Palm oil: the biofuel of the future driving an ecological disaster nowIan MacKinnon in Kalimantan
Wednesday April 4, 2007
The numbers are damning. Within 15 years 98% of the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia will be gone, little more than a footnote in history. With them will disappear some of the world's most important wildlife species, victims of the rapacious destruction of their habitat in what conservationists see as a lost cause.
Yet this gloomy script was supposed to have included a small but significant glimmer of hope. 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.
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And so the debate rages on...
Are we fools to believe that we can save the planet (and ourselves) by our feeble human efforts? Or are we fools to believe that some vegetable oils are more ecologically friendly than others? Or are we fools to deny that everyone's just looking out for their selfish interests?