The Energy, Water, and Communications Minister of Malaysia expresses his concerns over a boycott of palm oil in a speech to a gathering of biofuel traders (from the AFP):
“They come up with ‘Palm oil kills … the orangutan’,” said the minister in a fiery speech, during which he repeatedly mimicked orangutan noises.
“They know they cannot compete with palm oil so how do they fight you? They find some reason and hit you below the belt.”
“So we have to fight that. Don’t worry … we will. When Malaysians get angry, they fight. And I guarantee you we will win.”
I just hope he doesn’t go home and slap a bounty on orangutans. (Click here if you are curious to know what a real orangutan sounds like.) The minister seems to think that European rapeseed farmers are behind it all, and who knows, maybe they are.
I think I know what is going on here. Our well-meaning European environmentalist brethren have been lumping Malaysia in with Indonesia (they are all the same, those Southeast Asians). Both have palm oil plantations out the ying yang and they share a common border. However, Malaysia has a much better grip on sustainable forest practices than its rival, Indonesia. The problem is basically this: Malaysia has a population of 25 million while Indonesia has a population of 245 million, just slightly less than the United States, making it the fourth most populous country on the planet. Not that adding 3 million people a year inside a boundary that is 1/5 the size of the U. S. could possibly exacerbate ecosystem destruction and poverty …
Here is another article by an outraged Malaysian in The New Straits Times titled, “A distortion of facts, by palm oil critics.” I enjoyed it because he not only ripped the U.K. a new one but did so while distorting a few facts of his own:
This underscores the superiority of oil palm in generating oxygen for the benefit of the world.
The world is not short on oxygen.
Another major contribution to the world is the ability of the four million hectares of oil palm to absorb twice the amount of carbon dioxide.
Palm oil plantations are not carbon sinks. The carbon they sequester is put right back into the atmosphere as soon as the oil is burned.
It should also be pointed out that carbon dioxide levels are at their upper limits of acceptability in the Western hemisphere.
That is the funny thing about global warming. It is global. CO2 released in the Western hemisphere affects the other hemisphere.