Biomass energy: the government energy policy disaster that keeps on giving. Yet another reason why biofuel subsidies and biofuel legislated requirements are a bad idea.
A new study on greenhouse gas emissions from oil palm plantations has calculated a more than 50% increase in levels of CO2 emissions than previously thought and warned that the demand for 'green' biofuels could be costing the earth.
The study from the University of Leicester was conducted for the International Council on Clean Transportation, an international think tank that wished to assess the greenhouse gas emissions associated with biodiesel production. Biodiesel mandates can increase palm oil demand directly (the European Biodiesel Board recently reported big increases in biodiesel imported from Indonesia) and also indirectly, because palm oil is the world's most important source of vegetable oil and will replace oil from rapeseed or soy in food if they are instead used to make biodiesel.
The palm oil plantations let more light hit the ground, heating up the soil, drying it out, and causing the peatlands to break down.
There is more carbon stored in tropical peatlands than in tropical forests.
Dr Sue Page, Reader in Physical Geography at the University of Leicester, added: "Tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia are a globally important store of soil carbon exceeding the amount stored in tropical forest vegetation. They are under enormous pressure from plantation development. Projections indicate an increase in oil palm plantations on peat to a total area of 2.5Mha by the year 2020 in western Indonesia alone an area equivalent in size to the land area of the United Kingdom."
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2011 November 08 07:47 PM Energy Biomass|