So says George Monbiot in an editorial published in the Guardian December 6.
Perhaps best characterized as an environmental activist, Monbiot writes a weekly column for the Guardian and is currently visiting professor of planning at Oxford Brookes University.

In his article "Worse than Fossil Fuel," Monbiot maintains that biodiesel has an environmental impact worse than the fossil fuel it replaces - he calls it the world's most carbon-intensive fuel.

The problem is that producing enough biodiesel to fuel a significant fraction of the world's vehicles will require oil from palm trees - the most efficient oil producing crop in the world. Unfortunately, clearing tropical lands for oil palm plantations requires burning off vast areas of forest, and draining and drying of tropical peatlands, both of which release enormous quantities of carbon.

With the EU pushing for biodiesels as the feel-good answer to transportation fuel, and millions of hectares of tropical forest being cleared to meet the demand, Manbiot is harshly critical of the U.K. government - "It is prepared to sacrifice the South East Asian rainforests in order to be seen to do something, and to allow motorists to feel better about themselves."

His arguments are interesting and well-reasoned. Check it out. Also see his earlier article on the same subject here.



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