I noticed that part of the funding from the latest defense spending bill (the same one that failed to drill in the Arctic Refuge) will be used to study the use of alternative fuels in the military.

This got me to wondering if the military is already using biodiesel, which led me to this older article on Wired, which suggests that the U.S. military may be the biggest consumer of biodiesel in the U.S. What a brilliant backdoor means of subsidizing American farmers. Order the military to use biodiesel (apparently regardless of cost) whenever it is available — sweet. Now, if they can just convince us to flush it down our toilets.

Thailand jumps on the bandwagon, joining Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, and South America in the frenzy to feed our rainforests and food crops to our cars:

The Agriculture Ministry said it has a plan to encourage farmers in the southern, eastern, northeastern and central regions of Thailand to plant two million rai [1,200 square miles] of oil palms in anticipation of strong demand for palm oil as a raw material in the production of biodiesel …

The incentives to be granted by the government to farmers include paying compensation to farmers who opt to switch to oil palms from other crops, such as rambutan, in cases where the oil palms planted do not have sufficiently high yields in the initial phase, in addition to supplying free fertilizer and oil palm seeds.

And, from the Financial Express:

Haze from forest fires in Indonesia before the peak harvest season blocked out sunlight, lowering [palm oil] crop yields [in Malaysia].

Demand will grow faster than production because of this trend of looking to vegetable oils as bio-diesel …

The Netherlands and other European countries ordered 17% more Malaysian palm oil in the first 10 months of the year from a year ago …

The European Union requires biofuels to make up 5.75% of gasoline and diesel consumption in its member states by 2010.