The re-greening of Europe

A glaring omission from Doug Sanders’ list of reasons for the absence of publicity surrounding the European Union’s massive reforestation program (The hush-hush regreening of Europe, 22 December) is the EU’s push for palm oil biodiesel. Europe’s rapidly increasing demand for biodiesel, coupled with its strict environmental regulations regarding agricultural and forestry activities, is encouraging countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia to deforest large areas of tropical forest for the creation of palm oil plantations. While biodiesel may reduce European greenhouse gas emissions, Asian tropical deforestation is often done by fire, making it a major source of both regional air pollution and anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. In not publicizing its reforestation program, the EU keeps its green façade by promoting biodiesel and avoids being accused of maintaining a double standard: reforestation at home and deforestation abroad.

Submitted: Globe and Mail 27 December 2007. Unpublished