The truth behind biofuels

Richard Zimmerman, director of Orangutan Outreach, left a comment on yesterday’s post about the fishing orangutan. I followed the link to the program’s webpage, with the full intention of writing a post about it, when I was sidetracked by a rather horrifying article.

We’ve all heard President Bush’s praise for biodiesel and other biofuels. It may be that rather fewer of us, however, have heard of the major problems with them. A recent study showed, for example, that piofuel production actually hastens the buildup of greenhouse gases. This study was conducted by Nature Conservancy, and was published in the journal Science.

Further, top scientists with an international research consortium have urged that biofuel production be halted. They conclude that biofuel production reduces food availability and increases food prices. Read this article, and the others above, if you want more evidence of President Bush’s penchant for ignoring science.

The article on the Orangutan Outreach website that started this derailment describes a report presented to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The report states that millions of indigenous tribal peoples have been displaced from their land in the production of biofuel crops, including palm oil, sugar cane, corn, soy, mantioc and jatropha. It seems that in many countries, when plans are made to begin a new plantation, any indigenous inhabitants of the land are simply evicted.

This is another nail in the biofuel coffin. Isn’t it time it were buried?


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