Image right is of an oil palm, of which Jonathan Green in the Daily Mail writes yesterday. It is being used to provide biodiesel, and is destroying the forests. But why did they do this when ethanol can be produced from farm waste? Further, this confuses the issue of biofuel, making people think it is all bad. Part of the reason is sloppy journalism; few journalists really want to take the time to develop their stories, so they get a few soundbites and off they are like mad rats to make deadline.
Had they spent half-an-hour or so looking at the details, we might not have whole populations in Sumatra slaughtered for the sake of biodiesel, which they were slap happy to promote a while back; a few years ago, there were many who were proclaiming that biodiesel was the Messiah, probably the same fools proclaiming that global cooling was coming and it was the end of the world.
So what are the important details that they overlooked? For one thing, biodiesel has a high viscosity, and is not so good in cold climates. For another, one must grow lots and lots of oil rich plants, which leads to monocrop culture and an increase in crop specific pests and diseases. Large swathes of forest land have been cleared, with the support of fools like Tony Blair, and now people in places we aren't aware of are dying of starvation.
Ethanol, on the other hand, comes from existing farm wastes. People like George Monbiot seem to be quite unaware of this as they dismiss biofuel, and sadly, while he gets paid well, people in Indonesia are suffering for his kind of journalism. If he and the press gang had listened a decade ago, they could have been heroes, turning unwanted farm waste into ethanol, as Henry Ford encouraged. Ah, but today's journalists can't be bovvered to listen to him or any serious environmentalists. Instead, they are out attending parties sponsored by the media giant Sony, who slaughtered a goat as a sacrifice to the 'gods' of war and had semi-naked wait staff put things in journalists mouths, unless they wanted to put things in their own mouths, like the goat's blood and organs.
These and other stupid diversions get the attention of the fourth estate, which is quite rude when one calls up and tries to get them to pay attention to the real issues. The water supply is now being contaminated in the US, but where was the press? It's up to reporters and bloggists like Schmoo to run these stories while Sony puts things in their mouths at parties promoting violent video games.
Which makes them complicit in the earth's demise, as some kind of laid back eco-terrorists, helping to cover up the facts in the tradition of William Randolph Hearst.