- Posted April 2, 2012 by
Los Angeles, California
Palm oil: Luck has nothing to do with its success
When I contemplate his lucky escape and the situation that confronts palm oil on a daily basis, having to put up with constant sniping from “green” and “civil society” groups with their snide anti-palm oil campaigns based on their ridiculous claims that the palm oil industry is causing such massive deforestation that it threatens the extinction of the orangutan, luck had nothing to do with palm oil forging inexorably ahead.
Yes, palm oil is fortuitous that these accusations fly in the face of facts.
For one, palm oil is planted on only 0.23% of the world’s agricultural lands and yet produces 30% of the world’s supply of edible oils, making palm oil the market leader in the global edible oil stakes. Could this be the real reason for all the flak and animosity that palm oil is attracting? Any objective observer will instinctively know that something does not compute with the allegations of the green groups.
For another, at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, Malaysia made a commitment to preserve 50% of its lands as permanent forests. In this regard, the country has exceeded the target, boasting 59.5% forest cover as at 2011. (see: CIA World Factbook 2011)
Implicit in these accusations of deforestation is the allegations that the resultant denuding of forests results in the release of CO2. Yet, “in 2000, Malaysia generated and emitted 223.1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (eq) and removed 249.8 million tonnes of CO2 eq. This was mostly by the forests and plantation tree crops belonging to the Land Use and Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector, as reported officially in a published document submitted to the United Nations UNFCC (see nc2.nre.gov.my). This means that in the year 2000, the country was a carbon sink with a negative net emission of 26.7 million tonnes CO2 eq.” (see: http://www.ceopalmoil.com/2012/02/indirect-land-use-change-green-house-gas-emission-and-trade-protectionism/) “In 2000, Malaysia had 3.376 million hectares of oil palm plantations. The carbon removal capacity of this plantation crop was 82 million tonnes, while total emission from the LULUCF and agricultural sector was 35.5 million tonnes CO2 eq. This implies that oil palm plantations can remove not only its own emission generated from deforestation and methane emission from processing of effluent ponds at the palm oil mills, but also the emissions from all land use change and agricultural activities of the country.”
As for the extinction of the orangutan, one of the prime provocateurs and movers of the charge was the Rainforest Action Network (RAN). Suffice it to say that RAN had to sheepishly remove from their website their wild allegation that palm oil cultivation would lead to the extinction of the orang utan by 2011. Well 2011 is long gone and the orang utan population in the wild has grown instead of going extinct when new tribes of more than 2000 wild apes were found in the East Kalimantan province of Indonesia, as reported by National Geographic. With roughly 50,000 orangutans thought to remain in the wild, the new find could add 5 percent to the world’s known orangutan numbers, said Erik Meijaard, senior ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in Indonesia.
Perhaps, the Girls Scouts of America should give RAN and the entire cabal of “green” and “civil society” groups ranging from Greenpeace to Friends of the Earth (FOE) to the WWF and even zoos like the Melbourne Zoo, the Auckland Zoo and the Philly Zoo merit badges for spin! It would sit pretty well on their puffed up nosey parker chests!