Premise: Years ago some small innovative companies began to replace the petrochemical surfactants with biodegradable ingredients, fatty acids of palm oil. All the major manufacturers utilized the biodegradability with the result that huge areas of rainforest have been converted to intensive cultivation of oil palm. These activities taking out the orangutan habitat, chimpanzees and many other species, which in a few years have become a serious risk of extinction. In addition, palm oil is sent to the West and burned for electricity generation to replace oil, natural gas or coal. So in the end, the “clean” energy of the West is responsible for the destruction of the Indonesian rainforest, which strongly absorbs carbon emissions. The perverse use of CDM (clean development mechanism) and its CER (certified emission reduction) is another example of distortion of the green economy. Large firms and multinationals buying CERs from virtuous companies in order to fall within the parameters of pollutant emissions set by the Kyoto Protocol. In this way there is a substantial circumvention of the rules to protect the environment. The nation from which Europe imports more photovoltaic cells is China (with 3.4 md euros in 2010). The production of photovoltaic panels require a large amount of energy. In China, this energy comes from coal to four-fifths. The panels must be transported in Europe. In a paradoxical way, the production and distribution of the panels produces more CO2 into the atmosphere that avoids using the same panels!
In the last decade, we saw the race to the electric car, which locally produces zero emissions. If you produce the necessary electricity by burning coal somewhere else, we have moved elsewhere the problem without solving it. Europe proves to be still far away from an economic system that makes the environment one of its founding values.
Contribution to the 3rd International Degrowth Conference for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity in Venice in 2012.