Letter: Ethanol plants should throw a 'Boston Tea Party' over carbon point penalties

Writer says carbon pipeline is totally worthless.

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Letter to the Editor
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To the Editor:

A May 4, 2022 letter in The Globe expressed concern over the proposed carbon dioxide pipeline going through the area landowners fields.

Here is why this project is totally worthless for controlling global warming: The pipeline would capture some 8 million metric tons of CO2 per year from 31 ethanol plants then pump it into the ground in North Dakota.

Using an average size coal-fired power plant like Coal Creek in North Dakota as an apples to apples comparison in regard to CO2 emissions against what the pipeline handles; here is a breakdown of its effect on global warming.

About 3.2% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is manmade. (D.O.E. 2000). About 44% of manmade CO2 is coming from coal-fired power plants worldwide. (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2019), so that makes coal-fired CO2 about 1.4% of total CO2 in the atmosphere.


America burns about 9% of the total worldwide coal usage (Enerdata, 2017), so that makes the total U.S. contribution to atmospheric CO2 about 0.126%. Coal Creek was emitting about 10 million tons of CO2 annually. That comes to about 0.7% of America’s coal-fired CO2 emissions stated by E.I.A. (1.36 billion tons per year).

So, this brings Coal Creek’s CO2 contribution to the reservoir of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere to a whopping 0.0009%; which is also what this CO2 pipeline would do to “Save the planet.”

Water vapor, another greenhouse gas, traps about 1,300 times more heat than man’s CO2. That’s based on a 1% global atmospheric water vapor content; however, it can, at times, go up to 4% in places. Even a somewhat small up or down change in the massive quantity of water vapor may release or absorb far more heat, and therefore have more effect on temperature, than would a doubling of our current tiny CO2 level.

Even a 2020 Bloomberg article said the COVID-19 pandemic brought down air pollution due to a drop in fossil fuel usage; but had no effect on rising atmospheric CO2 level.

With China burning over four times more coal than the U.S.A., is this not a totally futile endeavor?

Ethanol companies should be throwing a ‘Boston Tea Party’ over government imposing carbon points penalties on companies it feels are pumping out too much CO2. It’s really ‘taxation without representation.'

Phil Drietz

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