@ Frank Heller,
Please name a distinguished scientist and the distinguished scientific journal in which he or she has published his or her research. Thanks.
There are many concerns about the damage inflicted on world forests due to the cultivation of feed stocks for biofuel production. In many places, it is threatening plant and animal diversity. Extinction of many animals is a major concern. The destruction of world forests is also contributing enormously to the production of atmospheric CO2, as I understand, through the burn during the clearing of the forest in preparation for farming. You did not address this concern in your article. Thanks
Deforestation of tropical rain forests for the cultivation of oil palm, has done enormous environmental damage in the equatorial Pacific islands. In Borneo, palm oil plantations are rapidly encroaching on the last remnants of primary rainforest (Wikipedia). Thomas Friedman (Hot, Flat, and Crowded): "A century ago there were over 300,000 orangutans living in the wilds of Indonesia and Malaysia. Since then, more than 90% of the population has been wiped out, many in the last decade and a half." " That is what we're doing. 'We need this money from our oil palm plantations--sorry about the great forest of Borneo and the orangutans."
The following lead paragraph is from an article on Mongabay.com dated July 9, 2008.
"Malaysia's Land Development Authority FELDA has announced plans to immediately establish 100,000 hectares (250,000) of oil palm plantations in the Brazilian Amazon." It goes on to say: "As the world's highest yielding mass market oilseed, palm oil will likely offer better financial returns than cattle ranching and mechanized soy farms, the dominant agricultural activities in Brazilian Amazon, and will employ larger numbers of people." and; "Oil palm producers may also benefit from a "logging subsidy" whereby timber harvested from a tract of land helps offset the cost of establishing a plantation."
I'm not against the development of biofuels, but the discussion has omitted many important concerns that must be addressed in any discussion of biofuels. What is the benefit of solving one problem by creating another one that may be irreversible . Industry, left unchecked, will not stop to save the orangutan or any other species in Borneo or the Amazon.