[monkeywire] Orangutans suffer

Josh Greenman josh.greenman at gmail.com
Sun May 25 10:20:51 EDT 2008


http://www.skynews.com.au/eco/article.aspx?id=236368

Orangutans suffer

Updated: 23:05, Friday May 23, 2008

One Finnish oil company says it is now able to produce the first
renewable diesel that can be used in any diesel engine.

In Helsinki, the city bus company is trialling this new source of fuel
which could cut emissions by up to 40%.

Many bio-fuels use animal fat, crude palm oil and rapeseed oil to
develop the latest green fuel source.

Palm Oil is considered a cleaner burning renewable energy source and
is looked upon by some as an environmentally sensitive solution to the
looming crash in the supply of crude oil.

Since 1995, there has been more than a 90% increase in palm oil use in
the European Union and this is set to rise drastically with the
development of bio-fuels, which will utilise vast quantities of palm
oil in its production.

But while the company insists it is focused on tracing the source of
the fuel, it's questioned whether producing the green alternative is
still just as bad for the environment?

An area of rainforest the size of three football pitches is cut down
every minute of every day to make way for palm oil plantations.

'It is the total clearance of forests, ultimately for the planting of
oil palm, that has reaped by far the most havoc,' said Dr Ian
Singleton, Scientific Director, Sumatran Orangutan Conservation
Programme.

In fact, palm oil is the greatest threat to the survival of the
Orangutan species, with demand driving the animal very close to
extinction.

'The rate of loss of orangutans has never been greater than in the
last three years, and oil-palm plantations are mostly to blame. We are
facing a silent massacre, taking place far from where people can see
what is going on. We need international co-operation now to address
this crisis,' said Dr Willie Smits of the Borneo Orangutan Survival
Foundation.

And not only is palm oil being used to develop the latest
'eco-friendly' fuel, but it is also a common house-hold item.

The internationally traded vegetable oil is found in thousands of
popular products, including ice cream, chocolate, biscuits, crisps,
margarine, toothpaste, soap, detergents and cosmetics.

The shelves in local supermarkets are full of products containing palm
oil, which is contributing to the annihilation of rainforest wildlife.

As petrol prices soar, it's clear alternative fuel sources are a necessity.



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