Haven’t they heard of the Precautionary Principle in Europe?

Increased demand for Biodiesel is increasing the demand for its inputs. What are its inputs? Rainforests.

Its not biodiversity that makes rainforests useful in the production of biodiesel. Its the land under all that biodiversity that is useful for planting soybean plants and such. Result? More rainforests are being cleared to meet the demand for biodiesel.

Why is there increased demand? The UK and EU are subsidizing biofuels.

This shows how empty the Precautionary Principle is… With environmental issues, how do you know if taking action or not taking action is on the side of precaution? In some cases its obvious. If you’re pumping radioactive waste into baby pools, stop. If a technology is found to make a hybred SUV just as expensive as your gas guzzeler, switch. But in most cases its not so cut in dry. It’s hard to tell what the unintended consequences will be of action or inaction.

Certainly, if the EU can’t get it right, no one will be able to.

UPDATE: Env-Econ has a write-up of this issue.

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