Going green also is harmful to the earth.

By: hcubed , 4:35 PM GMT on November 04, 2011

It's already been shown that using corn for biodiesel has caused food prices to rise.

Now it's shown that another source of biofuel (oil palms) causes more damage to the environment than previous studies predicted.

A team of scientists from the University of Leicester "...established that the scale of greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations on peat is significantly higher than previously assumed. They concluded that a value of 86 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per hectare per year (annualised over 50 years) is the most robust currently available estimate; this compares with previous estimates of around 50 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per hectare per year. CO2 emissions increase further if you are interested specifically in the short term greenhouse gas implications of palm oil production – for instance under the EU Renewable Energy Directive which assesses emissions over 20 years, the corresponding emissions rate would be 106 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per hectare per year.

The findings have been published as an International White Paper from the ICCT [International Council on Clean Transportation].

Ross Morrison, of the University of Leicester Department of Geography, said: “Although the climate change impacts of palm oil production on tropical peatland are becoming more widely recognised, this research shows that estimates of emissions have been drawn from a very limited number of scientific studies, most of which have underestimated the actual scale of emissions from oil palm. These results show that biofuels causing any significant expansion of palm on tropical peat will actually increase emissions relative to petroleum fuels. When produced in this way, biofuels do not represent a sustainable fuel source”.

Dr Sue Page, Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Leicester, added: “Tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia are a globally important store of soil carbon – exceeding the amount stored in tropical forest vegetation. They are under enormous pressure from plantation development. Projections indicate an increase in oil palm plantations on peat to a total area of 2.5Mha by the year 2020 in western Indonesia alone – an area equivalent in size to the land area of the United Kingdom...”

*** Just quick note, then. At the conservative estimate of 86 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per hectare per year, that estimated 2.5Mha (2.5 million hectares) will release about 215 million tonnes of CO2 by the year 2020. So much for being green. ***

"...Growth in palm oil production has been a key component of meeting growing global demand for biodiesel over recent decades. This growth has been accompanied by mounting concern over the impact of the oil palm business on tropical forests and carbon dense peat swamp forests in particular. Tropical peatland is one of Earth’s largest and most efficient carbon sinks. Development of tropical peatland for agriculture and plantations removes the carbon sink capacity of the peatland system with large carbon losses arising particularly from enhanced peat degradation and the loss of any future carbon sequestration by the native peat swamp forest vegetation.
Although there have been a number of assessments on greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil production systems, estimates of greenhouse gas emissions from land use have all been based on the results of a limited number of scientific studies. A general consensus has emerged that emissions from peat degradation have not yet been adequately accounted for.

The results of the Leicester study are important because an increase in the greenhouse gas emissions associated with biodiesel from palm oil, even if expansion on peat only occurs indirectly, will negate any savings relative to the use of diesel derived from fossil fuel.

If these improved estimates are applied to recent International Food Policy Research Institute modelling of the European biofuel market, they imply that on average biofuels in Europe will be as carbon intensive as petrol, with all biodiesel from food crops worse than fossil diesel and the biggest impact being a 60% increase in the land use emissions resulting from palm oil biodiesel. Bioethanol or biodiesel from waste cooking oil, on the other hand, could still offer carbon savings..."

*** Who could have possibly guessed that increased demand for the "green" alternative fuel (biofuel) could be more harmful to the earth? ***

BTW, the article is here:

Link

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2. hcubed
7:40 PM GMT on November 05, 2011
I agree.

The "law of unintended consequences" is never considered in the search for "green" solutions.

Solar. Wind. Biodiesel. Nuclear. Electric Vehicles.

While all are being used to reduce our use of fossil fuels (a good thing), they all have their own hazards (such as waste materials), or a need for a backup source. And even those backups can be a problem.

Those that have been considered and found safer (such as thorium reactors) are usually ignored.

So, the idea that "green" technologies are good, that "big oil" is the main enemy is wrong. There are other companies using a green shield to further their profits.
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
1. Skyepony (Mod)
12:14 AM GMT on November 05, 2011
*** Who could have possibly guessed that increased demand for the "green" alternative fuel (biofuel) could be more harmful to the earth? ***

It wasn't just guessed it was known.. The only ones saying biofuel was a great idea was the lobbyist for Big-Ag & of course Big Ag, the politicians & research they sponsor. There's been a few unforeseen consequences you haven't mentioned here due to bio-fuel crops being Genetically Modified (GMO)..

Monsanto's Roundup is now found in the rainwater, air & streams during the growing season.

GMO crops (Biofuel is much of this) greatly increased the Gulf of Mexico dead zone.

Much research points to GMO crops playing a large role in the wiping out of bee populations. Without bees, many people will starve.

GMO crops are contaminating various non-GMO strains through pollination. Greatly & quickly reducing our food diversity choices. Eating GMO food & animals fed GMO feed has shown to cause a new type of fungus to grow in intestines causing a variety of problems & intolerances for people. Various forms of IBD, IBS, Crohn’s and ulcerative intestine disorders (the big precursers of colon cancer) have all been directly tied to bt GMO corn by Harvard studies. Morgellons Disease is looking more & more tied to GMO as well.

Well if it was so bad why isn't anything being done? Well it is in other counties..they are studying, labeling & banning GMO while we roll over & let Big-Ag feed us/rain on us Bt & roundup poison. I know Big AG promised none of it makes it to your blood but like GMO biofuel was pushed as a great idea this too is a lie..

Eat organic & avoid biofuel when possible. Lobby against GMO!
Member Since: August 10, 2005 Posts: 404 Comments: 43532

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About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).