Photo of "Australia" by reinn. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

As anyone who has seen episode 2F13 of The Simpsons (aka Bart vs. Australia) knows, introducing foreign species into an environment can have dangerous effects. A real-world situation - not really all that similar, but I like to reference the Simpsons whenever possible - in Australia shows the sad connection between environmental destruction and the way some biofuels are produced.

The Australian reports that Australia's large-scale biofuel imports are exacerbating the "widespread destruction of tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia." Orangutans and other endangered species are directly affected by the deforestation, but cheap biodiesel from Southeast Asia remains popular Down Under. Australia has dealt with the negative effects of growing crops for biofuels by banning two types of plants that had been intended for biofuel production in 2006 because of fears they would turn invasive. Therefore, domestic production is now mostly limited to companies that use tallow and recycled cooking oil as the feedstock. For now, according to one source, Australia remains the "dumping ground for palm oil-based biodiesel." Looks like Better Place, the evMe and the Holden Volt can't come soon enough.

[Source: The Australian]


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