But Its Biofuel!!-Various Excerpts From Reference 11
''Oil palm for biofuel was to have been one of the best solutions in saving the planet from greenhouse gases and global warming. Instead the forests are being torn down in the headlong rush to boost palm oil production.'' "Until now palm oil - of which 83% is produced in Indonesia and Malaysia - was produced for food. But the European Union's aim of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020, partly by demanding that 10% of vehicles be fuelled by biofuels, will see a fresh surge in palm oil demand that could doom the rainforests.'' ''That is likely to kill off the "flagship species" of wildlife such as the Asian elephant, the Sumatran tiger and the orang-utan of Borneo which are already under enormous pressure from habitat loss. Plantation owners regard the orang-utan as pests because it eats the young palm oil plants and hunt them down ruthlessly.'' '''Yet palm oil, mixed with diesel to produce biofuel, was hailed as a potential saviour for the environment. Put simply, the argument runs that the palm oil plants produce organic compounds that when burned in engines do not add to overall carbon dioxide levels. The CO2 absorbed by the plant in its life-cycle should balance the amount it gives out when burned. However, the more the ecological fairytale is scrutinised the more it begins to look like a bad dream. Researchers from the Dutch pressure group Wetlands International found that as much as half the space created for new palm oil plantations was cleared by draining and burning peat-land, sending huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." ''A palm oil monoculture would be unable to support the rich diversity of wildlife and leave the environment vulnerable to catastrophic disease, while local people dependent on the crop could be left high and dry if it fell out of favour.'' "There are bad biofuels in the world and palm oil is often the very 'baddest'," said Ed Matthew, biofuel specialist at Friends of the Earth. "Europe shouldn't be setting targets until it's put a mechanism in place to block bad biofuels. Palm oil is one of the cheapest biofuels in the field, but by setting targets it sends the wrong signal for businessmen."
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