Kiss the rainforest goodbye

April 30th, 2013 atam Posted in Climate change, Earth, Greenwash | No Comments »

Wow, have you heard? Sinopec has developed a ‘green’ aviation biofuel.

The biofuel has been successfully tested on a short flight and is made up of waste cooking oil and… palm oil. Scale it up to feed an expanding fleet of aircraft and you’d be looking at chopping down all the rainforest in Borneo to make way for palm oil plantations.

The alarm over the use of palm oil for biofuels was raised a good six years ago, but profits of course always trump ecology. And it’s such an easy sell when people are so uninformed; they just have to say palm oil cuts greenhouse gas emissions and most people would nod their heads and say, good, they’re going green.

It’s like the clever people in the UK government now opposing the ban on pesticides that have been killing off bees in their millions. Heeding the advice of the pesticide manufacturing lobby, the government claimed that the effects of the pesticides were uncertain. Thankfully there are more ecologically aware souls in Europe, who have just voted in favour of a two-year moratorium. In China, who dare say palm oil’s no good?

Before long, someone’s going to take a palm-oil-fuelled flight to Indonesia to see the famed orang-utans. As the flight comes in to land, they’ll discover palm plantations stretching as far as the eyes can see. Upon landing, they’ll discover that the few orang-utans they can still see are – in a zoo.

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