Thursday, September 13, 2007

Save the rainforests with palm oil!

Ok, so everyone knows, or maybe they don't, that imported palm oil from Malaysia = bad for the environment. Importing vegetable oil for biofuels production doesn't solve the foreign oil dependence problem. And there's the energy cost of shipping it from across the world and the heat it takes to keep the oil warm to prevent it from becoming margarine. And, palm just happens to be grown in the same small slice of the tropics where rainforests predominate.

That's why attendees of the NEBC's business of biofuels conference were all blown away Thursday by a presentation by Brian Young from Seattle-area biodiesel monolith Imperium Renewables. Young argued that, yes the palm oil industry is largely responsible for deforestation, but the biofuels industry has the chance to change that. No one else has taken the initiative to introduce the industry sustainable business practices, but the biofuels industry is big enough that it could make a difference. Essentially, if we don't buy palm oil for biofuels production, we're contributing to rainforest loss.

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