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Comments: Sustainability conference reveals a rift in the Malaysian Palm Oil Council



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Haha, good one!

It's easy for the companies to stop that video: most of the big Malaysian players are on the Board of Trustees of MPOC.

It's not just the video, Peter Chin's presentation at RSPO RT5 was also poorly received for his damning presentation completely killed the positive atmosphere of the conference.

Basiron and Chin have apparently not noticed that there's been a political tsunami in Malaysia too last March whereby Barisan Nasional lost 4 states to the opposition and lost its vast majority in Parliament. There's a new Malaysia emerging, but Basiron apparently keeps thinking that he can convince the world with the arrogant approaches that cost BN so many votes.

MPOC hires expensive PR consultants at great financial and reputation cost to the industry but may not be considering that these PR companies have little interest in stopping the situation as it is: the more conflict, the more work there is for them.

But let's not forget that this is about communication only. What counts is the practise on the ground. One of the well established facts about Malaysian oil palm, e.g. in Kalimantan is that it is fraught with problems... Yet another mass demo against Golden Hope (Sime Darby) in Ketapang this week, while issues in Sanggau remain to be resolved.

Second thoughts

This past 5 years Oilpalm plantation has been expense due to increasing on oilpalm price….in sarawak actually most of the forest has been destroyed to build up this plantation site…yup Dr. Basiron say that the Malaysian palm oil industry has "always" been sustainable and hasn't resulted in deforestation…well its only a plot to cover the actual circumstances.. By demolish and clearing all the forest would gave a very big impact on the environment and the people in Malaysia itself.. Via to the bulldoze the entire river and stream is highly polluted as the land is widely open to erosion… all the wildlife habitat will be destroy….yes wildlife wont die and run into forest.. But it’s a abandon to the wildlife because our forest are getting slighter due to this plantation industries.. ‘They’ said this industry is always been sustainable….well as I can see none of the company in sarawak applying it… What in their mind is only ‘income, money, business, and more money’. Why doesn’t the entire politician go to the field and observe by themselves what is happening to our environment, forest and wildlife….

gme

Mongabay, like Greenpeace, FOE and Wetlands have a common agenda and it's not environmental.

Their real raison d'etre is to inflate their own bank accounts. Why don't you own up that you've sold out and are operating strictly as a lobby for either "big oil" or one or more of the competing oil seed industries?

That's what Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace has done, by acknowledging explicitly that global warming is not "man-made" in a speech recently to the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce. He was, in turn accused of selling out to commercial interests by Greenpeacers but that's par for the course for organizations such as yours, isn't it!

Mr.Rhett Butler, who was present at the Conference doesn't even have the courage to be identified as the author of this deceitful and disgraceful article when the syntax and style has Butler written all over it! But that is typical of the people associated with Mongabay and others of your ilk, isn't it?

Dave Scott

Dave Scott is a schill for the Palm Oil industry! He posts comments on blogs like this all the time -- anyone can see this with a web search.

We appreciate your work Rhett! Keep it up!

Shannon

Thanks Shannon!

"Dave Scott" (he registered with a fake email address) seems to have missed the point of the constructive feedback in my article: the palm oil industry is better off highlighting the benefits of palm oil and recent moves towards better environmental performance rather than greenwashing past practices.

Rhett

Dave Scott? Haha, that must be Frank Tate, Mandy, Sheila or any of the other people that the Sya family in Kuala Lumpur is impersonating while they harass NGO websites and blogs that are critical of palm oil.

Hehe, just post a blog with "palm oil" and "deforestation" and soon it'll trigger the Sya philosophers to come up with their familiar riddle (see back up). If they do their best, they'll even try to raise money for their own "cause" at the expense of the NGOs.

The Sya's run the Palm Oil "Truth Foundation" and "Deforestation Watch". The Sya's are also involved in the "Brand Laureate" run by Asia Pacific Brands Foundation”(2007 price winner palm oil company IOI)

Sya is clearly connected to Yusof Basiron but recently MPOC seems - at least on the surface - to be disassociating itself from Sya's Truth Foundation, that is it has taken out the link to the Truth site. Maybe a result of the KK conference which has made some MPOC people aware that they have to be less blatant in their claims.

Sya gained some recognition in Malaysia with his book “Branding Malaysia” which presents a rather scary view on peoples' intelligence: “branding is, after-all, a mind game. A brand, whether it is a product or a nation is a collection of perceptions. However, we know that to the target market, this perception is reality. If the country manages these perceptions well, a more vibrant, confident and dynamic Malaysia
will emerge.”

Ironically, the more money MPOC spends on PR companies such as BrandMagic, TBWA-ISC, Perception Management etc., the deeper it's reputation will sink away as untrustworthy and untruthful, both nationally and internationally.

Second thoughts

yeah...keep it up Rhett...

gme

To further explain why Basiron and Sya are involved in anonymously astroturfing websites and blogs that are critical of the palm oil industry one should consider a statement by Malaysia's vice president in The Star today:

“We need to have people who are active participants of the new media, who are sympathetic and understanding of the government’s position."

Najib must be so pleased with Basiron and Sya who of course will never be taken on for their baseless allegations and seditious remarks about oil palm and deforestation and NGOs.

Last year Malaysia's police already arrested several bloggers for criticizing the government or the ruling party. Interestingly enough, some of those bloggers and protesters were voted straight into State governments during the elections last March.

-----------------

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Government to engage bloggers in cyberspace
By SHAHANAAZ HABIB

KUALA LUMPUR: The Government will take on bloggers in cyberspace and respond to wild and baseless allegations raised in blogs.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said remaining silent was no longer an option.

He acknowledged that the Government had overlooked the need to engage the new media, which was a new dimension in shaping public opinion, in the recent general election.

The Government had not been savvy in engaging the new media and lost out in cyberspace, he said, adding: “But we live and learn.”

Najib said this during a question and answer session at the Asia Media Summit 2008 here yesterday.

He in fact has started the ball rolling by putting a reply through his press secretary Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad to a posting on Malaysia Today, a news portal run by Raja Petra Kamaruddin.

Najib said it was obvious that the Barisan Nasional Government would now need to engage the new media.

“We need to have people who are active participants of the new media, who are sympathetic and understanding of the government’s position.

“Therefore, instead of just criticising them (the new media) or running them down, the best thing to do is to engage them. Hopefully they will understand our perspective,” he added.

To another question, Najib said the Government gave the mainstream and new media a great deal of latitude to criticise.

However, he said: “There is a line which shouldn’t be crossed” because it could undermine the wider interest of society.

On action taken against blogger Raja Petra, Najib said he was charged with breaking the laws of the country – making baseless allegations and seditious remarks.

He said Raja Petra had been free to criticise the Government “very robustly and stridently” in his blog for years and the Government had not taken any action against him.

“But when certain things he said constituted a very serious attack against the institution, the Attorney-General decided that he had crossed the line,” Najib said.

Other than the new media, he said the established media too had become more critical since the elections.

“If you read the newspapers on a daily basis, you will see that they don’t hold back their punches. If they know there are weaknesses or abuse of power anywhere, they will latch on to these and criticise the Government and individuals openly,” he said.

In an immediate response, blogger Ahirudin Attan (Rocky Bru) welcomed Najib’s announcement that the Government would respond to allegations, saying:

“This is really good. It’s better late than never and it’s something for the blogging community to rejoice because blogging is about interacting with each other.”

The National Alliance of Bloggers president said one of the alliance’s aims was to get the Government to take part in blogging.

“This is because blogging is also about giving feedback to the Government and it’s great that the Government is picking up the opportunity (to blog).”

DAP’s PJ Utara MP Tony Pua, who is also a blogger, felt that the Government should be earnest in replying to issues or allegations levelled against it, pointing out that the Government should not use the medium only to win over public opinion.”

“If the allegations are indeed wild, then its response to correct them is welcome. But if it’s only to put down frank criticisms, then it'll defeat the whole purpose.”

Second thoughts

This is an amusing thread. Don't know if you saw the latest press release from Deforestation Watch, a militant marketing site for the MPOC but I've attached it below. It is purportedly written by "Jeff Bradley" a "staff writter" for Deforestation Watch. The MPOC doesn't seem to realize that this stuff doesn't help their message -- it just makes them look bad.

***********************

Palm Oil Need Vs. Naked Ambition: Will The Twain Ever Meet?

In the years since the infamous Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) launched its first ill conceived broadside against palm oil, two broad narratives have emerged to explain the alleged role of palm oil in deforestation.

On one side, the palm oil industry, especially in Malaysia, has argued that oil palm plantations are planted on legitimate agricultural land and do no more harm to the environment than any of the competing oil seeds such as soy, rapeseed and sunflower.

The other side, the environmental NGO's, not surprisingly, see the issue as a product of the naked ambition of oil palm companies to ride rough shod over the environment though indiscriminate forest clearing to plant more palm oil, all in the name of corporate profits.

Both views are flawed. Palm oil planters rightly emphasize the role of palm oil plantations in sequestering CO2 and producing oxygen in exchange, at least to an extent that the competing oil seeds are not able to do. But they fail to acknowledge that any deforestation even by a neighboring country can have adverse impacts on the environment and biodiversity in the region.

The Palm Oil Truth Foundation correctly points out that allegations of palm oil contributing to global warming is probably delusional, or at the very least misconceived. But they fail to see that in Indonesia at least, some of the allegations have some grounding in fact, so much so that even Indonesian growers themselves have recently declared forest lands off limits for palm oil cultivation as there was close to 7 million hectares of cleared and idle suitable for palm oil cultivation in Indonesia.

However, unless environmental organizations like Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth (FOE), Wetlands and Mongabay.com can take a step back and see the proactive and positive steps taken by the palm oil industry to reign in the less disciplined in its community vis a vis sustainable planting practices, they'll continue to lose ground to a tenacious movement that believes it has both economic realities and right on its side.

At first glance, the familiar comparison of the palm oil industry to the western model of wanton destruction of forest land appears reasonable enough. In the view of Deforestation Watch, however, the environmental groups would do well to engage the industry in dialogue to seek innovative solutions.

Of course things need to be done to try and keep a bit of what we still have. The problem is in interpreting the science and balancing legitimate concerns. But environmental issues are complicated and there are often conflicting interests and factors to be weighed, such as the development of developing economies and the livelihood of the indigenous people.

Deforestation Watch takes the view that we should also consider the responsible environmental measures taken by the Malaysian palm oil industry, as well as the strong environmental laws promulgated and vigorously enforced by the Government in Malaysia vis a vis Indonesia before tarring both with the same brush!

Of course, neither environmental extremism nor a lack of self-criticism is a Mongabay monopoly. Nonetheless the benefits for both sides to work together to find workable solutions to this matter cannot be overemphasized.

Jeff Bradley is a staff writer with Deforestation Watch

Stephen K.

Come off it, Rhett aka Stephen K.aka Second Thoughts. You're beginning to resemble the multi-headed Hydra of Greek mythology!

I'm so absolutely chuffed! You seem to betray a reflexive hostility to all things palm oil. Let me get one thing clear. Nobody cares whether Mongabay.com or the Palm Oil Truth Foundation is right. What is more important is that both sides put their differences aside and find a way to work together.

I thought that Bradley was exceptionally even handed, objective and unbiased in his article. What's so wrong about his call for environmental organizations to "take a step back and see the...steps taken by the palm oil industry to rein in the less disciplined in its community"? What's so objectionable for Bradley to suggest that "both sides.. work together to find workable solutions"?

Has it ever occurred to you that sites such as the Palm Oil Truth site would never have sprung up if the criticism of deforestation was just as even handed, objective and unbiased? Why should palm oil be singled out when it is probably the smallest violator, as far as deforestation is concerned
when compared to our oil seeds (aka soy, sunflower and canola)which has wiped out far greater forest tracts than palm oil ever will! Do you really think that environmental organizations have been even handed in their loutish and uncouth actions in blockading ships, carrying out emotive campaigns at supermarkets and scaling factory walls in Europe dressed in their silly orang utan outfits? Be fair, the next time you mention deforestation and palm oil, do not leave out the other oil seeds.

Has it also not occurred to you that responsible environmental activism would have its proponents contemplating the consequences of their actions? The current global food crisis could have been averted if production of palm oil and other ebible oils and grains were promoted. As it stands, Mongabay.com, Greenpeace and FOE have the blood of the poor of this world on their hands. The next time you see the poor hungry hordes of Africa with their gaunt faces and bloated tummies, and food riots breaking out untrammeled in the hungry parts of the world, search your conscience. Only then, put in your clarion call for palm oil and food production to be restricted in the interest of your grandiloquent and lofty ideals of conservation!

As for me - I prefer to feed the poor and the hungry. Get my drift?

Lisa Spencer

Lisa,

1. I am not posting under other names. Those are legitimate comments from readers.

2. Your comments seem to indicate that you don't actually read my site. Perhaps you've read only a couple articles an have formed your opinion off those? Maybe you should do a little of your own research - http://www.mongabay.com/news-index/palm_oil1.html

Rhett

I confirm that Rhett was not writing my text.

Too bad that this thread has already fallen off the main page, but I'm sure that had we kept this going, it would just triggered more of the same yadiya.

Yah... palm oil relieves hunger... You know the first commercial use of palm oil was as feed for African slaves while they were transported by the Dutch to the Americas. These days, it's feeding mostly feeding fast food junkies mostly, and the poor whose forests and land was stolen from them in the name of "development".

Well, it's been fun to fool around with the Sya boys and girls, the Franks, Jeffs, Sherrys, and Lisas.

Keep this up, and the rift will grow. Some MPOC board members may even be so bold as to get out as the organization does not any longer represent its interests, and the MPIC may not be able to bully the CEO back in line.

Second thoughts

Second thoughts

Mongabay.com: A Legitimate Environmental Site?

"Polemics" is the fine art and practice of disputation and controversy. This moniker is most deservingly hung around the neck of Mongabay.com. Rather than being a legitimate environmental site, Mongabay has demonstrated once again that it is really a commercial lobby with its incessant and astonishing attacks against palm oil.

What makes the latest attack all the more incomprehensible is the target of Mongabay's vile and vicious tirade - the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference (the Conference) held in mid April 2008 in the land below the wind in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Ironically, Rhett Butler, the principal of Mongabay was an official guest and invitee of the Conference organizers.

Consider the following paradox. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC), in an effort to raise environmental awareness and to educate and encourage its members to embrace sustainable planting practices decides to organize the Conference. A look at the Conference topics would be instructive. There were papers presented on Sustainability and CSR in the Palm Oil Industry. The issue of Sustainability and the need for Certification of Sustainable palm oil. There were even papers presented on Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Care and it would not be wrong to label the tone of most of the papers as well as the learned speakers as conciliatory.

One would have thought that Mongabay, if it was a legitimate environmental organization, would have welcomed an initiative that was aimed at encouraging sustainable planting practices and at promoting a clearer understanding of the issues as well as bridge building between activists and the palm oil industry.

Rather than reporting objectively on the conciliatory nature of the Conference, Mongabay chose to highlight whatever little negatives it could dredge up.

Now, in every Conference, there will always be differing views. There will also be a few disgruntled individuals who have their own private grievances and agendas. That's understandable and acceptable. However, in an inflammatory report entitled "Sustainability Conference Reveals a Rift in the Malaysian Palm Oil Council", Mongabay sought to give the impression that the views of the CEO of MPOC and the Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities expressed at the Conference were widely condemned.

That is not only patently untrue but, in the view of the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, reveals the all pervading yet highly polemical and mischievous glint behind Mongabay's long-standing stance against palm oil.

Much was also made in the Mongabay report of a video produced by MPOC defending the sustainability record of Malaysian palm oil cultivation, labeling it as "greenwashing". But that's totally hogwash. Anything that is true can hardly be called "greenwash". It is indisputable that most of Malaysian palm oil is grown on legitimate agricultural land or previously logged over areas.

The many calls of protest to the Palm Oil Truth Foundation by attendees to the Conference against the accuracy (or rather, inaccuracies) of Mongabay's report demonstrate just how far an erstwhile respected environmental site such as Mongabay.com has now sunk, descending into the ethical and moral quagmire in which it now squirms, all mucky and soiled!

Jon Tomczyk is an independent columnist

Stephen K.

This just gets better and better -- thanks for the entertainment palm oil folks!

I'm not sure what your objectives are at this point but if you are aiming to make yourselves look silly you are doing a great job!

Cheers,

Rhett

Rhett

The new MPOC clip contains anything, but the truth.

In fact, it contains outright lies. One claim is so blatantly untrue that it deserves to be taken into a Court of Law.

But ya... in some banana republic where corporates and their cronies get to determine who gets to sit in the Court of Appeal, what can one expect?

As soon as that clip appears on any channel in countries that protect consumers from being misled by commercial interests in believing that certain products are "green", "sustainably produced" or "environment friendly", it won't take long before Yusof Basiron will have to bite another bullet.

Does he have the guts to send his new advertising clip to ASA in the UK?

Second thoughts

why does the palm oil industry tell these lies.this is stupid of them. it is only going to hurt them by helping the ngos.greenwash doesnt help .palm oil is not perfect and we malaysians will be stronger by admitting that. we will earn respect for our honesty and then we can work toward a solution tha t helps us and feeds the world. palm oil is better than a lot of other crops and can bring us and our children a better life if we do it the right way.. koh

koh

I was at this conference too and I have to say that the video and the comments by Basiron changed the whole tone of the gathering. Showing a green-washing video is the last thing MPOC should be doing.

A lot of the other presentations were indeed conciliatory and I believe useful to companies interested in knowing what the environmentalists want, but unfortunately after seeing the video, to me it seemed like the whole conference was just for international consumption. I believe this wasn't the case but both Basiron and the video were very damaging to the spirit of the conference.

Still, I think the big palm oil companies get it: green-washing isn't going to be enough for the European market. It's going to take longer for the old guard to figure this out, but they'll eventually get it. It's in their best interests.

P.D.

For Lisa,

As someone who has been proudly contributing to the site for nearly a year, I can say that mongabay.com is not a cause of the food crisis.

Mongabay.com is a place for information and journalism that deals with both environmental and human issues. Rhett has been writing about poverty alleviation for years and has written several articles regarding the current food crisis.

I am currently in Guyana where the food crisis is drastically affecting the daily lives of the people. But it is not caused by a lack of palm oil, rather it is caused by climate change, rising oil prices, world population growth, high food consumption in wealthy nations and big developing nations like China, increasing consumption of meat around the world (which requires a lot more energy than grain), drought in places like Europe and Australia, and finally the conversion of many food crops into biofuels.

Biofuel crops like palm oil that are grown on deforested areas are not carbon-negative or carbon-neutral, but contributers to climate change. Their contribution to climate change and their use for energy rather than food hardly makes them heroes of the current food crisis.

I agree wholeheartedly with you that the world needs to wake up to the global food crisis and take immediate actions to help the millions in need. But large-scale deforestation, which you must remember also deeply affects people who live there and depend on the forest for their needs, is hardly the answer. More important would be curbing the appetite (both in food and energy) of the West, taking immediate action on climate change, increasing the use of alternative and effective energy, promoting local actions and empowerment (like increasing the importance of food gardens--as Guyana is doing), and immediate aid from the UN and wealthy nations.

Poverty and environmental degradation actually go hand-in-hand. By working for a sustainable world, one also works for a more equal world.

Jeremy Hance

The Inconvenient Truth: Al Gore Exposed
by Ross Spencer

The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." So says Al Gore. To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin."

Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.

For someone who says the sky is falling, he appears quite content to let it fall, if his conduct is any measure. He says he recycles and drives a hybrid. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. (In reality, Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, pays this.)

As Gore lectures the world on excessive consumption, public records show that he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Then there is also the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.

But there is no evidence, according to public records, that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore's office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths.

Gore is not alone. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has said, "Global warming is happening, and it threatens our very existence." The DNC website applauds the fact that Gore has "tried to move people to act." Yet, astoundingly, Gore's persuasive powers have failed to convince his own party: The DNC has not signed up to pay an additional two pennies a kilowatt hour to go green. For that matter, neither has the Republican National Committee.

Gore has held these apocalyptic views about the environment for some time. So why, then, didn't Gore dump his family's large stock holdings in Occidental (Oxy) Petroleum? As executor of his family's trust, over the years Gore has controlled hundreds of thousands of dollars in Oxy stock. Oxy has been mired in controversy over oil drilling in ecologically sensitive areas.

The world routinely ignores evidence that Gore may personally benefit from his programs. Would the romance fizzle if Gore's followers realized how much their man stands to gain?

Gore's blueprint to save the planet moves the United States towards a command economy in which government regulators hold sway over what kinds and amounts of energy will be made available to the private sector. His principal regulatory tool is what's called carbon-credit trading. What Gore does not trumpet in his documentary is the fact that he is the chairman and founder of a private equity firm called Generation Investment Management (GIM), which is really a broker for carbon credits. According to Gore, the London-based firm invests money from institutions and wealthy investors in companies that are going green.

All these are strangely reminiscent of the flak thrown palm oil's way by environmental NGO's such as Greenpeace, FOE, Wetlands and Mongabay. Astonishingly accusing palm oil of every environmental misdemeanor that they could dredge up, ranging from deforestation to threatening the habitat and extinction of the orang utan to global warming, raises the specter that these "environmental organizations" are really after the funds that such posturing will bring (perhaps from "big oil" lobbies or from the competing "oil-seed" lobbies such as the soy, rapeseed or sunflower lobbies).

Never mind that the scientific community is divided over what causes global warming, how bad it is and how to deal with it. These "environmental organizations" play Chicken Little to the media's applause, insisting that the world is warming dangerously and that palm oil is a leading cause.

Never mind too, that there is no concrete evidence that palm oil has caused deforestation, at least in Malaysia and certainly not on the scale to warrant such alarmist pronouncements.

Never mind also that these alarmist activism by Greenpeace, FOE, et al have led to a situation where a global food crisis is looming with food riots breaking out in the poorer parts of the world.

In the view of Deforestation Watch, responsible activism requires that the proponents of such activism consider the consequences of their actions. Deforestation Watch takes the view that, as things stand, Greenpeace, FOE and others of their ilk would be having the blood of the poor of this world on their hands, with their misguided and irresponsible actions against one of the most sustainable and productive oil seed crops in the world, vis a vis other oil seeds such as soy, rapeseed and sunflower. The final indictment and the inconvenient truth behind the actions of these "environmental organizations" against palm oil is the ultimate ulterior motive - money. What else is new?

Ross H. Spencer is an independent columnist

Stephen K.

A recently published paper seems to refute this claim "Never mind too, that there is no concrete evidence that palm oil has caused deforestation, at least in Malaysia."

See
Is oil palm agriculture really destroying tropical biodiversity?
Lian Pin Koh & David S. Wilcove
Conservation Letters, OnlineEarly Articles
Published article online: 15-May-2008
doi: 10.1111/j.1755-263X.2008.00011.x

http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1755-263X

Rhett

wow. entertaining stuff guys.

rhett, mongabay - keep up the great work. get off the computer every once in a while and let off some steam with some good ol fashioned industrial sabotage.

i just got back from a little visit to the palm oil plantations of south pacific costa rica.

http://www.targetofopportunity.com/elf_manual300.pdf

enjoy!

ryan king

why are there so many "independent columnists" on this thread? why do they all have a common rhetorical bent tending towards hysterical? (One too many mention of blood on hands.)

i, for one, don't appreciate being lectured in such a patronizing manner by people obviously writing under pseudonyms.

try to convince the non-ngo, non-industry people like myself with a decent argument, not rhetoric.

tom

tom wright

Looks like Jon got a "promotion" from independent columnist to staff writer at the Palm Oil Truth Foundation

Why We Should Fear 'Righteous' Environmental Scientists
by Jon Tomczyk

Just what is it that makes erstwhile respectable scientists sacrifice the ideals of science and the commitment to truth and objective analysis to the god of political expediency? Nowhere is this more apparent than in the pronouncements of environmental scientists on the issue of global warming and climate change. Environmental scientists are becoming so obsessed with the righteousness of their cause that they are damning those who wish to use science as an objective tool in public policy decisions.

Few arguments in favour of action to mitigate the effects of climate change begin without claiming that 'the science is in'. For instance, James Garvey's The Ethics of Climate Change is no exception. There begins an account of the 'science' which forms the basis of an unassailable consensus that the world faces a terrifying future. The account is a breathless list of tragedies that await us: sea-level rises, species-extinctions, glacial retreat, resource wars, and climate refugees, all of which will be worse for the poor, and most of which have been caused by the industrialised world. We face 'planetary upheaval, the deaths of countless living things, human suffering on an enormous scale and all sorts of other horrors', Garvey tells us. Be afraid.... be very afraid.

Needless to say, "environmental organizations have been quick to jump in, all for their own personal reasons and agendas. Nothing it seems should and have been spared and so the "scientific accounts" generate the imperatives that we, in this perilous world, are supposed to respond to - if we want to be 'ethical', that is.

Palm oil, of course has not been spared. Dredging up every imaginable environmental transgressions that they could think up, "environmental organizations" such as Greenpeace, the Friends of the Earth (FOE), Wetlands, Treehugger and Mongabay.com have thrown wild accusations palm oil's way, ranging from deforestation to destruction of orangutan habitat to extinction of the great apes, right up to global warming and climate change. Despite the "environmental pretensions", it is still unprincipled nonsense - unprincipled because, nothing could be further from the truth, at least where Malaysian palm oil is concerned! Consider the following:

Palm oil has been planted in Malaysia for more than a hundred years. Despite its wide footprint, a large part of Malaysia (more than 65%) remains under green cover - read that as two thirds forest cover. That's far far greater than the forest cover prevailing in the developed west from where these moral guardians of environmental utopia hails! And that's because palm oil in Malaysia has traditionally been planted on legitimate agricultural land or logged over areas.

In the view of the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, the argument of Greenpeace, FOE et al is unprincipled because it violates the very foundation of science as well as the basic idea that there are certain things that we do not do in public discourse. The public does not take kindly to being misled, even with the best of intentions!

So the argument is even more offensive to science than it is to democratic principle. For science is founded on an objective search for truth. As Richard Lindzen of Massachusetts Institute of Technology has said: "Science is a tool of some value. It provides our only way of separating what is true from what is asserted. If we abuse that tool, it will not be available when it is needed." The tale about the boy who cried wolf is of particular relevance to environmental organizations and scientists. Without objective truth, science and environmental organizations like Greenpeace, FOE and Mongabay et al, have little value to society.

Why, then, is the scientific and environmental community so intent on going down this self-destructive path? We should remember Thomas Kuhn, the philosopher of science, and his characterisation of the ruling paradigm, which scientists are almost required to subscribe to and defend. Sadly, environmental alarmism has become such a paradigm, with consequences similar to those described by the great thinker C.S. Lewis in his dystopian novel That Hideous Strength. A good young scientist goes to work for a research institute that requires him to lie to gain more powers for the institute. He ends up seduced by "that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men."

Scientists and environmental proponents who argue for alarmism, on the whole, are not very bad men but the course of action they propose is very bad indeed - for science, for scientists and for society as a whole.

Fortunately, honest and objective scientists still exist. In a shocking expose, Stephen Schneider of Stanford University, told Discover magazine in 1989 that "to capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have.

In the view of the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, we should not hesitate to interrogate the claim that palm oil is responsible for massive deforestation and climate change, nor explore the idea that it is not as bad as many bogus statistics trundled out by environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, FOE and Mongabay et a l, suggest it is. As with any challenge to climate change alarmism, the answer is 'but the science says...' In this sense, science is environmentalism's fig leaf.

How 'ethical' is that?

Jon Tomczyk is a staff writer for the Palm Oil Truth Foundation

Congratulations Jon Tomczyk!

Apocalypse Now - Godwin Bowden

What is it with environmental organizations, politicians, bureaucrats, quasi-scientists (junk, pseudo- or just bad), with their dire predictions of apocalyptic climate change – claims that swamp the media, generating unnecessary alarm and panic? They are seized upon by media, hungry for eye-catching stories.

There is a growing band of people whose livelihoods depend on creating and maintaining panic. There are also some who are trying to keep numbers away from your notice and others who hope that you will not make comparisons. Their stock in trade is the gratuitous lie. The aim here is to nail just a few of them.

For instance, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the Friends of the Earth, Wetlands and even wannabe environmental sites such as Treehugger and Mongabay.com have curiously chosen to point accusing fingers at, of all things, palm oil. Dredging up every conceivable “environmental” infraction that they could think of, ranging from deforestation to destruction of orang utan habitat to the extinction of the great ape, pygmy elephants and the Sumatran rhino to global warming and climate change – indeed, palm oil appears to have been accused of every environmental ill right across the entire spectrum of “environmental” transgressions.

Let us examine the facts. Palm oil has been cultivated in Malaysia for over a hundred years. Yet forest cover in Malaysia has remained an extremely high 65% which is much higher than the prevailing 20 or so per cent typically found in the industrial west. That’s down to the fact that the bulk of oil palm in Malaysia is traditionally cultivated on legitimate agricultural land and previously logged over areas. Another contributing factor is the undeniably high productivity of oil palm plantations, in fact, as high as 7,250 liters per hectare per year. As the highest yielding oil seed on the market, oil production from oil palm requires less land than that for other crops including soy, rapeseed, corn and sunflower.

In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Palm Oil Truth Foundation has to ask just why these “environmental organizations” persist in pointing accusing fingers at palm oil.

How credible is the alarmism generated by these proponents of global warming and climate change?

According to these environmental alarmists, the planet is warmer now than ever before. The leading theory holds that human industrial activity is causing carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases to be pumped into the atmosphere causing abnormal, runaway warming. The result, alarmists say, will be more drought, famine, pestilence, species extinction, and extreme weather events of unprecedented violence. Are these predictions true? A closer examination of the science behind global warming presents an interesting and very different picture!

The truth of the matter is that the planet is either warmer or cooler now than in the past, depending on what time in the past is being referred to, for the simple reason that the temperature fluctuates. Nearly everyone is familiar with the idea that most of the Northern Hemisphere was once covered with ice. The vast ice sheets of the Ice Age reached as far south as Wisconsin. They melted when the climate warmed substantially. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Environmental Sciences Division, at the end of the Ice Age, "Forests quickly regained the ground that they had lost to cold.... Ice sheets ... began melting.... The Earth entered several thousand years of conditions warmer and moister than today." In fact, those warmer, moister conditions coincided with the rise of agriculture and the increase in food production that made city life possible. Simply put, human civilization was made possible by a warmer climate. Since the end of the Ice Age, the planet has been in a long-term, several-thousand-year period of relative warmth. Within that long-term period, there have been shorter periods in which the temperature has fluctuated from the average. Scientists and historians, using both historical records and data from ice cores and tree rings, have pinpointed two such deviations within the last 1,000 or so years. The first is the Medieval Warm Period, a time of warmer than average temperatures. According to Dr. Philip Stott, professor emeritus of bio-geography at the University of London, "During the Medieval Warm Period, the world was warmer even than today, and history shows that it was a wonderful period of plenty for everyone." It was during this time that the Vikings were able to take their remarkable journeys to North America, which they called Vinland, and Greenland. The slightly warmer climate made normally icy Greenland a place where, for a time, Viking colonies were able to thrive.(i)

Studies have shown this to be a fact. Wiles et al. used temperature-sensitive climate proxy records with tree-ring, lichen and radiocarbon dated histories from five land-terminating non-surging glaciers located just above the Gulf of Alaska (about 60°N between 140 and 150°W) for the last two millennia to "identify summer temperature as a primary driver of glacial expansions." This work provided evidence for the Medieval Warm Period that consisted of "soil formation and forest growth on many forefields in areas that today are only just emerging from beneath retreating termini," which suggests that the Medieval Warm Period was likely both warmer and longer-lived than what we have so far experienced during the Current Warm Period. They also report that "tree-ring chronologies show that forest growth on these forefields was continuous between the 900s and 1200s" at the Sheridan, Tebenkof and Princeton glaciers. (ii)

The Medieval Warm Period was followed by the Little Ice Age, when the climate cooled to temperatures that were not only lower than those of the preceding Medieval Warm Period but that were also somewhat cooler than the average for the longer, several-thousand-year period. In short, there have been times both when the climate was warmer than today and when it was cooler than today. In all such instances, the climate changed independently of human activity

The Palm Oil Truth Foundation takes the view that the wild assertions of environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, FOE et al, on palm oil, makes such curious reading that we have to wonder at the motive behind their concerted actions against palm oil. The hundreds of scientific studies debunking their environmental alarmism show that these environmental organizations are guilty of abusing the public trust.

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

Published: Jul 14, 2008 Share It | Most Popular | Send A Tip

The Cult Of Global Warming
by Frank Tate

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. -- Blaise Pascal

In a speech in 2003, it was none other than Michael Crichton who first prominently identified environmentalism as a religion. Since then, the world has moved on apace and adherents of the creed now have a firm grip on the media and the world at large.

Global Warming has become the core belief in a new eco-theology. The term is used as shorthand for anthropogenic (or man made) global warming. It is closely related to other modern belief systems, such as political correctness, chemophobia and various other forms of scaremongering, but it represents the vanguard in the assault on scientific man.

The activists now prefer to call it "climate change". This gives them two advantages:

1. It allows them to seize as "evidence" the inevitable occurrences of unusually cold weather as well as warm ones.

2. The climate is always changing, so they must be right.

The Palm Oil Truth Foundation observes that only the relatively elderly can remember the cynical haste with which the scaremongers dropped the "coming ice age" and embraced exactly the opposite prediction, but aimed at the same culprit - industry. This was in Britain, which was the cradle of the new belief and was a response to the derision resulting from the searing summer of 1976.

The father of the new religion was Sir Crispin Tickell, and because he had the ear of Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who was engaged in a battle with the coal miners and the oil sheiks, it was introduced into international politics with the authority of the only major political leader holding a qualification in science.

The introduction was timely yet ironic since, in the wake of the world's political upheavals, a powerful new grouping of left-wing interests was coalescing around environmental issues. The result was a new form of godless religion. The global warming cult has the characteristics of religion and not science for the following reasons.

Faith is a belief held without evidence. The scientific method, a loose collection of procedures of great variety, is based on precisely the opposite concept, as famously declared by Thomas Henry Huxley:

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the one unpardonable sin.

Huxley was one of a long tradition of British sceptical philosophers. From the Bacons, through the likes of Locke, Hume and Russell, to the magnificent climax of Popper's statement of the principle of falsifiability, the scientific method was painfully established, only to be abandoned in a few short decades. It is one of the great ironies of modern history that the nation that was the cradle of the scientific method came to lead the process of its abandonment. The great difference, then, is that religion demands belief, while science requires disbelief.

There is a great variety of faiths. Atheism is just as much a faith as theism. There is no evidence either way. There is no fundamental clash between faith and science - they do not intersect. The difficulties arise, however, when one pretends to be the other.

The Royal Society, as a major part of the flowering of the tradition, was founded on the basis of scepticism. Its motto "On the word of no one" was a stout affirmation. Now suddenly, following their successful coup, the Greens have changed this motto of centuries to one that manages to be both banal and sinister - "Respect the facts." When people start talking about "the facts" it is time to start looking for the fictions. Real science does not talk about facts; it talks about observations, which might turn out to be inaccurate or even irrelevant.

The global warmers like to use the name of science, but they do not like its methods. They promote slogans such a "The science is settled" when real scientists know that science is never settled. They were not, however, always so wise. In 1900, for example, the great Lord Kelvin famously stated, "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement." Within a few years classical physics was shattered by Einstein and his contemporaries. Since then, in science, the debate is never closed.

However, global warming proponents such as Greenpeace, the Friends of the Earth, Wetlands and Mongabay.com would have made Lord Kelvin proud with their tirades against oil palm pronouncing with great conviction that the humble oilseed crop is responsible for massive deforestation and a whole host of environmental ills such as destruction of orang utan habitat right up to, you guessed it, global warming! Labeling any contrarian position as environmental heresy, these environmental bigots like all bigots are wont to do, are not exactly appreciative of dissenting views, attempting to drown out the voices of dissent by shouting louder and resorting to zany publicity stunts such as organizing ship blockades and parading around supermarkets in ridiculous orang utan suits!

Like all bigots these environmental bigots are dismissive of the evidence that palm oil is a far more productive oil seed than soy, corn, rapeseed and sunflower and thus requires far less land for cultivation, making the allegation of widespread deforestation far fetched and the scale of the alleged deforestation, unlikely to be true! They conveniently disregard the fact that much of palm oil is used for food production rather than biofuel. These zealots also make light of the evidence that most of new palm oil plantations have been established on legitimate agricultural land or previously logged over areas. Perhaps most unconscionably, these environmental cultists ignore the role that palm oil plays as a driver of rural development in their home country.

The world might (or might not) have warmed by a fraction of a degree and palm oil might (or might not) have caused deforestation. This might (or might not) be all (or in part) due to the activities of mankind. It all depends on the quality of observations and the validity of various hypotheses. Science is at ease with this situation. It accepts various theories, such as gravitation or evolution, as the least bad available and of the most practical use, but it does not believe. The cultists of global warming with such diverse names such as Greenpeace, FOE, Wetlands and Mongabay would have it no other way.

Either you believe in global warming or you are an apostate!

Submitted by Serene Remedios, Secretary-General of the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, as a public service

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

This is a funny thread. You've probably seen this about the POTF but I'll post anyway.

From http://www.csr-asia.com/index.php?page=2&cat=87

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article in CSR Asia Weekly about blogging and CSR. I suggested that organisations reaching out to stakeholders via blogging (or the Internet in general) need to understand that it is an "intelligent conversation", and a failure to recognise that will only backfire. So I was interested to come across claims that an industry advocacy group called the Palm Oil Truth Foundation is an example of the very opposite to the intelligent conversation; or what's referred to in blogging circles as astroturfing. I first saw the claim that the POTF was "a cheesy website run by nameless flacks" at Blue Sky Mining. Some Googling came up with an article by Russell Brown (here), who alleges that the PTOF is an example that shows "global PR campaigners have taken to using "real" internet users to push their message". Jamie at the Greenpeace UK Blog says it "is being sponsored by the Malaysian and Indonesian governments to throw a good light on the industry". The entry at Wikipedia on astroturfing (here - scroll down about half way) uses the POTF as an example, and states it "claims no industry links but is connected to the Malaysian Oil Palm Council (MPOC) through their website. The Foundation's operations are curiously coincidental with a large PR contract tendered by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council to counter the negative image of the industry in Europe". If the POTF is legitimate it is doing itself no favours by stating on its website that it "is an international non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation, without strings to the world of commerce and power ... with the sole purpose of representing TRUTH to the global community about health, environmental and economic benefits of palm oil," but failing to provide a single shred of information that might support that claim. No individuals are named on the site, and the only clues to any names associated with the PTOF appear on comment threads (like this one, where Serene Remedios signs off as the Secretary General, Palm Oil Truth Foundation). Interestingly, a critical comment taking Serene Remedios to task on the POTF website (visible here at Google), has been deleted on the PTOF site here. A search for "Remedios" on the POTF site returns no result. An article by Frank Tate, which references the POTF as a genuine organisation, only muddies the issue when a Google search reveals it is not only the one article Frank Tate has ever written on palm oil, but also that it is all over the Internet. So, what are we to make of a site claiming to be an NGO but with no address, director or employees? Even the "Donate Now" link - for those who want to support the cause - provides no information or even a PayPal account (the usual way a small organisation might solicit donations, but which would also require the organisation to be registered as an NGO and therefore able to accept donations). I'll let you decide.

http://www.csr-asia.com/index.php?page=2&cat=87

Jane

Global Warming and the Holocaust

Written by Frank Tate
Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Just imagine that a new scientific theory has recently surfaced that warns of an impending global crisis and provides a “viable solution” to the crisis.

What happens then is that the theory will quickly draw the support of politicians, scientists, philanthropies and celebrities around the world.

Research is eagerly funded by governments and distinguished philanthropies and carried out in prestigious universities. The media, hungry for eye catching stories lap it all up and go to town with the news. The “science” even filters down to the teaching curriculum of colleges and high schools around the world.

Sadly, this generation witnessed the tragic consequences of such a phenomenon which rose to prominence a century ago.

This theory was warmly embraced by the likes of Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. It was even ruled as legitimate and lawful by eminent jurists such as Supreme Court justices like Oliver Wendell Holmes and Louis Brandeis. Prominent personages such as Alexander Graham Bell, HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw, Leland Stanford (the founder of Stanford University) and even Nobel Peace Prize winners gave their backing. Research was funded by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations. In fact, a fully dedicated research institution (the Cold Harbor Springs Institute) was built to carry out research into this theory and additional work was carried out by ivy-league universities such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Stanford!

To make matters more interesting, these efforts had the support of the American Medical Association, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council.

All told, the research, legislation and molding of public opinion went on for more than half a century! Naysayers were shouted down and labeled as reactionary, “blind to reality” or just plain ignorant. The sad thing was the fact that so few objected to this theory.

Today we know that this theory was blatantly wrong and that it was founded on pseudoscience. The crisis that this theory postulated was non-existent and the actions taken in pursuance of this theory were both criminally and morally wrong! The sad thing is that millions of lives were lost as a result of a genocidal campaign carried out in the name of this theory!

What scientific theory was this? It was eugenics. The theory of eugenics postulated a crisis of the gene pool leading to the deterioration of the human race. The fact is that the history behind this theory was so awful, and for its proponents, eventually so embarrassing, that it is rarely discussed today.

Just five decades later, we are again witnessing the rise of another “scientific” theory that warns of an impending “global crisis” and offers a “viable solution” to the crisis! The moral posturing by politicians, celebrities, scientist and philanthropies bear all the hallmarks of humankind going down the exact path of blind allegiance and fervent embrace of a pseudoscientific theory that can eventually prove so awful and embarrassing for its proponents.

Like the theory of eugenics, the media has lapped up the theory of global warming and gone to town with coverage on the imminent danger facing mankind. This theory has even filtered down to the teaching curriculum of universities and high schools all over the world! Environmental organizations were set up to campaign for preventive measures to be taken to reverse “global warming” and “climate change”. As before, nay-sayers were shouted down and labeled as reactionary, “blind to reality” or just plain ignorant. The sad thing was, as in the case of the theory of eugenics, so few objected to this theory.

Unfortunately, in their fervor to campaign for preventative measures to be taken to mitigate climate change, palm oil has been unfairly targeted by these environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the Friends of the Earth (FOE), Wetlands and the esoterically and oddly named Mongabay, with accusations of deforestation to the potential extinction of the pygmy elephant and orang utan right across the entire spectrum of environmental “transgressions” to global warming.

Just how much credence can we give to this assertion?

The Palm Oil Truth Foundation takes the view that climate change theory is clearly unproven and is currently at best a pseudoscience. It makes us cringe to see the gross abuse of climate change theory by the less scrupulous amongst us – shocking in view of the obvious environmental pedigree (or at least, public perception of their pedigree) of some of them. But we’ve gone down that path before, haven’t we, just a short fifty years or so ago?

To make matters more disconcerting is the fact that vis a vis the competing oil seed crops such as soy, rapeseed and sunflower, palm oil has an enviable record for CO2 sequestration. Whilst no virgin forests have been cleared for replanting with palm oil, at least for the past decade or so in Malaysia the oil palm tree with its extremely high leaf index is unmatchable when it comes to sequestering CO2 when compared to the competing oil seeds.

We have to ask just why palm oil attracts all this flak from environmental organizations when it is patently obvious to all and sundry that its environmental record is far superior to the competing oil-seeds.

Finally, the Palm Oil Truth Foundation urges caution and recommends that the media should be more vigorous in their examination of this pseudoscience of “global warming” lest we repeat the horrendous mistakes that were committed, not too long ago, in the name of a “scientific” theory that had been blindly accepted by all and sundry. The parallel is obvious! THE END.

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

Environmentalism And The Law Of Unintended Consequences
Aug 13, 2008
by Ross Spencer

The Law of Unintended Consequences states that any purposeful action will produce some unintended consequences. A classic example is a bypass - a road built to relieve traffic congestion on a congested road - that attracts new development and with it more traffic, resulting in two congested streets instead of one.

This maxim is consistent with Murphy's law and serves as a warning against the belief that we can control the world around us. In other words, each cause has more than one effect, which will invariably include at least one side effect. The side effect can potentially be more unpleasant than any of the intended effects.

Deforestation Watch has always taken the view that responsible environmental activism must always be tempered with an awareness of the consequences of such activism. However, environmental organizations such as Greenpeace, the Friends of the Earth (FOE), Wetlands, and the more esoterically and arcanely named Treehugger and Mongabay can claim almost exclusive proprietary rights to this unfortunate maxim of unintended consequences, wreaking momentous but grave and severe consequences on the world's economy and progress.

Palm oil, of course has not been spared their irrational activism. Greenpeace, FOE, Wetlands, Treehugger and Mongabay have been falling over each other to pin all manner of accusations against this poor third world crop, each more ridiculous than the other, ranging from deforestation to threatening the extinction of pygmy elephants and the orang utan right up to global warming!

In the wake of their activism, they leave behind a trail of the mother of all unintended consequences with the world facing a serious global oil and food crisis.

Around the world, rising food prices have made basic staples like rice and corn unaffordable for many people, pushing the poor to the barricades because they can no longer get enough to eat. But the worst is yet to come.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) addressed this global crisis at a joint meeting recently. World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that exploding food prices threaten to cause instability in at least 33 countries, including regional powers like Egypt, Indonesia and Pakistan, where the army has had to be brought in to protect flour transports. There has been unrest in recent weeks in Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, the Ivory Coast and Cameroon, where the violence has already claimed about 100 lives.

Crude oil prices in July skyrocketed to an unheard of level of US$145 per barrel from just US$45 per barrel in July 2004. The aforementioned environmental organizations were conspicuous by their strange reticence over the issue. For once, the world was spared the histrionics and frothing-from-the-mouth from these purveyors of the melodramatic and the theatrical as they fell into an embarrassed- silence, very much like kids caught with their hands in the cookie jars!

In the continental USA, gas shot past $4 a gallon. Oil had risen to record levels and threatened to continue rising. The USA currently imports two-thirds of their oil. Yet due to the lobbying of the environmental Svengalis, the USA had voluntarily prohibited itself from even exploring huge domestic reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the Artic Circle.

At a time when U.S. crude oil production had fallen 40 percent in the last 25 years, 75 billion barrels of oil have been declared off-limits, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That would be enough to replace every barrel of non-North American imports (oil trade with Canada and Mexico is a net economic and national security plus) for 22 years.

That's nearly a quarter-century of energy independence. Fortunately, the average American is waking up to the absurdity of the situation. To which Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain is urging Congress to responding with a partial fix: Lift the federal ban on Outer Continental Shelf drilling, where a fifth of the off-limits oil lies.

It is estimated that the Arctic Circle holds an estimated 90 billion barrels of recoverable oil, and 1,670 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough supply to meet current world demand for almost three years, the U.S. Geological Survey said recently.

The Arctic accounts for about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas and 20 percent of the undiscovered natural gas liquids, the agency said in the first publicly available petroleum resource estimate of the entire area north of the Arctic Circle.

More than half of the undiscovered oil resources are estimated to occur in just three geologic provinces: Arctic Alaska (30 billion barrels), the Amerasia Basin (9.7 billion barrels) and the East Greenland Rift Basins (8.9 billion barrels).

More than 70 percent of the undiscovered natural gas is likely to be in three provinces: the West Siberian Basin (651 Tcf), the East Barents Basins (318 Tcf) and Arctic Alaska (221 Tcf), the USGS said.

"Before we can make decisions about our future use of oil and gas and related decisions about protecting endangered species, native communities and the health of our planet, we need to know what's out there," said USGS Director Mark Myers.

"With this assessment, we're providing the same information to everyone in the world so that the global community can make those difficult decisions," he said.

In the view of Deforestation Watch, much as we subscribe to the tenets of good and sustainable environmental practices, the decision is not a difficult one. When push comes to shove, environmental niceties necessarily have to take a back seat to the feeding of the world's poor and global economic stability!

Ross Spencer is an independent columnist

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

Deforestation Watch is funded by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council. As is the Palm Oil Truth Foundation. Both aim to promote palm oil.

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

Mongabay has never claimed that palm oil will drive the pygmy elephant or the orangutan to extinction. This is propaganda manufactured by MPOC to mislead the public.

Mongabay has reported on a UNEP study that warned orangutans could face extinction if forest clearing in Indonesia and Malaysia continues apace.

See for yourself:
http://news.mongabay.com/2007/0206-unep.html

Mongabay cannot speak for the other organizations named by MPOC in these editorials.

Rhett

Palm Oil Consumer (Palmoilconsumer.com) is also funded by the MPOC

Palm Oil Truth Foundation Watch

Carnell Solis (IP: 94.102.60.151)

SPAM ATTEMPT / MALICIOUS ACTIVITY

Carnell Solis (IP: 94.102.60.151)

I've been reading this very interesting string, which has gradually been dominated more and more by the well paid and cynical advisors to Malaysia's multi million dollar Palm Oil industry.

They, very strongly, churn out stuff like this (inbetween brackets):

"In the view of the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, we should not hesitate to interrogate the claim that palm oil is responsible for massive deforestation and climate change".

Any idiot can see that in the nineties vast arrays of tropical virgin forest were slashed and burned in Sabah and Sarawak. Just take a trip down the Kinabatangan River! All your fancy words cannot conceil that Malaysia, like Indonesia, has contributed to industrialising Borneo (and penninsula Malaysia before) with monotonous palm oil plantations. Double winnings: sell the timber and use the land for palm oil. Now is not the time to point the finger however, now is the time to recognise the graveness of the situation and see what can be done to save rainforests and promote biodiversity. So STOP all these stupid propoganda speeches, nobody will buy it anymore!!

Here's another one:
"As with any challenge to climate change alarmism, the answer is 'but the science says...' In this sense, science is environmentalism's fig leaf."

It's got nothing to do with scientists, they just back up what we already know. The world is watching and wants action, even Prince Charles has started a movement to save the lungsof the earth - the rainforests -, and seems pretty earnest in doing so.

We must find ways to stop deforestation, while making the forests pay there way fr the local economy, for instance by selective logging that leaves the core of the forest in tact.

That's it, greetings from green crazy The Netherlands, Europe.

Charles

Carrot anyone?

Projects related to orang utan conservation can be proposed under the auspices of the Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF) for consideration. All that needs to be done is to write in to MPOC with a comprehensive project proposal.

(Yusof Basiron, October 13 2010,Zoos Victoria Creating Agricultural Trade War Amongst Friendly Nations)

Jim

Yusof Basiron of MPOC represents an old school generation of Malaysia, a generation that soon could be wiped out after next general election in the country (if that election goes well without corruption). Top down approach that suppresses ordinary people for the benefit of business and political elites. Currently, MPOC only bring more harm to Malaysia’s international reputation than good image. However, those PR companies and dubious environmental NGOs (pocketing so much money these days because their unholy alliance with MPOC) that have cowardly stood behind MPOC should not be overlooked. Palm oil money has subdued them mentally and blinded them permanently to work with MPOC for the wrong reasons.

I strongly agree with some people like Koh that new oil palm expansion should not be allowed FOREEVER to take place in pristine and secondary forests of Southeast Asia and elsewhere with the overwhelmed scientific evidence showing massive biodiversity loss. This forest moratorium should be an ultimate point agreed by all palm oil stakeholders, with no compromise. In addition, Yusof Basiron boasted about elite oil palm that can be ten times productive than the conventional oil palm strains, so let we all see this to happen in the existing oil palm areas. Thus, there is no need to cause more and more deforestation in Malaysia or other tropical countries.

Environmental NGOs or any conservation groups should be careful with MPOC and its generous offer for grant money to implement conservation project. MPOC only interested to dictate conservationists or biologists (good project can be hijacked) rather than to promote biodiversity conservation genuinely. Unless MPOC changes its stands, admits the truths, and genuine to save biodiversity, don't sell your soul to MPOC!

Jim

Logjam has occured in Rejang River recently in the state of Sarawak, Malaysia Borneo.
So much lip service coming out from MPOC about 'no-deforestation' in Malaysia.

Jim

But it's sustainable logging in Sarawak, right? The Rajang tree tsunami was just an "accident" that had nothing to do with logging according to some Malaysian government ministers.

Kimbo

True, but sustainable forestry plan that only sits well on book shelf in the government agency and as a paper work that was meant to be highlighted in seminars/conferences.

Jim

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