Friday, November 25, 2005


THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. From the orang-utan reserves of Borneo to the Brazilian Amazon, virgin forest is being razed to grow palm oil and soybeans to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America. And surging prices are likely to accelerate the destruction

The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre. Last week, the British government announced a target for biofuels to make up 5 per cent of transport fuels by 2010. The aim is to help meet Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Rising demand for green energy has led to a surge in the international price of palm oil, with potentially damaging consequences. "The expansion of palm oil production is one of the leading causes of rainforest destruction in south-east Asia. It is one of the most environmentally damaging commodities on the planet," says Simon Counsell, director of the UK-based Rainforest Foundation. "Once again it appears we are trying to solve our environmental problems by dumping them in developing countries, where they have devastating effects on local people."

The main alternative to palm oil is soybean oil. But soya is the largest single cause of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon. Supporters of biofuels argue that they can be "carbon neutral" because the CO2 released from burning them is taken up again by the next crop. Interest is greatest for diesel engines, which can run unmodified on vegetable oil, and in Germany bio-diesel production has doubled since 2003. There are also plans for burning palm oil in power stations.

Until recently, Europe's small market in biofuels was dominated by home-grown rapeseed (canola) oil. But surging demand from the food market has raised the price of rapeseed oil too. This has led fuel manufacturers to opt for palm and soya oil instead. Palm oil prices jumped 10 per cent in September alone, and are predicted to rise 20 per cent next year, while global demand for biofuels is now rising at 25 per cent a year.

Roger Higman, of Friends of the Earth UK, which backs biofuels, says: "We need to ensure that the crops used to make the fuel have been grown in a sustainable way or we will have rainforests cleared for palm oil plantations to make bio-diesel."


Australia: Anything rather than build a dam and upset the Greenies

Sydney's desalination plant would cost up to $1.3 billion and would be fully funded by the Government, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma said today. Mr Iemma said the desalination plant, to be built on the Kurnell peninsula south of Sydney, would be capable of producing 125 megalitres of drinking water a day. It would be funded through Sydney Water's capital works budget, he said. "The plant will give Sydney an extra 125 million litres of water per day - enough to supply 350,000 people," Mr Iemma said. "The delivery of a secure water source is a vital service for the people of this city, so the government has decided that the desalination plant will be publicly owned. "It will be designed, built, operated and maintained by the private sector - but it will remain in public ownership." ...

The Government had set aside $100 million for projects such as tree plantations and wind or gas fired power stations to offset the greenhouse impacts of the desalination plant. The environmental impact assessment report on the plant was due to be made available to the public for comment tomorrow.

The Government estimated households in Sydney and the Illawarra would have to pay about $1.20 per week in higher water bills to pay for the desalination plant. [So it's going to cost around a million dollars per year to run whereas a dam costs virtually nothing to maintain]

More here

Australian research: Corals 'adapt to climate change'

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is of course the biggest coral reef in the world

Scientists believe corals may be able to protect themselves from devastating bleaching events after discovering some can adapt to climate change. The find, described by Dr Ray Berkelmans as "tremendously exciting", comes amid predictions up to 100 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef could be wiped out by the end of the century because of rising water temperatures. Dr Berkelmans, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science and CRC Reef Research Centre, said a predicted 1 to 3 degree increase in temperatures could result in between 80 to 100 per cent bleaching. Water temperatures could rise to as high as 32 degrees in some parts of the reef and could take as long as 100 years to recover, he said.

But Dr Berkelmans said his studies had found coral could adapt to climate change by using a particular type of algae to become "thermally tolerant". "Through an extensive transplant experiment and also through laboratory temperature stressing experiments we were able to determine that, at least for the species that we were looking at, under some conditions the corals were able to take on a new type of algae into their system," Dr Berkelmans said. "There are different types of algae that it can associate with and when it associates with a particular type called D, it becomes more thermally tolerant. "That's a tremendously exciting find. Up until recently we weren't sure that corals could adapt at all."

Dr Berkelmans said the most common "zooxanthellae", or algal partners, were type C and D, with type C found in more than 95 per cent of the reef. "We found instances where individual corals change the dominant zooxanthellae type from type C to D after a major stress event," he said. "It's evolution within the lifespan of an individual coral, and that's the exciting part." Dr Berkelmans said the find gave scientists "scope for optimism" that corals could survive future bleaching events.

But he said they were still baffled as to why some changed and under what conditions. "We don't know which species, we don't know where, we don't know why," he said. "We're only just starting on this area but there's a glimmer of hope."



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

Global warming has taken the place of Communism as an absurdity that "liberals" will defend to the death regardless of the evidence showing its folly. Evidence never has mattered to real Leftists

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