The law of unintended consequences shows us once again why trying to engineer social outcomes on a global scale is a dangerous game.
Forests paying the price for biofuels
THE drive for "green energy" in the developed world is having the perverse effect of encouraging the destruction of tropical rainforests. From the orang-utan reserves of Borneo to the Brazilian Amazon, virgin forest is being razed to grow palm oil and soybeans to fuel cars and power stations in Europe and North America. And surging prices are likely to accelerate the destruction
The rush to make energy from vegetable oils is being driven in part by European Union laws requiring conventional fuels to be blended with biofuels, and by subsidies equivalent to 20 pence a litre. Last week, the British government announced a target for biofuels to make up 5 per cent of transport fuels by 2010. The aim is to help meet Kyoto protocol targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Every argument that I have ever heard in favor of the Kyoto protocol fails to take into account the enormity of our world, and our ignorance of the ways its incredibly complex systems work. We simply don't know enough to make global statements--with unearned confidence--the way the Kyoto Treaty does.