Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate

Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate


There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists―wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.When will the world run out of oil? Should nuclear energy …

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What is something that is bullshit, that everyone should know about?(r/AskReddit)

ethanol, especially corn-based.

~~(i’m serious, and ready for the downvotes)~~ Clearly, my experiences with individuals in “real life” left me with a poor perspective on the people that would reading this.

edit: as per /u/iGotChubs4You

ethanol for fuel consumption is terrible for engines, and provides little net environmental benefit (in general). Cane based ethanol has some merits, but not to the scale that would be required to make significant changes, or to the level its supporters would like you to believe. On a large scale, no form of ethanol for internal combustion engines is a viable, logical, or reasonable option for reducing the environmental impact of cars.

All forms of ethanol are bullshit, especially on a large scale.

“Simple” calculations can show that a significantly greater impact can be achieved by legislating MPG improvements, accomplishing more than ethanol and E15 ever could.

[primary] Source:…

Additionally, thank you for “gold.” I know not what to do with this.

14 hours after the fact, I would like to add some notes based on the comments that have been made to me personally

  • thank you to those that contributed to this discussion, there were many interesting notes

  • few actually had a “discussion” with me (those that disagree), as many simply stated that my primary source (Smil) is either not qualified, or they oversimplified his academic background. However, some provided some feedback that I would like to share.

  • thank you to /u/stevejust for a rather enlightening discussion on the bias of those that performed studies that view ethanol negatively. The end result of our discussion was that Smil cites sources that were new to stevejust and that this person is going to read the book I linked above. I really hope to hear from him/her to get their views after reading the book. link:…

  • here’s a discussion on cellulosic ethanol:…

  • /u/Zakumene provided some interesting information on ethanol as a replacement to MTBE. I am a mechanical engineer, and have friends in the automotive / engine engineering industry and I never heard or knew of this. Every discussion I have had regarding ethanol has been with respect to environmental benefits (“sustainability”) or “energy independence.” Here’s a link:…

  • The parlance of the question, and the need for over-simplification in posts on this website clearly ignore the context of ethanol in racing. The notion of “ethanol is bullshit” applies to the mass market of consumers, and talking about racing engines completely ignores the context of the ethanol “discussion” that is held on a governmental level. This is the important part, and this discussion applies to mass consumption.

  • /u/lolsofail brought up some points that show Dr. Smil to make some ridiculous comments regarding global warming, but the quotes provided do not even come close to matching what I’m reading in the books, so I don’t know what to make of it. link:…

  • I know nothing of hemp or lignin based ethanol: If anyone has information on the industrial applicability of these technologies, I’m very interested. As I stated in discussion on cellulosic and algae ethanol: it’s fine and dandy in a lab, but I don’t see how it can help in the time frame we need help to moderate anthropogenic climate change.

  • thank you

I hope that this edit reaches people and benefits them.

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Vaclav Smil

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AEI Press

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Energy Myths and Realities: Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate

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What is something that is bullshit, that everyone should know about?

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