Press Release – Deforestation Watch
Christmas is supposed to be a time of generosity and goodwill. However, the acts of generosity and goodwill that flourishes in December often fade quickly, causing many to say, “I wish we could keep the Christmas spirit all year long.” Why does …Palm Oil And The Spirit Of Christmas
Christmas is supposed to be a time of generosity and goodwill. However, the acts of generosity and goodwill that flourishes in December often fade quickly, causing many to say, “I wish we could keep the Christmas spirit all year long.” Why does it seem that kindness and compassion are chained to the calendar? Is there an ever-flowing fountain of compassion deeper than warm holiday feelings that pass with the season?
However, the entire cabal of “green” and “civil society” groups such as the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Greenpeace, the Friends of the earth (FOE), the WWF and even zoos like the Melbourne Zoo, the Auckland Zoo and the Philly Zoo, appear to be bereft of the redeeming human qualities of generosity, goodwill or compassion.
Is there a reason for their seemingly all consuming passion to rein in the growth of what is probably the most inherently sustainable of all oilseed crops?
In our view, if there is a single murky thread linking the roiling cauldron of palm oil issues raised by green groups and their financial committees, it is the seemingly insatiable appetite for funds! Why, a recent report by researchers Caroline Boin and Andrea Marchesetti entitled “Friends of the EU,” (see: policynetwork.net/accountability/publication/friends-eu) showed that the EU, through its Environmental Directorate and Commission is involved in funding up to 70% of the operating budgets of FOE EU.
By a strange coincidence, FOE’s attacks against palm oil began soon after the transfer of funds! From 1998 to 2009, there was a substantial increase in funds given by the Commission to environmental groups: from 72,337,924 Euros (1998) to 78,749,940 Euros (2009) –an average increase of 13% every year. During this period, the EU’s funding of FOE EU increased by 325% and WWF European Policy Office by 270%!
It is no coincidence that the EU has large rapeseed and sunflower oil industries to protect!
As early as 2005, the curiously named Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) published a “report” called “Cruel Oil: How palm oil harms health, rainforest and wildlife.” This report was prepared with the assistance of Aid Environment listed as partners with Hivos — a Netherlands based civil society group with direct links to campaigns in Indonesia. Hivos, in turn, is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs for close to 66% of its massive annual 100 Million Euro budget.
Palm oil is cultivated on just 0.23% of the world’s agricultural lands and yet produces a whopping 30% of global palm oil supply! If we were to compare the total area under palm oil cultivation against the entire available global land, the percentage planted with palm oil drops to insignificance.
Yet, rabble rousers such as the Melbourne Zoo would have the world believe that “”98 percent of the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia will disappear” within a mere 8 years due to palm oil cultivation.” Sadly this bizarre claim came from a UN body (UNEP), a claim that reduces this august body to the same level as religious loons like Harold Camping and his Oakland based Family Radio who predicted that the world would end on May 21st 2011.
Malaysia was erstwhile the world’s largest producer of palm oil for over a century. Yet after planting palm oil for more than a hundred years, Malaysia can still boast forest cover of 56% (FAO 2007) which dwarfs the forest cover of 14-20 per cent prevalent in the developed west from which these agitators hail! If their claims were true, Malaysia would have just 2% forest cover by 2020 (a mere 8 years from now), a claim that is laughable considering the historical performance of the industry!
In the final analysis, Deforestation Watch wonders whether the true reason for all the flak that palm oil attracts is the incredible yield that the commodity is blessed with, a yield of 4-5 metric tons per hectare that is close to 10 times that of its competitors!