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The Heidelburg Appeal and Palm Oil

The Heidelburg Appeal and Palm Oil

By Lisa Everson

“The undersigned members of the international scientific and intellectual community share the objectives of the “Earth Summit,” to be held at Rio de Janeiro under the auspices of the United Nations, and support the principles of the following declaration.

We want to make our full contribution to the preservation of our common heritage, the Earth.

We are however worried, at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.”

More than 4,000 scientists and over 70 Nobel laureates put their signature to this now historic document called the “Heidelburg Appeal” addressed to the Heads of Government gathered at the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro under the auspices of the United Nations.

The declaration goes on to state:

“We do however forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet’s destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and irrelevant data.

We draw everybody’s attention to the absolute necessity of helping poor countries attain a level of sustainable development which matches that of the rest of the planet, protecting them from troubles and dangers stemming from developed nations, and avoiding their entanglement in a web of unrealistic obligations which would compromise both their integrity and their dignity.”

The emphasis on the importance of basing our decision-making on “scientific criteria and not on irrational preconceptions,” by this group of concerned scientists and intellectuals has served as a serious indictment against the exuberant irrationality of the environmental protection community, in particular the curiously named Greenpeace and the Friends of the Earth (FOE) and the media on the issue of global warming.

Deforestation Watch, in particular takes heart in the statement’s level headed call on “the absolute necessity of helping poor countries attain a level of sustainable development which matches that of the rest of the planet…and avoiding their entanglement in a web of unrealistic obligations...”

If only Greenpeace and the FOE are capable of the same degree of even-handedness and maturity of thought!

It is certainly perplexing to note Greenpeace’s and FOE’s irrational intransigence against a commodity that has promised and done so much to lift third world communities out of poverty and yet at the same time embrace sustainable planting practices.

Take the recent brouhaha by Greenpeace against the first shipment of sustainable palm oil from Indonesia. In typical Greenpeace fashion, they attempted to prevent the loading of crude palm oil on the Isola Corallo, a Rotterdam-bound tanker in Dumai, Indonesia's main palm oil export port.

A Greenpeace activist was locked onto the anchor chain of the Isola Corallo for over 36 hours to stop it from moving. The Greenpeace ship, Esperanza, then occupied the palm oil loading facility to prevent the Isola Corrallo from loading Sinar Mas palm oil. The Esperanza was finally forced off the berth by Port authority tugs after a seven hour face-off.

When Greenpeace is not engaged in deviant criminal acts such as the Dumai port Cirque de Soleil act, they are busy shouting themselves hoarse about the imagined damage to the rainforest by palm oil.

Even the first Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certified sustainable palm oil shipment from Malaysia by United Plantations (UP) was not spared. It is actions such as this that raises serious questions as to the true motives of Greenpeace. If sincere attempts to comply with RSPO recommended directives by UP, an oil palm company with more than a hundred years of compliance with the principles of sustainable development, can be attacked with such venom by Greenpeace, then Greenpeace opens themselves to the legitimate query as to what their real agenda is.

Finally, given the stringent requirements laid down by RSPO for qualification for certification by palm oil companies, it is perfectly plausible that Greenpeace’s actions will serve as a strong disincentive for palm oil companies to seek such certification in the future!

ENDS

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