Prevent the UK from Using Fuel Subsidies for Deforestation

Target: Lord Speaker Baroness Frances D’Souza; John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons

Goal: Do not use fuel subsidies to fund palm oil energy in the UK

In the UK, Members of Parliament may soon vote to use subsidies on fuel bought by citizens to fund palm oil power development. This would destroy the habitats of tigers, rhinos, orangutans, and elephants. The proposal was introduced by the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

According to the Ecologist, Chief Scientific Advisor Sir John Beddington has called the idea “profoundly stupid.” The plan would, in essence, create bio-fuel farms in the middle of tropical rainforests. These subsidies would last for the next 20 years.

Much of the land used for palm oil production would otherwise be used to cultivate food crops for impoverished communities. Palm oil plantations are also rife with poor labor laws, which harm mostly third-world workers, including children. The growth of the palm oil industry in the developing world is linked to increased carbon emissions and deforestation.

Palm oil is inexpensive, much more so than other biofuels. Developers hope to create a demand for the cheap product, paradoxically marketing it as a form of “green” energy. The amount of land needed to produce palm oil far exceeds the amount of electricity it provides for a grid of the same area. In no way is a resource sustainable if it destroys land and communities in the wake of its progress. Ask members of Parliament not to use fuel subsidies to fund palm oil energy in the UK.


Dear Ms. D’Souza and Mr. Bercow,

Members of Parliament have been debating whether or not to use fuel subsidies to fund the expansion of palm oil energy usage in the UK. The cultivation of mass quantities of palm oil in tropical rainforests is destructive to the habitats of endangered species like orangutans, elephants, tigers, and rhinos. These are each species the Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs has sworn to protect.

The cultivation of palm oil is also detrimental to human communities, as palm oil plantations are infamous for providing poor labor conditions that affect both women and children. Palm oil is also an inefficient source of fuel. The amount of acreage needed to produce even a small amount of palm oil electricity negates its usefulness as a type of fuel. For all these reasons, I ask you not to use fuel subsidies to pay for palm oil electricity.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Keven Law via Wikimedia Commons

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