Sep 28, 2007

'Green Fuel' Harming Rainforests

A Sky News investigation has revealed that filling up with bio diesel containing palm oil is helping to destroy some of the world's most precious rainforests.
With forecourts across Europe and the United States now offering the so-called "green fuel", demand for palm oil has boomed.
But the well-intentioned switch to biofuels in the West is destroying Borneo's rainforests - one of the greenest places on Earth.
Environmentalists claim that an area of forest the size of Wales was cleared last year as Indonesia cashes in on the new "green gold" and plants miles of palm oil trees to meet surging demand.

The UN says the entire rainforest will be gone in 15 years, and the native wild orang-utan extinct in just 10.
Nine hundred of the apes are now caged refugees. Others are found shot or macheted after being killed trying to eat the palm saplings that have replaced their homes.
It is not only the drive for palm oil that is destroying the jungle. China is the main buyer of illegal logs and minerals from here.

I found a zircon mine that had turned the forest into a desert. How on earth could the authorities not have noticed the moonscape left behind?
Groups trying to highlight the destruction are being threatened by the developers.

Lone Droscher, from the Borneo Orang-utan Survival Group, said: "If they cannot buy you off, they try to threaten you. This has happened to us a lot."
Indonesia says it has banned the burning and cutting of jungle for palm oil - but our investigation found mile after mile of freshly cut and burned rainforest.
Ninety new biodiesel factories are under construction here - the developers encouraged by far-away countries "going green".
The palm oil saplings here are planted. Those believing it to be a green fuel will never see the beauty of what it replaced.