Long a primary ingredient in food and cosmetics, palm oil derivatives caught on about five years ago as a source of renewable energy, spurred by subsidies in many European Union countries. Imports have risen 65 percent since 2002.
Palm oil is attractive because it is relatively abundant, cheap at about $550 per ton, and requires few or no modifications to existing power stations.
Unlike carbon-rich fossil fuels, palm oil is considered carbon-neutral, meaning the carbon emitted from burning it is the same as what is absorbed during growth.
But the result of intensified farming has been to unleash far more greenhouse gases than will be saved at power stations.
Landing the Big One
Monday, April 02, 2007
Some unintended consquences catch up with the environmental crowd. As set out here: