.

  10. No one ever put on the government dole, including corn farmers, are ever taken off; the recipients would get mad and not vote for those who quit giving them other people’s money, and we simply can’t have that.

  11. Lots of folks are eager to spend $1,000-plus for a new smart (?) phone, but scream bloody murder about paying a fair price for food. Meanwhile, we farmers are constantly being told that everything that we do is bad.

  12. Trump tried to end this but the Midwest politicians threatened to block all of his EPA appointments so, rather than keeping Obama/Clinton/Gore types running the EPA, he gave in to the ethanol profiteers. He chose the lesser of two evils.

    The good news is that this mandate comes up again within 2 years at which time it is hoped they will not be able to extort a continuation of this terrible boondoggle.

  13. I think farmers should take the massive profits we’ve made by destroying our own land with modern farming methods,take a year off,grow enough vegetables to feed ourselves,and everyone else can come out here after work and show us how to farm the”correct” way.

  14. Burning our food is really stupid. It distorts the food production markets and makes our cars run worse. It COSTS us money coming and going for no valid reason.

  15. Corn converts sunlight into energy.Ethanol converts the starch portion of corn into more useable energy.80%of the nutrients remain in the distillers grain and are fed to cattle which are reuminant animals and convert the non starch portion to meat,leather and many other food and industrial products.The waste from the cattle is applied to the land to help produce the next corn crop.What a horrible unsustainable system.

  16. 40,000,000 acres of lawn and turf in the US.Much of it fertilized without regard to soil testing to produce which badly needed food?

Comments are closed.