Monday, November 20, 2006

Indonesia: Biofuels among the brighter subjects addressed in joint statement

I think that of all the subjects touched upon in the Joint Statement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Indonesia during Bush's visit, that:

The two leaders noted the tremendous opportunities for cooperation between Indonesia and the United States in the areas of alternative fuels and environmental protection. President Yudhoyono briefed President Bush on his ambitious biofuel development initiative and the Presidents endorsed the U.S.-Indonesia Energy Policy Dialogue as a forum to discuss ways and means to acquire clean and safe alternative energy, including biofuels.

is the most promising and most dangerous high-level development. I support the careful, yet aggressive development of biofuels, maximizing the productivity of existing land in cropping systems, but there is a huge need to preserve intact any remaining primeval forest that can be spared from clearing. See Biofuels in S.E. Asia--"Technology Gone Mad" for an illustrative photo and some links. I think that if USDA Foreign Agriculture Service and DoE folks want to spend a little money on research on either harvesting biodiesel from rubberseed and/or intercropping biodiesel yielding crops with food crops and rubber, that you have some possibilities of helping to alleviate real poverty, if smallholders and village-scale biodiesel manufacture is the target. The big oil palm plantations destroy the forests, may make labor more vulnerable, and may destroy community in a way that small holder systems do not.

Rubber also produces rubberwood, a source of wood and wood products that is not sourced from intact, native tropical forests in Indonesia, the conservation of which is a significant interest for all of humanity, in preserving biodiversity and not exacerbating climate change.

More later...

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