Together the two studies offer sweeping conclusions: It does not matter if it is rain forest or scrubland that is cleared, the greenhouse gas contribution is significant. More important, they discovered that, taken globally, the production of almost all biofuels resulted, directly or indirectly, intentionally or not, in new lands being cleared, either for food or fuel.The findings of these studies come as no surprise to observers of Indonesia. The Indonesians have been burning whole forests to clear land for palm trees for biodiesel. Every October, people across the straights in Singapore and Malaysia choke from all the smoke.
Food prices worldwide have been rising sharply, and the poorest have been hardest hit. The trend is partly a consequence of the fact food crops face competition for land from biofuel crops like palm oil or corn. Biofuel is bad news in more ways than one.