Palm Oil is present in one out of every ten supermarket products and now it is being used for car diesel fuel. The development of Palm Oil plantations has so far been responsible for nearly 90% of deforestation in Malaysia, in Sumatra and Borneo four million hectares of Rain Forest are being cleared and in Indonesia sixteen million hectares are being cleared. Prior to the planting of the Oil Palms, the felled trees are often burnt, releasing carbon and usually covering the areas in smog. The dryer lands in the regions are rapidly being used up, and so the swamp areas are being drained and cleared. these swamp areas are mainly peat, and as they dry they release the carbon locked into them.
As the clearing of the Rain Forests occurs the thousands of indigenous people that live there are evicted and in Indonesia some five hundred people have been imprisoned and tortured when they tried to resist the clearances. In addition to this many of the animals that live in these areas are facing extinction. The main Palm Oil refineries will be making Biodiesel from Palm Oil sourced from Malaysia and Indonesia, but there is yet another problem when this happens. The GM companies are reinventing themselves on the back of Palm Oil 'development.' The worry is that the GM Bio diesel Palm Oil plants will either cross over to the food palm by 'accident' or design!
I have an engineering background and often have mentioned to me that the production of Diesel fuel from recycled vegetable cooking oil could be an answer. This is, sadly, not the case. For example. if all the vegetable cooking oil in the UK was recycled and use as fuel for Diesel cars them it would provide only one 380th (.26%) of the UK's transport needs. Another alternative fuel (for petrol cars) is Bioethanol E85, so called because it is a mixture of 85% ethanol with 15% petrol. This is mainly produced by corn distillation providing alcohol, but has resulted in a world corn price increase and food shortage problems for many Third World countries as due to crop shortages because of Global Warming they rely on imported grain to feed their populations. We should be concerned about feeding people, not feeding cars!!! We do not need fixes that will enable people to imagine that they are 'doing the right environmental thing,' we need the realisation to dawn that in order to combat Climate Chaos our comfortable and wasteful way of life is simply not sustainable.