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  • The Great Biofuels Con
    the United States and the EU off dependence on imported oil The other came at the UN s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro when 100 world leaders and 20 000 environmentalists gathered to discuss mankind s response to new environmental challenges notably global warming It was at this moment that the cause of biofuels long championed by the UN for other reasons became part of the climate change agenda Over the next 10 years the cause was driven by these two quite separate concerns On the one hand particularly in the US a powerful lobby grew up among farmers who were encouraged by their governments to see biofuels as a lucrative source of income in the US alone annual biofuel production now tops nine billion gallons On the other led by the UN the world was encouraged to see biofuels as key to the fight against global warming No one took this up more enthusiastically than the leaders of the EU who in 1997 adopted a renewables policy setting a target of 5 75 per cent of all transport fuel to be made up of biofuel by 2010 Stage Four came in 2004 07 when driven by everything from the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol originating in that 1992 Rio summit to Al Gore s film An Inconvenient Truth hysteria over global warming reached its peak pushing it to the top of the world s political agenda The most obvious response came from the EU In March 2007 its leaders gathered in Brussels to adopt a package of measures designed to show that the EU was leading the world on climate change These ranged from stepping up the EU s emissions trading scheme to outlawing incandescent light bulbs But they also included a mandatory target requiring 10 per cent of all EU transport fuel to come from biofuels by 2020 which is why since last April 2 5 per cent of all fuel sold on British forecourts must be from renewables In fact it turns out there was something very odd about the inclusion of biofuels in this package Internal European Commission documents show that as late as January 2007 when officials were discussing that 10 per cent target they saw it not as an answer to global warming but only as a way to increase the EU s energy self sufficiency They were also aware that switching huge areas of farmland from food to fuel would drive up world food prices Indeed a 2006 report from the UN s Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO had already suggested that for the EU to meet its 10 per cent target from home grown biofuels would require a staggering 70 per cent of arable land to be taken out of food production necessitating a huge increase in EU food imports Even worse by the end of 2006 the Commission was aware that the world was about to face a food shortage Yet in attempting to show that enough acreage would be

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/biofuels_con.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Secret report: biofuel caused food crisis
    record levels Although it was expected last week the report has still not been released Political leaders seem intent on suppressing and ignoring the strong evidence that biofuels are a major factor in recent food price rises said Robert Bailey policy adviser at Oxfam It is imperative that we have the full picture While politicians concentrate on keeping industry lobbies happy people in poor countries cannot afford enough to eat Rising food prices have pushed 100m people worldwide below the poverty line estimates the World Bank and have sparked riots from Bangladesh to Egypt Government ministers here have described higher food and fuel prices as the first real economic crisis of globalisation President Bush has linked higher food prices to higher demand from India and China but the leaked World Bank study disputes that Rapid income growth in developing countries has not led to large increases in global grain consumption and was not a major factor responsible for the large price increases Even successive droughts in Australia calculates the report have had a marginal impact Instead it argues that the EU and US drive for biofuels has had by far the biggest impact on food supply and prices Since April all petrol and diesel in Britain has had to include 2 5 from biofuels The EU has been considering raising that target to 10 by 2020 but is faced with mounting evidence that that will only push food prices higher Without the increase in biofuels global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate says the report The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140 between 2002 and this February The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/biofuel_caused_food_crisis.html (2016-02-14)
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  • One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars - not people, new figures show
    Lester Brown the director of the Earth Policy Institute a Washington thinktank ithat conducted the analysis Last year 107m tonnes of grain mostly corn was grown by US farmers to be blended with petrol This was nearly twice as much as in 2007 when Bush challenged farmers to increase production by 500 by 2017 to save cut oil imports and reduce carbon emissions More than 80 new ethanol plants have been built since then with more expected by 2015 by which time the US will need to produce a further 5bn gallons of ethanol if it is to meet its renewable fuel standard According to Brown the growing demand for US ethanol derived from grains helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008 In 2008 the Guardian revealed a secret World Bank report that concluded that the drive for biofuels by American and European governments had pushed up food prices by 75 in stark contrast to US claims that prices had risen only 2 3 as a result Since then the number of hungry people in the world has increased to over 1 billion people according to the UN s World Food programme Continuing to divert more food to fuel as is now mandated by the US federal government in its renewable fuel standard will likely only reinforce the disturbing rise in world hunger By subsidising the production of ethanol to the tune of some 6bn each year US taxpayers are in effect subsidising rising food bills at home and around the world said Brown The worst economic crisis since the great depression has recently brought food prices down from their peak but they still remain well above their long term average levels The US is by far the world s leading grain exporter

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/us_grain.html (2016-02-14)
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  • 57 mpg? That's so 20 years ago
    the EPA s calculations That s still much better than any mass market car sold today including hybrid cars The bigger answer is that the Honda Civic has changed a lot in twenty years Honda no longer sells a tiny two seat version like the CRX Even Civics with back seats are much bigger and heavier today than similar versions were in 1987 It s in the nature of the car business that companies want to offer more more legroom more trunk space with each redesign As a result cars get bigger and bigger Besides size American consumers expect a lot more convenience out of a car than they did in 1985 Today we expect power steering power brakes power windows and more The base CRX HF did not have power steering or power brakes As light as it was it really didn t need them Air conditioning was optional as it was on most cars in those days so it didn t figure into the EPA s fuel economy ratings Today s consumers also expect safety In the 1980s car companies would sell cars that got one star or two star crash test ratings Numbers like that would now cause car companies fits Four out of five stars is considered the minimum acceptable rating The modern Civic has airbags front and side electronic stability control and built in crash protecting structures in the body See correction Even the CRX s biggest fans wouldn t relish the thought of getting into a wreck in one of those cars While actual crash test results are not available even a Honda spokesman admitted the car probably wouldn t have fared well by modern standards Without the benefit of modern crash structure and extensive use of high strength steel cars from two decades ago couldn t match the crash test performance of today s Hondas said Honda spokesman Chris Naughton Increased safety meaning more weight from airbags and crash structure has meant lower fuel economy It s kind of a classic engineering fight where safe cars compete with more fuel efficient cars said Todd Lassa a writer for Motor Trend magazine and a CRX aficionado Lassa once owned a CRX DX one step up in price and performance and down in fuel economy from the HF A 1987 sales brochure he still has provided some of the numbers for this story A fun car to drive Not that the CRX was a bad car Far from it Even before Honda introduced a performance version called the CRX Si the lightweight fun to drive Civic CRX was Motor Trend s Import Car of the Year when it first hit the market in 1985 Even in its base HF trim the CRX was considered a fun car to drive because it was small and responsive Its zero to sixty time though about 12 seconds by some estimates would put it well behind even a large sedate family sedan like the Ford Taurus today Weighing less

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/57_mpg.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Speculators hijack oil market
    the price of the speculators profits with higher petrol energy and air travel bills Last month British Gas increased its prices sharply as a result of higher oil prices Npower followed suit last week Nationwide building society calculates that the impact of higher oil prices on households is the same as a quarter point rise in mortgage costs The International Energy Authority an intergovernmental organisation recently criticised the role of speculators They have also been attacked by French and American government ministers Alan Greenspan chairman of America s Federal Reserve Board said that speculators had caused oil prices to surge A secret analysis of the market carried out by a big European oil company recently found that speculators were adding between 7 and 8 or between 15 and 20 to the price of a barrel of oil This month rocketing petrol prices forced Gordon Brown the chancellor to delay a proposed increase in fuel duty A senior executive at one oil firm said This is the hottest oil market I have ever seen There has been a massive increase in hedge fund activity And what we call non commercial interests those who do not use oil for their business has doubled recently A lot of new banks are coming in and all the speculation is very disruptive Much of the trading by hedge funds has been driven by sophisticated computer trading models The models known as black boxes use complicated formulas to determine trades for a hedge fund Over the past few years a number of hedge funds have added the oil markets to their trading systems as the price of oil tends to rise sharply after periods of strong economic growth Hedge fund insiders therefore say that oil is an excellent short term bet The sharp rises and falls in the market over the past month are symptomatic of such computer generated trading Prices rose sharply to almost 50 a barrel at which point the computers kicked in to automatically sell huge positions Last week the computer trading models kicked in again to cause the biggest daily fall in oil prices for three months a drop of 4 to 42 81 a barrel Jeffrey Currie head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs said The number of speculators is typically correlated with high economic growth They work off macro economic trading models Equities are anticipatory assets you buy them when you expect the economy to do well but commodities such as oil are spot assets that you buy when the economy has done well Man Group s AHL hedge fund and Aspect Capital Management are two of the London based funds that have moved heavily into oil Stephen Butler an oil expert at Aspect said We are one of the biggest in Europe and have built up our exposure over the past 18 months We probably have up to 250m 140m exposure a day on the London and New York markets Our trading is determined by computer so we don

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/speculators.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Big Oil's biggest quarter ever: $51.5B in all
    year ago to 7 25 billion Chevron said the average sales price for crude and natural gas liquids was 109 a barrel in the quarter up from 57 a barrel in the year earlier period In addition to Chevron soaring commodity prices led to record quarters for Exxon Mobil Corp ConocoPhillips BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC Exxon Mobil stood apart even from this crowd logging the largest ever quarterly operating profit for a U S company Barring companies that made huge profits on one time gains like bankruptcy settlements and spin offs Exxon Mobil holds the top 10 records for biggest U S quarterly earnings French energy company Total SA said Friday its profit climbed 38 7 percent in the second quarter to 7 38 billion Quarterly sales rose 23 percent to 75 25 billion Altogether the profits of the six companies jumped more than 40 percent in the second quarter to 51 5 billion the first time big Western oil companies have ever reached that level Total s earnings were at the top end of analysts expectations Unlike some other oil majors Total reported production growth of 1 3 percent in the second quarter Also Friday Norway s state controlled StatoilHydro ASA reported a 37 percent rise in second quarter net profits to 3 7 billion At Chevron the company division that refines and sells gasoline actually swung to a loss of 734 million in the quarter after earning 1 3 billion a year ago The culprit those same crude prices that lifted upstream earnings Like its peers Chevron doesn t produce enough oil on its own to feed its refineries forcing it to buy some on the open market And it wasn t able to raise the price of gasoline and other products fast enough to

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/big_oil_biggest_quarter.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Gas station owner told to raise prices
    the state Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin s Unfair Sales Act which requires stations to sell gas for about 9 2 percent more than the wholesale price Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/gas_station_told_raise.html (2016-02-14)
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  • Upper classes 'more likely to lie and cheat'
    background religious persuasions and attitudes to money in an attempt to put them into different classes The tasks included asking participants to pretend to be an employers conducting a job interview to test whether they would lie or sidestep awkward facts in pay negotiation They were told that the job might become redundant within six months but were encouraged conceal this from the interview candidate There was also an online game involving rolling dice in which participants they were asked to report their own score thinking they would be in line for a cash prize for a higher score and that no one was checking Members of another group were given a series of made up scenarios in which people spoke about doing something unethical at work to benefit themselves and then questioned to assess how likely they were to do likewise The scientists also carried out a series of observations at a traffic junction in San Francisco Different drivers social status was assessed on the basis of what car they were driving as well as visible details such as their age Those deemed to be better off appeared more likely to cut up other drivers and less likely to stop for pedestrians Overall the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that those from richer or powerful backgrounds appeared greedier more likely to lie in negotiation and more likely to cheat Being in a higher social class either by birth or attainment had a causal relationship to unethical decision making and behaviour they concluded Dr Piff concluded that having an elevated social rank were more likely to display self focused behaviour patterns than those from more modest backgrounds were less aware of others and were less good at identifying the emotions of others He

    Original URL path: http://www.911omissionreport.com/upper_classes_lie.html (2016-02-14)
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