Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's only going to get worse...

As the push for green energy gathers momentum we will see more stories like this soon:
California's nearly 2 million cows, most living on industrial-scale dairies, create a huge and costly waste problem. According to the PUC order approving the BioEnergy deal, a single thousand-pound dairy cow each day produces 10 pounds of "volatile solids" - that's bureaucratese for poop - which can be transformed into 72 cubic feet of biogas. Dairy owners can dispose of that burden, clean up the environment and turn crap into cash by cutting deals with companies like BioEnergy. PG&E benefits as the biogas produced counts toward a state mandate that it obtain 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources b y 2010. Such projects typically produce some sort of green "credits" that can be used toward meeting emissions limits or can be sold on carbon trading markets. PG&E will retain some of those so-called environmental attributes produced by the cow power project though the PUC said it remains to be decided just how they might be applied when California's cap on greenhouse gas limits comes into force. [More]

I have no complaint with the facts of the story, but as non-ag media writers start to investigate bioenergy of all forms they seem to get nervous around manure - resorting to cutesy wordplay ("crap into cash"??) and double entendres.

Look folks, it's excrement. And mankind has spent considerable effort to devise all kinds of scatological language to deal with our instinctive aversion to feces. And after a while, you get used to it.

I am not "dissing" these writers - just the opposite. In time they will develop a more detached view of manure, just as generations of livestock producers have. We should not expect it overnight.

Still, I think we've heard 99% of the manure jokes by now.

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