Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Now Can the World Have Its Forests Back?

A main cause of deforestation in South America and Asia has been clearing land for palm oil production.   Palm oil has become a major source of biodiesel, a supposedly green fuel.   Not so fast.

The Guardian has received leaked EU data that shows palm oil biodiesel the second carbon filthiest fuel, next only to Tar Sands bitumen.

Hint - think twice before investing in palm oil futures.   To meet EU standards for certifying biofuels as "sustainable" they have to be 35%  lower in CO2 emissions than conventional crude.  By 2018 that jumps to 60% cleaner.   Those are only emissions standards that don't take into account costs or other factors.   For the Tar Sands the figure given doesn't begin to incorporate the many associated environmental costs of bitumen extraction, shipping and processing.

The more you look at this the more it can come to resemble a dog chasing its tail.   If the warnings from climate science are right, the effective solution is to decarbonize our economies and our societies.

1 comment:

Anyong said...

Here we go again. Big foreign companies have bought up huge tracks of land in Malaysia and Indonesia for the purpose of producing pam oil which by the way, is the best oil to fry with. The human body does not absorbe it. The last time I flew over that area, the burning of the natural forest could be seen for kilometres and kilometres. Once landed on the ground, one choked with the smoke in the air...it is nothing but short sighted, greedy, absurd and all round brain impairment for governments to allow this to continue destroying the environment at slave labour for inhabitants.