Thursday, December 16, 2010

Critical Role of Palm Oil in Enhancing Food Security

The world population is estimated at 6.8 billion today. This is predicted to increase to 8 billion people in 2030 and 8.9 billion by 2050. There will be many more mouths to feed perpetually in the future thereby increasing the demand for food.
Ever Growing World Population Results in More Mouth to Feed

Over 1 billion, or 15% of the world still do not have enough food on a regular basis. At the turn of this century, United Nations expounded eight Millennium Development Goals. On top of the list is the goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The need to address this important issue was echoed, not too long ago, at the World Summit on Food Security that was held in Rome, Italy in November 2009. Very recently, in April 2010, World Bank launched the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which is a new multi-donor trust fund to improve food security and incomes in low-income countries through assistance to agriculture.

Monday, November 29, 2010

How Sustainable Production of Palm Oil Contibutes to Reduced Global Warming

At a recent forum organized by the Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia (PORAM), it was revealed that there was no moral case for Western Environmental NGOs (WENGOs) campaigns against palm oil. Data indicates that the agricultural land occupied by the world palm oil industry is miniscule as compared to the total land allocated to growing grains and oilseeds. This is shown in Fig 1 below where the segment for oil palm area is only 1.56 % of the total grain and oilseed area (see arrow) and it is hardly visible in the bar chart.
Figure 1 - Oil Palm VS Total Grain & Oilseed Area
Oil Palm VS Total Grain & Oilseed Area

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zoos Victoria Creating Agricultural Trade War Amongst Friendly Nations

Zoos in various states in Australia recently issued defiant statements defending their position to continue to allow NGOs to use their premises as campaign grounds to link the oil palm industry with orang utan habitat loss. Posters displayed by the NGOs on the cages housing the orang utans at the zoos were found to be offensive by a visiting Malaysian Tourism Minister as they contained insinuations which do not reflect the true situation of how orang utans have long been cared here in Malaysia.The controversy probably has increased the zoos gate collection but propagating lies about orang utans and the Malaysian oil palm industry would not be tolerated by Governments as they affect the livelihood of our oil palm farmers who are dependent on this crop as a source of income to feed their families.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Biased Studies on Deforestation and Indirect Land Use Effect of Oil Palm

Western Environmental NGOs (WENGOs) often attempt to undertake studies to demonstrate the impact of deforestation on climate change or biodiversity losses in collaboration with universities in order to establish credibility in the final reports generated. However, many of these studies are not based on valid experimental designs or sound methodology.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Deforestation Moratorium and Future Shortages of Food Supply Will Require 10 Times More Forest Conversion

The world population of over 6 billion is increasing by 70 to 80 million people annually. Food supply needs to expand to keep up with the additional demand. Land to grow food crops is getting scarce. By 2020, arable land in the world is projected to decrease to less than 1 acre per capita which is hardly sufficient considering the same land is needed for producing enough grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, milk and oils and fats to feed a single person and his animals for a year. In terms of land utilization, priority will of course be given to the production of cereals and grains as these are staples in most countries and this will be followed closely by oils and fats production.

In the oils and fats sector, global demand is increasing at a rate of 5 to 6 million tonnes per year on average against a total consumption of 165 million tonnes annually. To produce an additional 5 million tonnes of vegetable oils and fats, 10 million hectares of land will be required to plant soyabean, as compared to 1 million hectares if oil palm is the choice. Cereals and grains such as rice, wheat and corn are also experiencing shortages due to population pressure and increasing affluence where more demand for meat will mean more intensive production of grains as feed for cattle etc. The world is facing an enormous challenge. It needs to have 10 million hectares of new land created every year to supply the additional 5 million tonnes of soyabean oil, considering additional land is also needed for grain and cereal production. The annual expansion of oilseed area if planted with soyabean is almost equivalent to the combined total oil palm area of Malaysia and Indonesia. Another 10 million hectares will be needed the following year and similarly, in subsequent years to maintain an additional 5 million tonnes of oils and fats supply annually. BUT if oil palm were to supply the annual increase, the land expansion is more modest, a mere 1 million hectares per year.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How WENGOs Can Contribute to a Better World?

The Western Environmental NGOs (WENGOs) are well known for their ruthlessness: they are deeply ideological, almost like religious fanatics in some cases. They are also relentless, well funded and cunning. In many instances they have no regard for facts. They shape their arguments on the basis of their effectiveness irrespective of facts, and their war aim is clear, to destroy your industry if you are the intended target.

This is the challenge faced by the oil palm industry which has been targeted by the WENGOs. Their aim is to destroy the oil palm industry starting with a day at a time, followed relentlessly by weeks, months and years of negative campaigns. For example the ruthless campaign by Zoo Victoria against the palm oil industry was based on mere exaggeration rather than on facts. A recent report by the Australian Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) finds that 10 out of 12 facts used by Zoo Victoria in its anti-palm oil campaign are either false or cannot be substantiated.The Zoo campaigner Ms Lowry later admitted working closely with the WWF.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sustainability: New Market for Certified Sustainable Oils and Fats?

Confusion reigns over certified and uncertified oils

In recent years, the Western Environmental NGOs (WENGOs) together with producers and buyers of palm oil have attempted to promote the development and market for certified sustainable oils and fats products in addition to existing non-certified products. This has resulted in two types of market for oils and fats: the certified sustainable oil market and the market for normal oils that are not certified. The most desirable and ideal market is of course one where the oils and fats products are proven to be sustainably produced. The proof is via a certification and auditing process where the oils or fats which are found to comply with a set of sustainability principles and criteria will be issued certificates attesting to their sustainable production and processing. These products are supposed to be marketed at a premium to meet the needs of sophisticated markets especially in the EU. In the case of palm oil, such products are referred to as Certified Sustainable Palm Oil in general or Certified RSPO palm oil (CSPO) if the RSPO system is used as the basis for auditing and certification. In contrast, the main market is still mostly for non-certified normal palm oil. Such products cannot be marketed as sustainable as the WENGOs will protest that there is no proof of sustainability. Neither can it be labeled as unsustainable palm oil as there is no proof for that either.Unfortunately, Certified RSPO palm oil has received limited acceptance thus far. The available capacity in Malaysia of about 1 million tonnes of CSPO palm oil has not been fully taken up. Only 30 % of the potentially available RSPO palm oil has been exported to the EU. The main excuse is the lack of willingness of the importers to pay a premium to offset the initial cost of certification. To make matters worse, some of the WENGOs are casting doubts on the ability of RSPO members to supply sustainable palm oil.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Senseless and Immoral Attacks on Palm Oil by NGOs

EU funding anti palm oil campaigns

A recent report revealed that the EU, through its environmental ministries and commissions is involved in funding up to 70% of the operating budgets of environmental NGOs. These NGOS are now viciously campaigning against palm oil imports into the EU especially for biofuels. We regard this as a senseless and immoral attack on exported commodities such as palm oil produced by developing countries. Such funding implicates the EU for creating barriers to trade for agricultural products from developing countries. Unlike the EU, developing countries do not have access to financial resources to fight such government funded vicious campaigns. The eventual outcome will be untold miseries where poor farmers in developing countries lose their source of income as their export commodities are unable to enter the EU market. Such covert protectionism by rich countries directed at products of developing countries is against the spirit of fostering international trade as promoted by WTO.

Lessons from Copenhagen

There is little attempt at hiding the intention of the EU to limit the growth of developing countries by forcing them to follow the path of a low carbon economy as this was the main agenda proposed at the Copenhagen Climate Change meeting in December last year. The latest report of the UK Environment Ministry regarding Post Copenhagen clearly spells out this intention. Part of the strategy or ploy was to pressure developing countries to stop converting forests into agricultural areas as deforestation is alleged to emit green house gases (GHG) . The outright rejection by developing countries against any effort to restrict their future growth as clearly conveyed at the Copenhagen meeting should be a lesson to the anti-palm oil NGOs that their governments would not be successful in forcing the developing countries from continuing to develop their economy. The lesson learnt from Copenhagen is that no amount of pressure or promise of compensation will make the developing countries surrender their rights to future development. When promises of compensation in the tune of billions of dollars were coming from countries that are themselves in severe debts and deficits, it would be suicidal for developing countries to agree to any attempt to curtail their economic growth on the basis of needing to reduce carbon emission. If carbon emission from deforestation is an issue, what about carbon emission from coal mining and fossil fuels? In all fairness, developing countries often wonder why environmental NGOs in the EU are busy scrutinizing oil palm plantations when their focus should be to campaign against much more highly polluting industries such as coal mines in the UK, Germany and Poland. These mines are the cause of global warming and environmental disasters.

Senseless attacks on palm oil will only hurt poor farmers in developing countries BUT - stopping local coal mining will certainly mitigate carbon emission.

It is a senseless act on the part of the EU and DG Environment to fund NGOs to campaign against the growth of the palm oil industry using the guise of the need to reduce GHG emissions and preserving biodiversity. Why stop oil palm cultivation when most of such activities are legitimate creation of agricultural land from unproductive degraded forests which have been logged many times in the last 50 years. NGOs admit to the fact that some 25 million hectares of forests have been deforested in Indonesia over the last 25 years. As the total area of oil palm cultivation is only around 7 million hectares, oil palm cultivation cannot be the cause of deforestation. In fact, oil palm does a great deal of justice to the environment by rehabilitating degraded forest into an equivalent of a plantation forest that brings immense benefits including rebuilding its carbon stock or sequestering carbon, providing income to farmers and food and fuel to the world. Furthermore, the land concerned has contributed to its share of carbon sequestration because the timber removed over the last 50 years is preserved and reused in developed countries as door and window frames, beams and roof trusses. These timber products act as perpetual carbon storage and only release CO2 when they are discarded or the houses are burned occasionally.

Replanting tropical degraded land with oil palm helps to continue the carbon sequestering cycle into the future. If the UK NGOs are targeting to reduce carbon emission from such deforestation, it clearly is a case of a misdirected campaign. It would be far better to focus locally where activities like coal mining are blatantly contributing to the release of carbon stored from deep below ground. The annual production of 18 million tonnes of coal in the UK would emit more than 52 million tonnes of CO2. Greenpeace should speak out as they do for tropical forest that such reserve of carbon stock should better be left un-mined. It is far more absurd that some attempts are being proposed to pump back CO2 into underground storage as a means for artificial carbon sequestration. Pumping CO2 under high pressure for such storage purposes will cause even more carbon emission. Compared to the 18 million tonnes of palm oil annually produced in Malaysia which emits no net CO2 since the CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere during oil synthesis in the plant, it is clearly more logical to promote palm oil even as biofuel. If it is a toss up between stopping oil palm planting on degraded forest land in Sarawak or Indonesia and closing coal mines in the UK, it is more logical to campaign for the latter as the UK would have the technology and capacity to turn to alternative nuclear fuel which has little carbon foot-print.

The money promised at the Copenhagen meeting by the UK to fund forest conservation in developing countries should instead be used to compensate local coal miners when their mines are closed. Those extreme NGOs who campaign for excluding palm oil in food products should rethink their strategy. Shouldn’t the campaign be directed at closing coal mines in the UK as the mines will never be certified sustainable and coal is better stored where it exists deep underground and not burnt as fuel to cause global warming. Closing coal mines in the UK is more acceptable as miners who are out of job can obtain social benefits whereas stopping poor farmers from producing palm oil will cause starvation and related miseries. For this reason, most of our local environmental NGOs are supportive of sustainable expansion of the oil palm industry, provided that the benefits are distributed equitably to local communities where the plantations are established. If the local NGOs in Malaysia and Indonesia are not against oil palm cultivation , why then are foreign NGOs taking an anti-palm oil stance?

Earning the right to trade

It is immoral to block the import and use of palm oil in the EU . There is certainly no justification to do so. If palm oil is a legitimate agricultural produce and countries such as Malaysia have provided sufficient amount of forest reserves for purposes of conserving biodiversity, habitats of the orang utans and mitigating global warming, then palm oil has earned its right to trade. How can palm oil be rejected when it was the British who established major oil palm plantations in Malaysia just as they later established rapeseed farms at home in the last few decades. Why should these plantations be required to be certified sustainable when rapeseed, soyabean or olive oil produced in the developed countries are given preferential treatment even though they are not sustainably produced.

Massive deforestation is not due to oil palm cultivation

Recent campaigns for e.g. against Kit-Kat makes a mockery of the sensibility and rationality in handling an issue. A multi-ingredient raw material usage product like Kit -Kat will not be able to ensure that all the ingredients used are from certified sustainable sources. Singling out palm oil for it to be sustainable is unfair and punitive to the palm oil trade. If palm oil as an ingredient in a food product is needed to be certified sustainable, why are the other ingredients not required to do so.? The use of rapeseed or soyabean oil or sugar in such products leads to far more deforestation and global warming. In the last twenty years soya bean planting in Argentina, Brazil and the USA and rapeseed planting in Canada and Europe involved at least 60 million hectares of land expansion, most of which caused massive deforestation. The world planting of oil palm over the last 100 years has only amounted to less than 15 million hectares and the countries involved still have generous amount of permanent forest left for maintaining biodiversity and sequestering CO2.

Losers and winners

Eventually trade restrictions against palm oil into Europe will cause the EU to develop a distorted biofuel policy that will promote the least sustainable and most expensive fuels such as local rapeseed and soyabean oils. The extra cost for such a fiasco will have to be borne by the EU public. In the mean time, environmentally friendly fuel such as palm oil will be denied its opportunity to contribute its known environmental benefits in mitigating global warming, while farmers in developing countries are penalised undeservingly by the trade barriers established by the EU and their sponsored environmental NGOs.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Palm oil: A Crop of Peace & Prosperity

In an earlier article, I highlighted the fact that science is on the side of palm oil - be it in the area of nutrition, biofuel or global warming. There is enough scientific evidence to defend palm oil’s status as a nutritious food oil. Recently a meta analysis research publication confirmed that saturates (palm oil is 50 % saturated) are not associated with Conorary Heart Diseases (CHD), stroke or heart attacks.

What about allegations linking palm oil to deforestation?

There is an earlier definition by a FAO experts meeting (2005) that qualifies oil palm as a forest plantation. Forest plantation is defined as “forest stand in which trees have been established by planting or/and deliberate seeding or coppicing with either native species or non-native species that meet all the following criteria, namely, one or two or few species, even-aged and regular spacing.”

Recently, the anti- palm oil NGOs voiced their frustration at a leaked EU document that recognizes oil palm as a forest plantation. It is highly likely that any new definition created, will qualify oil palm to be regarded as a forest plantation. NGOs are becoming desperate in their criticism as they refuse to face the facts and remain detached from reality. Unfounded allegations will only mean that it will be more difficult for them to defend their statements. For e.g. a reporter from the BBC was quoted as saying that Sarawak has only 3 % pristine forest left. In reality, Sarawak has more than 60% of its land as permanent forest reserve!. Since most of the outrageous statements are coming from the UK and Australia, there must be something wrong with their perception of palm oil. I will be meeting the British High Commissioner soon to enquire why their NGOs do not use good science in persuing their agenda and criticisms.

There were mixed responses from readers whenever positive claims were made on palm oil. The skeptics found it hard to believe that palm oil is an excellent product. Some would go for the usual character assassination of me to highlight their viewpoint. Mostly, it is due to lack of awareness that prompts readers to be influenced into an anti-palm oil stance. There are, on the other hand, numerous supporters who want me to continue explaining to the stakeholders the issues confronting the Malaysian palm oil industry.

Latest published paper confirms saturated fats are not associated with coronary heart diseases (CHD), stroke, or heart attacks

I have come a long way to be able to share my point of view on palm oil without fear or favour. I was with the then Palm Oil Research Institute of Malaysia (PORIM) and the present Malaysian Palm Oil Board(MPOB) for 27 years, spending half of that time spearheading the organsiation as the Director General and helping to lead and commission research projects on all aspects of the palm oil industry. This included some 160 nutritional research studies in various centers of excellence in major consuming countries of the world. After following the developments of nutritional research on palm oil and other oils and fats, reading many research papers and listening to many conferences on the subject, I am not surprised to read the latest findings in the paper which concludes that saturated fats are not found to be associated with increased risks of CHD, stroke or heart attack.

Many nutritional research projects on the comparative effects of palm oil had to be carried out in the past to verify a finding pointed out to us by an expert from the Food and Drug Authority(FDA) in the USA that “although palm oil has about 50 % saturated fatty acids in its composition, it does not behave like a saturated fat in its cholesterol raising effects” based on a publication in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) in July, 1987. An explanation for this finding was discovered after numerous studies , namely that in the presence of a few percent of essential fatty acids( polyunsaturated fatty acids ), palm oil is not cholesterol raising in its effects.
In practice, most diets would have a few percent of these essential fatty acids (EFAs) present as they are naturally found in a variety of food sources including seeds and grains, and thus palm oil will perform well in most situations where the needed EFAs are likely to be present.

We have gone beyond the expectations of our stakeholders in pursuing the opportunity for commercialising the good nutritional attributes of palm oil. We knew from our research that palm oil helps to raise the good HDL cholesterol. We also know from previous studies that in the presence of soft oils (i.e. sufficient EFAs) palm oil will not raise cholesterol levels. Combining the two findings enables a new formulation to be tested in a clinical trial in the USA where a ratio of 50% palm oil and soft oils or similar blends were found to improve the good HDL to bad LDL cholesterol ratio in the participants. The result was patented and approval of FDA was obtained to allow such fat blend products formulated according to this finding to be labeled with the cholesterol ratio improvement claim. When the market was hit by the trans-fatty acids ban due to its adverse effect on cholesterol, palm oil became the preferred choice for use especially in solid fat products in the USA.

While allegations are made to smear palm oil as unhealthy, these are mere generalisations on the unhealthy role of saturated fatty acids. Palm oil is linked to it because it is regarded as a saturated fat. There were no references made to actual nutritional studies on any detrimental effects of palm oil in the diet. Now that a new published study totally refutes any association of saturated fats with CHD or stroke, it will be hard for opponents of palm oil to carry on smearing it as unhealthy because of its saturated fats content. On the other hand, palm oil has the endorsement of the FDA to show that its blend improves cholesterol ratio of the subjects.

Palm oil provides functionality which is not possible with liquid soft oils

For solid fat products, palm oil is able to deliver the functionality needed to make shortenings for baking breads and cakes or in the production of margarine. Liquid oils such as soyabean and rapeseed oils are unable to produce solid shortenings unless they are hydrogenated which would either turn them into fully saturated fats or would have the health harming trans fatty acids created through the required partial hydrogenation process. Palm oil thus saves the food industry from collapsing due to the lack of fats supply at affordable prices. In addition, the superior (nutritional) claim by palm oil blends enables the market to use palm oil without any guilt in case the past negative stigma brought by the anti-palm oil campaigns of the 1980s influences consumers. With a beneficial nutritional claim and excellent functionality, palm oil is without rivals in the market place. This is consolidated by its competitive price, through discounts to other oils and fats because palm oil is 10 times higher yielding as compared to other oils. It is rather unethical for opponents of palm oil to now discourage its widespread consumption in food because this would mean denying consumers the benefits of a nutritionally and functionally proven product that is also competitively priced.

Palm oil qualifies as both agricultural and forest plantation

The versatility of palm oil is always overwhelming to new comers. Palm oil is only 10 % of the output biomass generated by the oil palm plantations on a dry weight basis. The usable residual biomass fiber produced per hectare per year on an oil palm plantation is often much more than that of planted or natural forests. Some oil palm plantations are already extracting lumber from the oil palm trunks; the trunks can also be used to produce veneer for making plywood, while fiber from the fronds, trunks or empty bunches are increasingly being used to make medium density fiber board’s (MDF). From the perspective of fiber production and utilisation, the oil palm plantation is no different from other forest plantations.

The EU definition of forest plantations as an area that is covered with continuous canopy of trees that can grow to several meters will certainly be fulfilled by an oil palm plantation. It is not difficult to figure out why the oil palm plantation is often a better forest plantation than other forest systems. For a start, the oil palm is a forest species commonly found in the jungles of tropical Africa and by planting the oil palm in a triangular system to maximise the absorption of sunlight in a plantation, canopy cover is maximised. The oil palm happens to be a prolific synthesis of biomass and by planting the population of elite palm trees in an area, the oil palms above average performance will be better than other forest systems where trees are a mixture of elite and non elite performers as most are not prolific synthesis of biomass. While waiting for the palm trunks to mature in a 25 year period like other forest species, fiber products are obtainable continuously throughout the year from the empty fruit bunches and fronds. Such a high productivity of useable biomass cannot be matched by most forest systems.

Oil palm – first an agricultural crop and then a forest plantation

Developing countries like Malaysia have their sovereign right to dedicate part of their land for agricultural purposes. It happens that oil palm can grow well in Malaysia and 66 % of the agricultural land ( or 13 % of the country’s area) is grown with oil palm. For those concerned with biodiversity preservation, Malaysia has repeatedly announced the setting aside of at least 50% of the country ‘s land area as permanent forests. International agreements only require the setting aside of 10% of a country’s area for purposes of biodiversity conservation. The oil palm cannot be accused of causing deforestation in Malaysia when a large area of forests is being preserved permanently. For every hectare of oil palm, the country preserves four hectares of permanent forest, which is a very healthy balance in terms of land use policy. Even the habitats of the orang utans are preserved as the States of Sabah and Sarawak maintain about 50% or more of their land area under permanent forest. This area should be more than sufficient for the orang utans considering that humans too require land to plant agricultural crops to meet their food requirements. The fact that many orang utans like to foray into the agricultural areas looking for food is a positive contribution of our agricultural crops, which implies that the oil palm not only provides food for the world population but also for the orang utans, birds, squirrels, monkeys and other animals. An important contribution of palm oil is its ability to supply a vital food component (fat or oil) to billions of people around the world while providing millions of jobs, and remunerative income to small farmers and plantation workers in the palm oil producing countries. I was informed recently that in the southern Philippines, oil palm is called the crop of “peace and prosperity” because with a steady source of income from the sales of palm oil, farmers are able to live in peace in a region that was historically plagued by unrests.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Copenhagen: Outcome as Predicted

The recently concluded Copenhagen climate summit was viewed by many participants as a failure for its inability to yield sizable reductions in carbon emissions. But for those concerned with the welfare of the world’s poor, particularly many of those living in tropical climates, the summit’s failure was in fact its greatest triumph. An effort by wealthy Western country activists to limit the economic growth potential of the developing world was roundly defeated.

The effort to cap poor country growth includes an initiative called Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing countries (REDD). Crafted by the World Bank in conjunction with policymakers from several rich countries, REDD’s stated objective is to "avoid deforestation." But it is more accurate to say that it is an attack on palm oil producers and those who benefit from the industry’s jobs and products.

It is not surprising that some of the European and North American countries that are major manufacturers of competing vegetable oil are enthusiastic proponents of REDD. After all, Europe and North America long ago cleared away their forests to make room for industrial agriculture and manufacturing, including vegetable oil production. In so doing they paved the way for sustained economic growth for their people. Regulations such as REDD impose no direct cost burden on rich countries.

The demands imposed by REDD are unfair and unnecessary. They are unfair because they make it impossible to do what rich nations have done – harness domestic natural endowments in pursuit of economic growth.

They are unnecessary because they ignore the reality of natural resource harvesting in much of the developing world today. In Malaysia, for example, policymakers and industry teamed up to set aside half the country’s forest lands for protection. Fifty-five per cent of the country was pledged (at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and again at the Copenhagen meeting ) as permanent forest reserve. Adding plantation agricultural land, total forest coverage in Malaysia is greater than 70 per cent, more than any developed economy. In Malaysia, oil palm planting is only permitted in areas set aside for agricultural development and not on permanent forest reserve land.

We learned from other nations’ mistakes, and we are being careful stewards of our land. We do not need those countries that abused their own land endowments telling us how to manage our resources.

The world will never be able to meet its goal of sustainable development for all if it insists on binding the economic potential of the developing world.

Yet it seems the wealthy donors, the World Bank, the UK and the US had made up their mind even before they got to Copenhagen. They had already acted to limit aid to improve forest management only to developing countries which had committed to no longer convert any natural forest to activities critical to economic growth and to provide a sorely needed boost to agricultural productivity.

As predicted in my previous blog article, developing countries will not agree to any cheap tradeoff scheme to stop deforestation and development as proposed by the UK NGOs and their goverment. It was rightly so when the Chinese negotiators dismissed the UK proposal on behalf of the developing countries and went on to negotiate the accord with the USA. The economic power of the Chinese was truely displayed in the exclusive group undertaking the accord negotiation.

The week before Copenhagen, The Economist, ran a cover story “How to Feed the World.” It dramatically illustrated an emerging crisis because of neglect of the need to increase production of agriculture to meet global demands for food.

The next summit, in Mexico City, will present an opportunity to reverse these anti-development positions and chart a new way forward, one that embraces developing world economic growth and a healthy environment for all.