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Sunday, January 20, 2008

A New, Global Oil Quandary: Costly Fuel Means Costly Calories - New York Times

A New, Global Oil Quandary: Costly Fuel Means Costly Calories - New York Times: "Growth in Biofuels

Biofuels accounted for almost half the increase in worldwide demand for vegetable oils last year, and represented 7 percent of total consumption of the oils, according to Oil World, a forecasting service in Hamburg, Germany.

The growth of biodiesel, which can be mixed with regular diesel, has been controversial, not only because it competes with food uses of oil but also because of environmental concerns. European conservation groups have been warning that tropical forests are being leveled to make way for oil palm plantations, destroying habitat for orangutans and Sumatran rhinoceroses while also releasing greenhouse gases.

The European Union has moved to restrict imports of palm oil grown in unsustainable ways. The measure has incensed the Malaysian palm oil industry, which had plunged into biofuel production in part to satisfy European demand.

Another controversy involves the treatment of indigenous peoples whose lands have been seized by oil plantations. This has been a particular issue on Borneo."


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