Wednesday, 06 June 2012
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) entered environmental politics on a ticket of palm oil opposition, drawing succor and delight from the notoriety and spiritual greyness that such a position gives them in much the same way that others draw warmth from the sun.
More so than any other reason, this writer ventures to postulate, is the financial rewards that such an approach attracts, to hell with the consequences. Their raging iconoclasm, which borders on an expression of a systematic and sinister creation of a well engineered discrimination – a kind of “palmophobia”, if you will, of probably the most benign edible oilseed crop, environmentally speaking may hurt the millions of smallholders and their families who depend on palm oil as a source of subsistence. By employing this sleight of hand to turn an otherwise sustainable crop through carpet bombing of the mass media to elicit the moral disapproval and to daub palm oil in the same unpleasant colors as tobacco or whale hunting, the UCS have shown a remarkable lack of remorse for the human costs that they exact just to fill their coffers in the form of the probable "research" grants that will eventually worm their way into their bank accounts!
In any industry there will be isolated cases of rule infringement and violation of the spirit and letter of the law. Over the past months, this and similar groups have been remarkably successful in persuading leading public figures and journalists in the West to think of each and every example of environmental transgression by a trifling number of planters and, with their predatory sense of opportunism, try to paint a picture of systemic and industry wide abuse! On closer examination, the UCS had little choice but to conceal their true intentions, hiding behind a carapace of altruism, a form of hiding in plain sight. A far bigger risk would be to voice out the truth for it would mean that their gravy train slows to a grinding and squealing halt! History is replete with examples of scientists who sell out to big industry such as drug producing giants in return for the massive financial “research” grants and to be blunt, bribes that are strewn in their path!
Indeed, the conduct of the UCS over this issue is so suspect, perplexing and incredulous that the ugly specter of payola, grease and full blooded bribery is surely a distinct probability! In any event, the cynical callousness of the UCS over the palm oil issue beggars belief! For a sustainable crop that is planted on only 0.23% of global agricultural land to come under such concerted attack by the green movement is laughable! When the existence of groups like the UCS depend on the continual beating of the strident drums of crisis, it is not surprising to see the gross hyperbole employed in their pronouncements on palm oil, which for a group of concerned scientists, appear to be couched in language more reminiscent of regurgitations from the press releases of green groups rather than properly cited sources. Take the UCS’ paper entitled “Palm Oil and Tropical Deforestation”? (http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/solutions/forest_solutions/palm-oil-and-forests.html). At the risk of sounding facetious, this paper shows that, far from being scientific, it was written with bits and pieces culled from the shrill and fancy schmancy press releases of juvenile green groups who have never been known for any strong affinity for fact checking! This sad manifestation of avaricious behavior and greed is sometimes so well cloaked in environmental lingo that are stuffed down our throats in such a convincing manner that they would have put slick marketers to shame! Take this paragraph in the UCS’s paper. “Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of global warming pollution, after China and the United States, and its emissions come overwhelmingly from deforestation. Malaysia also emits a great deal of global warming pollution because of deforestation. This deforestation is a major threat to the biodiversity of tropical rain forests. Southeast Asian rain forests have more species than even those of Amazonia and the Congo Basin, including endangered species like the orangutan.” Someone should apprize the UCS of the fact that Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter of global warming pollution due to the country having a slash and burn tradition for land clearing, and not, by any stretch of the imagination, due to deforestation! This has been part of Indonesian culture since time immemorial, practiced even by their indigenous tribes and itinerant farmers. In other words, without all the orgy of slashing and burning that Indonesia indulges in on an annual basis, the country would not, by any measure, even be in the minor leagues of global emitters! It is thus fiction that Indonesia is the world’s third largest emitter with its emissions coming “overwhelmingly from deforestation!”
Perhaps it would not be remiss to rename the Union of Concerned Scientists. In view of their sinister agenda,a fitting sobriquet that may be more fitting that they have justifiably earned and perhaps wear quite comfortably would be "the Union of Crooked Scientists"! QED! THE END